|Location||New York City|
|Owner||Unification Church |
|Capacity||2,200 (Reception/Theater Style)
1,000 (Seated Dinner)
The Hammerstein Ballroom is a two-tiered, 12,000-square-foot (1,100 m2) ballroom located within the Manhattan Center Studios at 311 West 34th Street in Manhattan in New York City. It is known for its elegant appearance and excellent acoustic design. The capacity of the ballroom is dependent on the configuration of the room; it seats 2,500 people for theatrical productions and musical performances, and several thousand for events held within a central ring. The two main balconies—which are unusually close to the ground and gently sloped—seat a total of 1,200. There are six shallow balconies which are normally used for celebrity guests. The floor slants down to the stage area to enable those in the back rows to see easily.
The Manhattan Center was constructed in 1906 by Oscar Hammerstein I as the Manhattan Opera House, the home for his Manhattan Opera Company, an alternative to the popular yet comparatively expensive Metropolitan Opera. In 1910, the Metropolitan Opera paid Hammerstein $1.2 million to stop operating the Manhattan Opera House as an opera venue for ten years. This led to the elaborately decorated theater being used for a variety of events, including vaudeville.
The ownership of the center changed hands multiple times over the next few decades, with the theater being converted into a large ballroom and being used as a Freemason's temple in the 1930s and a trade union headquarters in the 1940s before falling into disuse in the 1970s, before being bought by Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, the ballroom's current owner. The building was renamed Manhattan Center Studios in 1986, and in 1997 the former theater was renamed the Hammerstein Ballroom and underwent extensive renovation, with the hand painted ceiling being completely restored.
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The Hammerstein Ballroom has seen performances from a wide variety of musical acts and its popularity has varied over the years due mainly to competition within the neighborhood.
The professional wrestling promotion Extreme Championship Wrestling staged some of its events from the Ballroom. Starting in August 2000, ECW staged two back to back shows before holding its final two pay-per-view events, Massacre on 34th Street in December 2000 and Guilty as Charged in 2001. The Ballroom then hosted the first two WWE-promoted ECW One Night Stand pay-per-views, in June 2005 and June 2006. Since 2008's A New Level, Ring of Honor has hosted DVD and TV tapings at the Hammerstein Ballroom as well as pay-per-view events, having also used the adjacent Grand Ballroom regularly for events.. On September 23, 2010, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling held their show in the Ballroom for the first time.
Jane's Addiction recorded the 1997 Halloween Show of their reunion tour at the Hammerstein Ballroom - the band's members performing some numbers in their encore from the balcony.
Patti LaBelle recorded her DVD Live! One Night Only at a sold out concert at the Hammerstein Ballroom with special guests Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey. It was released in 1998 and later won her a Grammy Award for her outstanding performance.
In 2002, NASCAR held its annual end-of-season awards ceremony in the Ballroom, the only time since 1985 the end-of-season awards ceremony was not held in the Waldorf-Astoria Grand Ballroom.
The rock band Korn recorded their DVD Live at the Hammerstein Ballroom.
In 2004, between the 11th and 18 December, Pixies played a record sold out shows as a part of their reunion tour.
Several seasons of NBC's America's Got Talent have been taped here.
Two weeks of shows were taped here during the third season of the Bergeron version of Hollywood Squares.
Thirty Seconds to Mars played their 300th sold out World Record show on December 7, 2011.
All Time Low recorded their first live DVD titled Straight to DVD at the Hammerstein Ballroom.
Mega group Swedish House Mafia performed On February 28, 2013 at the Ballroom as part of their One Last Tour. The show was known as Black Tie Rave, and tickets were auctioned off on December 14–16, 2012. The show was to give aid in the victims of Hurricane Sandy which caused damage on the Eastern United States.
On November 18, 2013, Howard Stern announced on his radio show that his "Crash the Bash" birthday (60th) celebration will be held at the Ballroom on January 31, 2014.
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