Hammerstein Ballroom

Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for American Express

Behind the Scenes: Hammerstein Ballroom’s Rich History

August 2, 2019

By: Miranda Roberts

The Manhattan Center houses Hammerstein Ballroom, a space fit for concerts, tv awards, fashion shows and more. The space has been around since 1906, and its long life has led to many different functions.

Many artists have impacted the hall’s history. In November 2006, David Bowie gave his final public performance at the Hammerstein. Other notable occurrences include Incubus playing just days after 9/11, and Korn recording their DVD there.

However, not all the owners of 311 W 34th saw this space as a concert venue. The venue started out as the Manhattan Opera House. The Metropolitan Opera paid the builder, Oscar Hammerstein, $1.2 million to stop operating his opera house. 

This led the theatre to its many different careers. In the 30’s it functioned as a Freemason's temple. A decade later, it was the  trade union headquarters. Much like Kings Theatre stood abandoned, this venue fell into disuse in the 1970s.

Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, the ballroom's current owner bought it and renamed it Manhattan Center Studios in 1986. 11 years later, the name Hammerstein Ballroom came about and has stuck in the 22 years since. 

This abandoned former opera house underwent extensive renovation. The project created a hand-painted 75-ft ceiling, fancy woodwork, and three balconies. Based on layout, the venue can hold anywhere from 1,000 to 3,500 people. 

Upcoming performances from The Raconteurs, Two Door Cinema Club, and Hozier at Hammerstein can all be found on our concert calendar.

Hammerstein Ballroom is located at 311 W 34th St, New York, NY 10001, conveniently next to Meyer’s Parking on 34th Street.

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