Not Much Left

by Don Friedman on August 18, 2016

This is Hammerstein’s Olympia Theater on the east side of Longacre Square* in 1896:

planningconstruc00birkuoft (dragged)

Regardless of how you might feel about the design of that facade, it contained an impressive group of entertainment spaces. The external portions of the building disappeared in 1935; it’s not clear if the later theaters on the site were redesigned parts of the original interior or replacements.

The original orchestra pit has been found, in the form of a curved foundation wall. One can make an argument for preserving that as the ruin of a lost civilization – namely, nineteenth-century New York – but realistically the photos we have of the Olympia are far more interesting than the physical remains.


* Since the New York Times hadn’t moved there yet, it wasn’t yet Times Square.

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