28 September 2011

Lyceum Theatre Elevator Will Still Be Running When You're Dead

The Lyceum Theatre, erected in 1903, is the oldest continually operating theatre on Broadway. And one of the most beautiful, to boot. It was built by showman Daniel Frohman, who kept his offices on the top floor, above the high-ceilinged lobby. (The chair Froman used to ruminate in is there still. So is a trap door through which he could spy on the action on stage.)

The Shubert Organization bought the W. 45th Street theatre back in 1950. For some years, they've made Frohman's office the home of the capacious Shubert Archives, a peerless resource of theatrical documents and photography.

To get to the archives, you have to take the hand-operated private elevator that was once only accessible to Frohman and his guests. (You still need an appointment with the archives to visit.) It's a small, old Otis elevator, and is extant, having been installed when the theatre was built. It's a bit on the shabby side at this point, but still has a faded grandeur, what with its mirrors and moldings. And it's still operated by hand. (See the lever below.) An elevator inspector recently gave it the once-over. He said, the way it was built, it will run forever.

1 comment:

upstate Johnny G said...

See? This is what is wrong with Amerika! How dare someone build something that won't wear out in a few years! Didn't that clown know that most of the economic activity of the country depends on people buying stuff that either breaks or becomes obsolete or out of fashion in a very short time, so they have to keep buying the same stuff over and over? We call that .... "life", for golly's sake."It'll run forever,"? What is this world coming to, I ask you.