A Look At New York City's Iconic Carnegie Hall And The Russian Tea Room


Carnegie Hall is one of those places that when you see it, you immediately feel its rich history radiating from every cell of its exquisite architecture. It feels almost sacred, as if everyone who has ever performed there has become impregnated within its soul.

It's a place that looks and feels so incredibly grand.

Yet at the same time, very intimate and personal.

Carnegie Hall was built by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1891. It is one of the most prestigious venues in the world for both classical music and popular music, located in Midtown Manhattan. Carnegie Hall has 3,671 seats, divided among its three auditoriums.

Several weeks ago when I was in New York, I happened to walk past Carnegie Hall, so I decided to take some photographs to share with you.

And because I have a passion for history, I thought it would be interesting to also share comparison photos.

Please note that all the interior photographs are not mine, I found them online. I didn't go inside either Carnegie Hall or the Russian Tea Room that day, I only photographed them from outside. Also, I tried to find vintage photographs that would match my own photographs, so that you could see similar locations from different time periods.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the iconic Carnegie Hall and the Russian Tea Room...










I love this next vintage photograph because it was from a time period when all men worn hats...


Isn't the interior exquisite?...





These next photographs are of the infamous Russian Tea Room, directly next door to Carnegie Hall, which has always made me feel that it's part of Carnegie Hall because patrons will often go there for brunch, tea or dinner before or after seeing a show.

"The Russian Tea Room is a treasured, globally-renowned cultural institution and an enchanting, magical place where people of all ages and backgrounds have been having unforgettable dining & celebratory experiences for 92 years."






Inside the lush Russian Tea Room...




Here are just a few of the people who performed at Carnegie Hall...

Judy Garland (one of my favorite performers of all-time)


And get a load of the ticket prices back then, compared to what they charge today. 
Only $9.90 to see JUDY GARLAND?!?!?
OH...MY...GOD...


The Beatles


Only $3.00 to see the BEATLES!?!
 I am a huge fan of the era of big bands and swing music, so I had to share one more...

Benny Goodman


Only $2.20 to see Benny Goodman?!?!


Yes, Carnegie Hall is one of those special venues in which everyone who performs there says the same thing...


Have a GRAND week, everyone!
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24 comments

  1. Valerie DaggattNovember 21, 2019

    An enjoyable post, Ron. I never did get around to visiting Carnegie Hall so you have satisfied my curiosity... somewhat! It is only my 'if only' list, one that will never be realised. The trouble with NY is that there is so much to see and I was always bound to miss something on the occasions I visited.

    Going back for another viewing of your photographs.

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  2. Great post on such interesting landmarks. When I went with my daughter's high school choir and orchestra to NYC in 2011, we had a tour of Carnegie Hall. We sat right in that first row while our guide gave us a long history (which was rather boring) until it got to the part about the performers. Some funny stories, though I can't remember any now except one was about Jerry Seinfeld. It's a magnificent theatre and we are lucky here in Cleveland to have a number of equally gorgeous theatres in the Playhouse Square district.

    I took a photo of the outside of the Russian Tea Room that looks just like yours with the bicyclist in front. I had heard of it, but knew nothing about it. Omg, I love the room with the booths. Are those Faberge eggs in the case? Can we go there together? XO

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  3. Hey there Valerie!

    Isn't Carnegie Hall exquisite? And not only what it looks like, but also its rich history!

    "It is only my 'if only' list, one that will never be realised."

    You never know, though. You just might fulfill that 'if only' list some day.

    Yes, I agree...the trouble with NY is that there is SO MUCH to see. Even for me, someone who lived there at one time, and visits often, I still feel as though I haven't seen everything.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, dear friend. Have a great rest of your week!
    X

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  4. OMG, that's awesome! I did a tour eons ago, when I lived there in the 70's-80's. However, there has been a great deal of renovation on its various additional spaces (such as the rehearsal studio) that used to be connected to Carnegie Hall (its entrance being close the Russian Tea Room), which I don't if it's there anymore because the entrance looks completely different. It used to have a canvas awning, which is no longer present.

    "I took a photo of the outside of the Russian Tea Room that looks just like yours with the bicyclist in front. I had heard of it, but knew nothing about it."

    OMG...it's so ironic that you took a very similar photograph! The day I was there, I took so many pictures from so many different angles. The Russian Tea Room is one of those iconic New York landmarks that's been there for so many years, yet I don't think most people know it's close association with Carnegie Hall. It's kind of like "Sardi's" restaurant in the theater district.

    " Are those Faberge eggs in the case? Can we go there together? We will have to be on our best behavior, Ron! Lol!"

    OMG, that made me laugh! Could you imagine the two of us having High Tea there?!? And yes, you are absolutely correct...those are Faberge eggs in the case!"

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a great rest of your week!

    X

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  5. Ron, I really like how you posted comparison photographs because it's so interesting to see how Carnegie Hall and the Russian Tea Room looked throughout their history! I love the picture of two gentlemen wearing hats. What a wonderful picture! I've seen both these NY iconic places, but have never been inside. Oh my god, the interiors are so beautiful!

