Did you know? The Manhattan Center has been home to iconic events such as Fendi’s first-ever U.S. show, Red Bull’s BC1 World Championship, the CFDA Awards, American Heart Association’s Red Dress Fashion Show, Save the Children’s 100th, Anniversary, and the NBA All-Star Weekend. It’s no secret that Manhattan Center is also a live music venue, hosting over 50 concerts each year.
But the historic venue is so much more than that.
In 1906, Oscar Hammerstein built the Manhattan Opera House to compete with the Metropolitan Opera. Many great operas, as well as famous singers, had their debut at the Manhattan Opera House—and it quickly became a tremendous success. In 1910, The Metropolitan Opera paid Hammerstein $1.2 million to stop doing opera for 10 years, and the evolution of the Manhattan Center began. The Manhattan Opera House became the Hammerstein Ballroom, hosting social and private events alike.
In the 1920s, the building was purchased by the Scottish Rites of Free Masonry and added the seventh-floor Grand Ballroom, Manhattan Center’s hidden gem. This space is known for outstanding acoustics, hosting the first-ever film score for Don Juan. To this day, it is used for the recording of iconic film scores.
In the 1930s, the building was purchased by Abraham Ellis and the name was changed to Manhattan Center. It closed its doors in the 1970s and reopened in the 90s, making a comeback to its historic glory. In 1993, WWF Monday Night Raw originated in the Grand Ballroom, and in 2018, WWE came back to celebrate its 25th anniversary.
Today, the Manhattan Center encompasses the Hammerstein Ballroom, Grand Ballroom, Log Cabin, two Television Studios, and the Bank Space. Current ownership has invested over $10 million into the building since 2012. Upgrades include a $1.2 million sound and lighting system for the Hammerstein, refacing of the outside, updated restrooms and dressing rooms in the Hammerstein, new carpet in the Grand Ballroom—and this summer, an upgraded floor in the Hammerstein.
The Manhattan Center’s versatility allows clients to transform the spaces into whatever they envision. Let’s count down the top five iconic events that have been held at Manhattan Center.