The Manhattan Center was constructed in 1906 by Oscar Hammerstein as the Manhattan Opera House, an alternative to the popular yet comparatively expensive Metropolitan Opera. In 1910, the Metropolitan Opera paid Hammerstein $1.2 million USD to stop operating the Manhattan Opera House as an opera venue for ten years. This led to the elaborately decorated theater being used for a variety of events, including vaudeville performances.
The ownership of the center changed hands multiple times over the next few decades, with the theater being converted into a large ballroom and being used as a Freemason's temple in the 1930s and a trade union headquarters in the 1940s before falling into disuse in the 1970, before being bought by Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, the ballroom's current owner. The building was renamed Manhattan Center Studios in 1986, and in 1997 the former theater was renamed the Hammerstein Ballroom and underwent extensive renovation, with the hand painted ceiling being completely restored.
Read more about this topic: Hammerstein Ballroom
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