    My mouth dropped open when I saw the ticket price to see Judy Garland. I know that was from a different time, but still, that price is unbelievable. I was very been fan of Judy. There never was, or ever will be anyone like her.

    Great post!

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  6. Ron, I read this with a HUGE smile on my face!! Carnegie Hall, what a venue. Your photo of the lone grand piano on the stage captures my imagination. As a musician, I've always been drawn to Carnegie Hall. No, I'm not near talented enough to join the ranks of Judy, Benny, and the Beatles, but oh my golly, what a thrill it must be, just sitting in the auditorium!


    Carnegie Hall is one of those places I missed during my one trip to NYC ... but it's one I'd like to see when I get back. (Notice I said "when," not "if." I'm an eternal optimist, as you know!!)


    Thank you for brightening my day with these lovely photos. Enjoy the "warmth" before it turns cold again! xo

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  7. I love it when you do side by side comparisons with historical photos. It's so wonderful when places are maintained to reflect their past glory. We have a theatre that has a similar look and feel....but not nearly as large. https://concertseries.missouri.edu/venue/missouri-theatre/ And I love, love, love that last quote! The Russian Tea Room is the epitome of ornamental overload, isn't it?! I'm sure it's quite the experience! X

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  8. Actually, only $2.82 to see The Beatles. The government had to go and get greedy and take 18 cents in taxes. DAMN THE MAN!!

    What's most remarkable to me isn't Carnegie Hall itself, but what's behind it. Namely, nothing in the vintage photo, and a giant wall of skyscrapers now. I guess that's progress.

    I also guess the Russian Tea Room serves more than tea! Who knew?

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  9. Hey there Candice! Thank you, I love to use comparison photographs whenever I post photos of iconic places and buildings because they show how much a place/building has changed over the years.

    Aren't the interiors beautiful? I didn't have time to go inside either place, so I found interior photographs online.

    "My mouth dropped open when I saw the ticket price to see Judy Garland. I know that was from a different time, but still, that price is unbelievable. I was very been fan of Judy. There never was, or ever will be anyone like her."

    I know, can you BELIEVE how inexpensive those tickets were back then? I can't even imagine what those tickets would go for if Judy Garland have lived longer and still did concerts. I agree...there is never was, or never will be anyone like her. She was incredibly talented.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have an awesome rest of your week!
    X

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  10. Glad this made you smile, Debbie :) Isn't Carnegie Hall faaaaabulous?

    "As a musician, I've always been drawn to Carnegie Hall. No, I'm not near talented enough to join the ranks of Judy, Benny, and the Beatles, but oh my golly, what a thrill it must be, just sitting in the auditorium!"

    Yes, I know exactly how you feel because I imagine that thrill as well! And hey, you never know because Carnegie doesn't only highlight big names (as mentioned above), but also concerts with music students.

    "Carnegie Hall is one of those places I missed during my one trip to NYC ... but it's one I'd like to see when I get back. (Notice I said "when," not "if." I'm an eternal optimist, as you know!!)"

    Yes...."when" indeed! And when you do, I would love to meet you there so that we can finally meet in person.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Enjoy the rest of your week!

    X

    P.S. I know, hasn't the weather been strange? Warm, then cold. Warm, then cold. As you know, I don't mind the cold at all, but I just wish it would stay that way because next week I hear it's going to be in the high 60's, which is way too warm me this time of year.

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  11. Lisa, I can't thank you enough for sharing the link to the Missouri Theatre. OMG...it's STUNNING! When I have more time tomorrow, I'm going to revisit the link and read up on its history.

    "It's so wonderful when places are maintained to reflect their past glory."

    I soooooooo agree! And that's why I so enjoy side by side comparisons because you can see it's evolution.

    Isn't that last quote fabulous? I found it online and then edited it onto another photo I found online. Violins are my favorite musical instrument, which is why I chose it for the quote.

    "The Russian Tea Room is the epitome of ornamental overload, isn't it?! I'm sure it's quite the experience!"

    HA! Yes, it sure is, isn't it? It's just dripping in ornamental overload! Quite the experience....yes!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a great rest of your week!

    X

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  12. "Actually, only $2.82 to see The Beatles. The government had to go and get greedy and take 18 cents in taxes. DAMN THE MAN!!"

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Mark, that made me laugh my ass off! Too funny! I know, DAMN THE MAN!!!!

    "What's most remarkable to me isn't Carnegie Hall itself, but what's behind it. Namely, nothing in the vintage photo, and a giant wall of skyscrapers now. I guess that's progress."

    I know, isn't it mind-blowing to see just how much New York City development has transpired over the years? But that's NY, it's constantly growing and expanding.

    Yes, the Russian Tea Room serves much more than tea. They also serve brunch, lunch, and dinner. The prices are insane.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have an awesome rest of your week!

    X

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  13. Oh WOW, Ron - thanks for yet another fantastic post! I've been to NYC numerous times but never saw Carnegie Hall. The photos brought it to life! I especially love the comparison pictures - then and now. Except for the beautiful updates (face lifts) it really hasn't changed much. The original intent has lovingly and wisely been maintained.


    It really is mind-boggling to realize how very many famous people performed there - probably more than any other concert hall in the world.
    I got a kick out of seeing the cheap price of those old tickets.

