Andrew Carnegie said of his eponymous concert hall, “It is built to stand for ages and it is probable that during those ages, this hall will intertwine itself with the history of our country.” Over 125 years since the hall’s opening, Carnegie’s words, and Carnegie Hall in New York City remains a beacon of musical arts and culture, and one of the world’s premiere stages.
Located on 57th street, the distinguished brick concert hall was built an entire 40 blocks north of what was then midtown when it opened in 1891. On opening night, tickets cost between one and two dollars, and the inaugural show featured a stunning performance by Tchaikovsky. From that night forward Carnegie Hall became the nexus of New York City’s late 19th and early 20th century cultural life and hub of the Midtown we know today.
William Burnett Tuthill, the hall’s relatively unknown architect, was also a world-class cellist, and his design has proven exceptionally well suited to musical performances. It has hosted the world’s greatest artists and musicians, from pianists, violinists and orchestras, to jazz artists and even contemporary bands. All of them come for to experience the hall’s stunning acoustics.
In 2016, Carnegie Hall celebrated its 125th anniversary season and the many ups and downs the venue has endured through the years. Highlights include Judy Garland’s famed 1961 concert, the launch of the British Invasion by the Beatles here in 1964, and King of Pop Michael Jackson’s speech on worldwide children’s rights in 2001.
If you are not visiting Carnegie Hall for a concert or speech, walk-in tours are available most days depending on performance and rehearsal schedules. Stop by Carnegie Hall Box Office for tickets. Afterward, peruse the Shop at Carnegie Hall next door for plenty of New York City souvenirs. For more information, see The Knickerbocker’s list of Ten Things You Didn’t Know about Carnegie Hall and the Carnegie Hall website.