Beacon Theater and Hotel
The Beacon Theater and Hotel were built in 1929 on the Upper West Side. The theater was designed by famed architect Walter Ahlschlager, who was acclaimed for this theater designs, including the Roxy Theater. Like many theaters of the time, it was designed to be a movie palace and still retains many of its original features. The Beacon is a New York City Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Backstory and Context
Because it was designed for silent films, the Beacon has excellent acoustics, as it was designed for live music to accompany films. The acoustics of the theater have served it well, and the theater has hosted numerous top musical acts over the years. The Rolling Stones, Steely Dan, Duran Duran, and Eddie Vedder have performed at the Beacon, to name just a few. Speakers at the theater include Bill Clinton and the Dalai Lama.
In 1987, there were plans to convert the old theater into a nightcclub, which would involve a complete alteration of the building's design. Because of its landmark status, however, the change could not take place. The Beacon continued to be one of the city's premier destinations for live music events, since its conversion from a movie theater in the 1970s.
In 2009, the Madison Square Garden Company completed a thorough renovation of the theater, which returned the Beacon to its 1920s grandeur. The renovation cost roughly $16 million and involved approximately 1,000 workers. The restoration has garnered the theater numerous awards.
The Beacon is a New York City landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Carlson, Jen. The Beacon Restored, Unveiled. Gothamist. February 12, 2009. Accessed June 07, 2019. http://gothamist.com/2009/02/12/the_beacon_restored_unveiled.php#photo-1.