Saturday, January 20, 2007

Wednesday Jan 23

Attended the
performance of The Miracle
at the Century Theatre.
It is certainly the most
stupendous production
I've ever seen.


Matt's Notes:

Stupendous, indeed: "The Miracle" was a "spectacular" designed by famed theatrical and industrial designer Normal Bel Geddes, who converted the entire theater into a huge Gothic cathedral replete with stained glass windows, lofty arches and burning incense. The substance of the show did not seem to impress the New York Times reviewer, John Cobbin, who devoted most of his column to descriptions of the production's sets, logistics and legions of workers.

The Century Theatre, where "The Miracle" played, was located on Central Park West and 63rd Street, and was demolished in 1931 to make room for the Century Apartments building, which should be recognizable to any New Yorker who's ever been in Central Park. According to Fred, our resident transit expert, Papa probably got there from the Lower East Side by taking the Second Avenue el from Grand Street station to South Ferry, then the Ninth Avenue el to 59th or 66th Street. He could also have taken the Sixth Avenue el to 58th Street or to 53rd and 8th Avenue.

Here are some photos of the Century Theatre in 1909 (when it was known as the New Theatre) though it probably looked the same when Papa went there in 1924:

Those are trolley tracks in the foreground, but Fred says "...those tracks belong to the Eighth Avenue line, and they're headed for the Polo Grounds. The line was discontinued in 1935, I'm told. Not likely Papa would have used it, because it began on the west side."

Here's an interior hall.

And here's more of the interior. The theater looks pretty ornate to begin with -- it must have been quite a sight when Papa saw "The Miracle."


Additional references

If you enjoyed the little snippet of subway information above and crave even more, check out this 1924 IRT map and this 1924 BMT map. For the truly insatiable transit lover, this page of more historical New York transit maps could keep you from sleeping or eating for days.

Image credits: Library of Congress LC-USZ62-55256, LC-USZ62-120460, LC-USZ62-55255. Inquiring into restrictions.

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