Old Metropolitan Opera House
1411 Broadway (between 39th and 40th streets)
Opened: 1883, Demolished 1967
The first Metropolitan Opera House was located on this site just south of Times Square. It was designed by J. Cleaveland Cady and opened on 10/22/1883 with a production of Faust. Despite its lovely design and acoustics, the property lines resulted in cramped dressing rooms and inadequate storage and rehearsal space.
Precarious finances in the 1950s led the company to begin pursuit of a larger space that would provide increased seating and a better technical facilities while permitting the company to sell this valuable midtown lot. The company eventually joined with the New York Philharmonic as one of the anchor tenants in Robert Moses' Lincoln Center complex. The company relocated in 1966 and the old building was razed in 1967 to make way for a comparatively undistinguished office building.
More photos of the old opera house (including interiors) can be viewed in the Library of Congress's Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS).