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Closed for the Summer: 1906

Closed for the Summer: 1906

New York circa 1906. "Manhattan Opera House, West 34th Street." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Still there, still used, but incognito

The Manhattan Opera House was built by Oscar Hammerstein I on 34th Street just west of Eighth Avenue as an alternative to the older, stuffier Metropolitan Opera. The auditorium of is still in use today as the Hammerstein Ballroom of the much-altered Manhattan Center -- for concerts, conventions, and even boxing, while the building around it is primarily a large recording and production facility.

Pretty much still the case

Out of curiosity, I went to the Metropolitan Opera website schedule for this month of August. Not one thing listed for the entire month. Have they not heard of air conditioning? Museums and movies learned long ago that audiences are there during the summer. Traditional performing arts, though, still tend to leave their expensive facilities mostly empty for a quarter of the year while scheduling only a few outdoor opportunities to listen, sweat, and swat bugs.

Did not do boffo box office!

Owing to the confusion of Met patrons, the unfortunately titled masterwork "Closed for the Summer" died an unlamented death and its author, composer Johann Amadeus Metesky, best known for the ever unpopular Symphony in C Minus, closed up shop, retired from the trade and ultimately sired a mad bomber.

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