The extraordinarily large concert venue in a quiet neighborhood (before Midtown Manhattan blossomed), eventually became one of the most prestigious theaters in the world for both classical and popular music—and a National Historic Landmark.
At 881 Seventh Avenue and West 57th Street, the building with 3 concert halls was built by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie and today hosts 250 performances each season. The grandest of the three theaters is six stories high with 5 levels of seating for up to 2,804 people.
Home for decades to the New York Philharmonic, its lobbies are adorned with signed portraits and memorabilia that feature Arturo Toscanini, the debut of 25-year old Leonard Bernstein, and memories of stars who recorded iconic live concerts there—Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Tony Bennett, Judy Garland, Simon and Garfunkel, Chicago, James Taylor, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and many more.
The hall has also been the site of famous lectures, including Booker T. Washington, and the last public talk by Mark Twain—both in 1906.
Rock and roll first arrived in 1955 with Bill Haley & His Comets. Years later, The Beatles, newly arrived in the U.S., played two shows there and Led Zeppelin, a decade later, became the first hard rock act to plug in their amps into the magnificent Carnegie Main Hall. WATCH a cool tribute… (1891)
– Photo by Ajay Suresh, CC license
MORE Good News on this Day:
- Cy Young of the Boston Americans threw the first perfect game in the modern era of baseball pitching against the Philadelphia Athletics at the Huntington Avenue Grounds, (1904)
- Michael Palin, the English comedian from Monty Python and A Fish Called Wanda was born in Sheffield, Yorkshire (1943)
- Prague uprising began against German occupying forces in Czechoslovakia (1945)
- US Army troops liberated the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria during World War II (1945)
- Alan Shepard became the first American to travel into outer space, making a sub-orbital flight of 15 minutes in the Mercury program (1961)
- Billboard’s Top 100 chart debuted 65 years ago with Elvis Presley premiering at the top of the list on Heartbreak Hotel (1956)
Today is also Cinco de Mayo (Fifth of May, in Spanish), the Mexican holiday celebrating the victory of Mexican patriots led by General Zaragoza over invading French forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.
It was a classic David and Goliath tale which led to an eventual victory for the U.S.–backed Mexicans. 6,500 French soldiers sent by Napoleon III, confident of a quick victory, marched to Mexico City to seize the capital. However, Zaragoza’s ill-equipped militia of 4,500 men, plus a small but nimble cavalry, crushed the better-armed French soldiers in muddy and inhospitable terrain, with a combination of tenacity and a cattle stampede set off by locals. The French invasion resumed two years later and 30,000 new French troops toppled the Mexican army. However, once the American Civil War had ended, the U.S. began supplying Mexicans with weapons, ammunition and volunteers, and by 1867, the French were finally defeated and their puppet head of state deposed.
Today is Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag) for the Dutch people—a national holiday celebrated in the Netherlands to mark the end of the German occupation by Nazi forces during World War II. It was 75 years ago today that Canadian and British forces—along with Polish, American, Belgian, and Czechoslovakian troops—liberated the country. (1945)
And, Happy 33rd Birthday to Adele, the popular British singer who rocketed to stardom at age nineteen when she released the four-times platinum album “19” and won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 2009.
And, on this day in 1809, a U.S. patent was awarded to a woman for the first time. In that American era, females could neither own goods nor enter into contracts, so why pursue a patent? Because a Connecticut woman named Mary Kies invented something worth patenting, reports the Smithsonian.
During an embargo of imports from England that stifled fashion, she came up with a technique of weaving straw with silk and thread—a method that allowed her to make and sell beautiful hats, which, after the patent was awarded, no one else could copy. The polished bonnets became a huge fad—and President James Madison signed Kies’s patent while First Lady Dolley Madison loved the idea of furthering women in industry, so said ‘hats off’.
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