The Town Hall
-The tour was led by The Town Hall Board President, Tom Wirtshafter.
The New York Landmarks Conservancy was pleased to offer its Professional Circle members an exclusive tour of The Town Hall led by Tom Wirtshafter (Board President of The Town Hall).
Founded by Suffragists in 1921 in response to the passing of the 19th amendment, The Town Hall was established to educate people on the important issues of the day. It was soon discovered that this beautiful concert hall designed by renowned architects McKim, Mead and White was acoustically perfect. Since that discovery, the “People’s Hall” became the place for debuts of all types and almost a century later, it is one of New York City’s premiere performance spaces for music, dance, comedy, and film.
Among the performers and thinkers who have made Town Hall their home are Margaret Sanger, who was famously arrested on stage; Bob Dylan who gave his breakout performance; and Marian Anderson who performed on its stage well before she performed at The Met.
On Memorial Day in 1935, Town Hall began live radio broadcasts of its original series, America’s Town Meeting of the Air. Designed to promote the free exchange of ideas, Town Meeting was a live conversation among four speakers on a predetermined topic.
The program began broadcasting on a single station with approximately 500,000 listeners, but within three years, it was carried by 78 stations and boasted 2.5 million listeners. The program ran for more than 20 years. For this accomplishment, Town Hall was selected for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.
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Throughout the year, Circle tours go behind-the-scenes of some of New York’s most interesting historic properties. Some tours require hard hats to visit projects during restoration, while others showcase completed restorations of commercial buildings, residences, museums, churches, and synagogues. On occasion, conservators, engineers, and craftspeople open their studios to our Circle members.