Thursday, December 2, 2010

Carnegie 1903

As Josef Astor told us when discussing his film Lost Bohemia, the studios of the Carnegie Hall Towers have long been the home to artists who were also teachers. He sent these images along to show a bit of the place's deep history.

Above is a lady named Eulabee Dix, a miniature painter seated at her work table in Studio 153. She is noted in this advertisement from a 1903 New York Times:

The studios were filled with piano teachers and voice instructors. Miss Genevieve Bisbee taught the Leschetizky Method, while John Brady preferred the Virgil Clavier method.

Though piano and song dominated the studios, you could also learn to speak French from Professor Houllegatte (in his dapper mustache), or take up the making of "curiously dyed woods" from artist Harriett Keith Fobes. After that, get your blood pumping with Mrs. Frances Vietinghoff Barnes, who could urge you through the rigors of Physical Culture and Medical Gymnastics.

You could even get that bad tooth pulled by Carnegie Hall's lone dentist, J.M. Buchanan.

Like a giant Cornell assemblage, there was a whole world in those studios, an intricate history that brings to mind the old saw about 8 million stories in the naked city. With such a long life, and with so many characters, the Carnegie studios must have had a million of those stories. Just looking at this advertisement fires the imagination--and now it's done.


Andrew Gardner said...

Interesting article, Carnegie Hall has always fascinated me. I remember in the 70s one of the WNEW FM jocks (I'm thinking it might have been Jonathan Schwartz who was on FM for a short period) going to the Little Carnegie (the movie theatre downstairs) and going though the wrong door and ending up in a maze of unused corridors in Carnegie Hall.

There used to be so much of NYC that was like that, places that got covered over and forgotten about, like the apartments that used to be above Peepland on 42nd St, just left as they were in the 1920s and never to be seen again, until the building was about to be destroyed. I worked at a big department store in midtown in the mid 70s, and we found storage rooms filled with WWII civil defense supplies...

Of course now with everyone trying to squeeze every last cent out of real estate, most of these places are now long gone. I think that is one of the things I miss about the "old" NYC, not the crime, but finding those hidden treasures.

Anonymous said...

When I lived in Manhattan I loved that part of town, over by Carnegie Hall. There was a time when one didn't need scads of money to feel like they were part of the rhythm and hum of the city. It was a mixed bag and the glamour and mystique of the city rubbed off on everyone.
Now, sadly, it appears that the soul of the city is being sold off in increments. Each day a bit of the sparkle and magic just disappearing in the shadow of the burgeoning egoic drives of those who desire to make Manhattan a private playground for only the super rich. How boring indeed!
Luckily, some of us still know of some of those magical places where one can sit back and revel in the wonderful old energy and glow of glorious New York.

Jeremiah Moss said...

the apartments above Peepland--tell us more.

Crazy Eddie said...


For a new tread,thought you would be intersted.

"Fifth Ave., Madison Ave. ... and Bleecker St.? West Village corridor in blockbuster real estate deal"

Read more:

Jeremiah Moss said...

shut up, bacon!

mitch said...

Eulabee Dix...there's a really nice portrait of her by Robert Henri named 'Lady in Black Velvet'. Very romantic and mysterious. I have a bit of a crush on her, even if she is just another fucking midwestern transplant (and dead).