The final act of the last drama to be played at the old New York Metropolitan Opera began Tuesday (Jan 17) when workmen began to demolish it.
The final act of the last drama to be played at the old New York Metropolitan Opera began Tuesday (Jan 17) when workmen began to demolish it. A long battle by politicians and opera lovers to save and restore the old structure had finally failed.
The opera house had been the pride of the city. The world famous New York Metropolitan Opera Company owned it and performed there. However, the new glistening Lincoln Center of the Performing Arts included an opera house for the Metropolitan. The company moved there, leasing its old house and the land on which it stood to a real estate development firm. The firm announced plans to demolish the building and erect an office building there instead. Immediately committees were formed to save the old house from the wreckers as a cultural landmark. Those concerned said the city could not afford to lose a concert hall of the Met's quality. After protracted legal and political action, the Governor of New York State, Nelson Rockefeller, and the Mayor of New York City, John Lindsay, announced that they had decided against saving the building because funds to buy it were not available. A demolition permit was issued Tuesday and the wrecking began.
Inside the building, workmen ripped out seats, tore lights from the stage and began the process of gutting the structure. Later, portions of the roof were removed. Eventually the wrecker's ball will demolish the building entirely.
The Metropolitan Opera said the income derived from leasing the land to the development company was essential for its survival.