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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Belle of Bohemia: 1900

Belle of Bohemia: 1900

New York City circa 1900. "Casino Theatre, Broadway." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

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Closer to the Knickerbocker there's a horse and carraige. Behind the carriage there's a man and bicycle. Where's the man's leg(s)?

[His one leg is visible behind the carriage wheel. - Dave]

Buster Browns

Almost impossible to believe (without this photographic evidence) that, before the logo, boys actually dressed like that!

White Wing on the Way

He's working his way up the street, center right!

Ornate Inside and Out

What a fantastic corner this must have been, with the old Metropolitan Opera House right across the street! The Casino was just as garish on the inside as on the outside, and featured Broadway's first roof garden. It's too bad the Schuberts didn't decide to keep it; surely it would be a landmark house today.

Pulled Down

According to Wikipedia and The Internet Broadway Database, this pile of bricks was pulled down in 1930.

Scary Thought

When I saw the "busy" round sign on the corner I immediately thought it was the inspiration for Starbucks.

But ...

Seems funny to think in 1900 they sold "antiquities."


I always find it fascinating that there were stores selling antiques at the turn of the century - I'd be happy today with something they were selling as "new" back then!


What a great photograph, simply magnificent.

The Monster That Ate Children

That's maybe the spookiest building I've ever seen. Most of the windows are filled with teeth!

And isn't 50 cents an outrageous price for a matinee seat?

Antique Antiquities

I would LOVE to spend an hour in the antiquities auction rooms!

Bohemia still existed at the time

Funny. The State of Bohemia still existed in 1900. Actually, it was the Kingdom of Bohemia, an integral part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In fact, at one point in the mid-19th century, the Empire of the Habsburgs had seriously considered officially naming the empire as the "Triple Monarchy" aka the Empire of Austria-Hungary-Bohemia. But the Hungarian part of the crown did not want to share that glory with the smaller Bohemian state, and only wanted it to remain as the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary. Just as well. At the end of WWI, the Empire was dismantled at the insistence of the victorious Allies. Austria became a much smaller nation (and later annexed by Hitler). Hungary became an independent republic. And Bohemia transformed into the modern state of Czechoslovakia (later broken up into the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic).


Turn-of-the-Century architecture usually takes my breath away; this theatre is Exhibit A.

What a shame this was demolished (I was surprised to see it was in 1930; I figured it had to have been in the late 50s.) I can only imagine what it was like to view a performance here.

Puzzling appurtenances

A lot of puzzling appurtenances attached to this building-
like what are those circular iron rings atop the cupola for?


A Theater that lives up to the Play! Love the two young gentlemen crossing the street. Exquisite details abound!

Fasten Those Buttons Below the Knees

Just seeing Maude Adams would have been well worth the price of admission at the Knickerbocker. A timeless beauty.


I like the antique shop...of course, everything in this photo (including the photo itself) is now an antique! Also like the early lighted signs for the different theatres. Great White Way, Version 1.0.


Here is an extended review of Maude Adams acting in "l'Aiglon" from the New York Times, Oct. 28, 1900

Fancy Fire Escapes

Or are those stairs for accessing the levels where the seats are? I also wonder where one would go to purchase a ticket since there doesn't seem to be the usual ticket booth. Not that it matters -- I'd spend all of the allotted time standing on the sidewalk gazing at that amazing building.


Here's the Internet Broadway Database entry on The Belle of Bohemia:

It says that the show closed on November 10, 1900, and the sign near the corner says "Last Nights!" so I suppose that puts the picture in early November or so.

It must have been a warm November for the lack of overcoats.

Unusual "Moorish Revival" building

Boy, they don't make them like they used to! This must have been inspired by buildings like the Alhambra and the mosque at Cordoba, both in Spain.

Music of the Night?

This place looks like the perfect setting for Phantom of the Opera.

And in the background...

If I'm making it out correctly, in the background is the Knickerbocker Theater playing "L'Aiglon" starring Maude Adams. From Wikipedia:

L'Aiglon (1900) was a French play about the life of Napoleon II of France in which Adams played the leading role, foreshadowing her portrayal of another male (Peter Pan) five years later. The play had starred Sarah Bernhardt in Paris with enthusiastic reviews, but Adams's L'Aiglon received mixed reviews in New York.

Evelyn Nesbit again!

It seems that the next production at the Casino, after "The Belle of Bohemia", included the lovely Evelyn Nesbit in the cast.

She was apparently a replacement for another cast member and is not on the list of the opening night cast members.

Poop patrol

"Watch your step boys, because the street sweepers haven't made it this far yet."

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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