Monday, June 30, 2014

The Hippodrome

Location:   Midtown Manhattan
Year:   1905-1939 

The Hippodrome in 1907

The Hippodrome was the world's largest theatre when it was built in 1905. It stood on Sixth Avenue between West 43rd and West 44th Streets in Midtown Manhattan and had a seating capacity of 5,300, and a 100 x 200 ft (20,000 square foot) stage. The theatre had state of the art theatrical technology for its time, including a rising glass water tank the size of a small lake.

The interior of the Hippodrome, 1905

During its heyday, the Hippodrome featured lavish spectacles complete with circus animals, swimming horses, opulent sets, and 500-member choruses. In 1918, on the brightly lit stage of the Hippodrome, Harry Houdini made a 10,000-pound elephant disappear, creating a worldwide sensation. It also featured musicals, operas, sports events, vaudeville acts, and, in the 1930s, movies. 

Houdini at the Hippodrome, 1918

The expense of maintaining the Hippodrome made it a perennial financial failure. It lost money throughout The Great Depression, and was finally torn down in 1939. The office building on its site is now known colloquially as "the Hippodrome building." 

No comments:

Post a Comment