Established in 1982 at LaGuardia Community College/ CUNY with a mission to collect, preserve, and make available primary materials documenting the social and political history of New York City. We hold nearly 5,000 cubic feet of archival records and 3,200 reels of microfilm with almost 100,000 photographs and 2,000,000 documents available on our website.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Steinway Hall: A Place for the Piano in Music, Craft, Commerce and Technology

"There’s a separate world inside 109 West 57th Street, and it has nothing and everything to do with the world outside.  Everything because it’s a house of music, and music connects to all people…and all things….  And nothing, because – well, because it’s a world of pianos. The name of the place is Steinway Hall." – Kyle Kevorkian, “The House of Steinway,” 1992

Steinway Hall, W 57th St., c.1925
Earlier this week, Steinway & Sons opened a new Steinway Hall, the third in the history of the city.  But what is Steinway Hall?  Is it a concert venue?  A piano showroom?  An intimate home for artists and music lovers?  The corporate presence of Steinway and Sons in the cultural heart of America?

Steinway Hall, E.14th St., 1860s
Since 1866 when the first Steinway Hall opened on East 14th Street, Steinway Hall has stood uniquely as a nexus of music, craftsmanship, commerce, technology and the cultural life of New York City.

When William Steinway agreed to let the Women’s Suffrage Association use Steinway Hall in 1871 (the subject of last month’s Blog post for Women’s History Month), he not only rented his hall (the second largest in the city) for a major civic meeting, he also knew it was an opportunity to advertise pianos.