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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.


  • The Beacon
  • The Beacon's interior
  • The Beacon's interior

The Beacon Theater and Hotel was built on the Upper West Side in 1929 and was immediately hailed as one of the city's masterpieces. The opulent theater was designed by Walter Ahlschlager and was intended to be a silent movie palace, but because of delays in construction, silent movies were becoming a thing of the past by the time it opened. The Beacon's debut was with a sound adventure film.

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. 


Collins, Glenn. Beacon Restored to Glamour of Vaudeville Days. New York Times. February 11, 2009. Accessed June 07, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/12/nyregion/12beacon.html.

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.