The Hammerstein Ballroom is a 12,000-square-foot (1,100 m2) ballroom located within the Manhattan Center at 311 West 34th Street in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. 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 floor of the ballroom is flat. The two main balconies – which are unusually close to the ground and gently sloped – seat a total of 1,200. The third balcony has been stripped of seats and is not used.
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.
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