Monday, November 20, 2017

New Ziegfeld

When the old (but not oldest) Ziegfeld theater closed in 2016 after 46 years in business, many New Yorkers grieved. We wondered what would happen to all its odd character when it became an upscale corporate event space.

Well, now we know. Recently, the new Ziegfeld Ballroom opened for events. Here's what it looks like:

"Drawing inspiration from the 1930’s luxury cruise liner the SS Normandie," reads the new company website, "the Ziegfeld Ballroom features a color scheme of silver and greys to reflect its art deco heritage."

Another inspiration appears to be the corporate hotel conference rooms of, well, Midtown.

Gone are the plush, blood-red walls of old, the sky-high ceiling, the antique sconces, and that circular banquette where one could rest beneath a sprawling chandelier while breathing in the aroma of fresh popcorn.

What became of the artifacts from the Ziegfeld Museum that once lined the stairways and halls? I heard that some are on display in the lounge of the New Amsterdam Theater, home of the “Ziegfeld Follies” from 1907 to 1927.

But what about the weird "STORY OF THIS WOOD" plaque screwed to the wall, informing moviegoers: "Carbon 14-isotope dating shows this wood has been buried in a peat bog near Cambridge, England, since 2120 B.C."

Who knows where it's buried now?

Before: via Cinema Treasures


Downtowner said...

I was at the New Amsterdam recently, and there were some of the items there.

As much as I think Disney scrubbed Times Square too clean, I have to give them credit for restoring the New Amsterdam to its original glory - the interior is beautifully restored. It easily could have been demolished and made into a condo tower.

RMAN said...

Too bad the old Ziegfeld wasn't given landmark status. It was a true gem.

It's funny how I can still smell the popcorn, even from here.... ;)

James said...

Our mourning is usually for ourselves. The "old" Ziegfeld was built in my lifetime, and I'm not that old. The real Ziegfeld was a deco landmark built in '27, facing Sixth Avenue on that same block. The replacement movie house (as the old house had been built for live performance, then adapted, in part, for movies) was part of that 60's urban renewal spirit of "this will be better", meaning that the old was better off removed. Now "this will be better" again, although, unfortunately, this is nothing. We miss our times is all - when movies and movie-going was much more of a basic component of life in this country. We could scarcely make it through a weekend without a visit to a movie theater. I miss all of the houses I remember. This was not a palace but a very accommodating and comfortable place to see a movie. I wish individuals were still accorded their rightful portions of space, value, and civility in this city, but that, probably more than anything, has been under attack. How can the one-tenth-of-one-percent resist?

K Ethridge said...

One of my fondest memories of the old Ziegfeld was Stevie Wonder and his friend sitting in front of me watching, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. His companion explained the visuals to him very quietly -- what a great night!