Vanishing Landmarks Of New York

The Rockettes, when they first became famous, were called the Roxyettes. Named after the impresario S.L. “Roxy” Rothafel, they were a regular act at Rothafel’s Roxy Theatre, which opened in 1927 on 50th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues. In the Roxy’s lobby—a five-story rotunda—marble columns surrounded the world’s largest oval rug. The main theater had nearly 6,000 seats. On opening night, Rothafel projected onto the cinema screen letters of congratulation from President Calvin Coolidge and the mayor of New York, Jimmy Walker. In 1960, the Roxy was unceremoniously razed to make way for an office building. It was just one of many urban erasures that led to the establishment in 1965 of the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The story of the agency’s emergence as a powerful force in city politics is documented by a revealing new exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York, “Saving Place: 50 Years of New York City Landmarks.”

Leave a Comment