    I remember when I used to go to the opera and ballet at the (old) Music Center in Los Angeles. The very best seats were only about 6 to 8 dollars. The cheapies were like $3.50. Times sure have changed.
    (and when I was a "starving" college student, I thought those prices were expensive!)



    I also like the photos of the Russian Tea Room. Really beautiful!

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  14. http://ladyfi.wordpress.comNovember 22, 2019

    What exquisite interiors!

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  15. Aren't the interiors exquisite, Fiona? I love the rich history of both places.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a terrific weekend!
    X

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  16. Hey there Jon!

    OMG, knowing how much you love music and play the piano yourself, I know you would love, love, love Carnegie Hall.

    "Except for the beautiful updates (face lifts) it really hasn't changed much. The original intent has lovingly and wisely been maintained."

    Yes, you're right...not a lot has changed with the exterior. It's still had that "vintage" look, which yes, they lovingly and wisely maintained.

    "It really is mind-boggling to realize how very many famous people performed there - probably more than any other concert hall in the world. I got a kick out of seeing the cheap price of those old tickets."

    Yes, a TON of famous people have performed there, which is what gives it that "unbelievable" feeling when you think of them all performing on that stage. It's so moving!

    Can you believe the price of those tickets? Yes, times sure have changed because if Judy Garland had lived longer and gave concerts, those tickets would have gradually climb to at least $500.00.

    I know, back then those prices, as cheap as they are know, were expensive!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have an awesome weekend!
    X

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  17. Ron, this post was not only interesting but also a joy to read. And as always, your NYC posts make me miss my hometown. I've seen Carnegie Hall and the Russian Tea Room, but have never been inside either one. Oh my god, they are both BEAUTIFUL! I love how you did the comparison photos too. The one of the two guys wearing hats is flawless! Don't you love older days when people actually dressed up and looked classy? Miss those times.

    I almost fell on the floor from shock when I read the tickets prices for all three performers. Unbelievable! Ticket prices for even a Broadway show (such as Hamilton) are well over four hundred dollars.

    Wonderful post, Ron! xo

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  18. Ron, I especially enjoy your New York City posts because of your passion for that city, which you can feel in the way you write about it. But I also enjoy them because like you, I love that city!

    Love the way you highlighted the comparison photographs. I found myself scrolling up and down, looking for the differences.

    Great post!

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  19. Hey there Daniel!

    Thank you, glad you enjoy! :) Isn't New York City amazing? And what's incredible is that even though I lived there, and currently visit at least once a month, I still haven't seen everything there is to see. I will be going again sometime in December to see all the Christmas decorations. Christmas in New York is something everyone should at least experience once in their life because it's magical!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a fab weekend!
    X

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  20. Hola Denise!

    I know, aren't they both BEAUTIFUL NYC iconic landmarks? I wasn't even planning to walk by them the last time I was there, however, I was walking on the West Side of the city, when suddenly I spotted Carnegie Hall and thought I'd take some photos.

    "The one of the two guys wearing hats is flawless! Don't you love older days when people actually dressed up and looked classy? Wish those times would return."

    I agree! My favorite time periods for style and fashion are the 40's and 50's. Love those periods!

    "Unbelievable! Ticket prices for even a Broadway show (such as Hamilton) are well over four hundred dollars."

    HA! I know, unbelievable, right? Years ago, Barbra Streisand charged over $700.00 for a single ticket to one of her concerts.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a fantastic weekend!

    X

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  21. I think the one that grabbed me most was three bucks to see the Beatles. Holy cannoli.

    Very interesting post - you're right about those places just being steeped in history and glamour. Just gorgeous.

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  22. I know, holy cannoli, can you BELIEVE the price of those tickets to see the Beatles?!?! And the one for "the" Judy Garland?!?

    "...you're right about those places just being steeped in history and glamour."

    I knew you would completely understand because of our mutual love for history and old things!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a fantastic week!
    X

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  23. "It feels almost sacred, as if everyone who has ever performed there has become impregnated within its soul."

    What an absolutely brilliant description of Carnegie Hall, Ron! Benny Goodman, Judy Garland, the Beatles--the list of artists who performed there is stunning!

    I used to go the old Carnegie Hall Cinema which used to show old movies in the basement. (This was before DVDs and streaming.) Such a magical place!

    As always you take fabulous photos to accompany your delightful post. It's important to keep the history of places like Carnegie Hall and the Russian Tea Room alive so future generations will understand just how important they are.

    Thanks so much for sharing this story with us, buddy! Take care!

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  24. Hey there Rob!

    Being a native New Yorker, I knew you would understand what I meant about not only Carnegie Hall, but so many historical/iconic locations in that city.

    "I used to go the old Carnegie Hall Cinema which used to show old movies in the basement. (This was before DVDs and streaming.) Such a magical place!"

    OMG, I didn't even know that they had, at one time, a cinema in the basement?!? How cool that must of been! I did know that they had a rehearsal hall in the upper floors, which I don't know if it's even still there because the front of Carnegie Hall has changed so much.

    " It's important to keep the history of places like Carnegie Hall and the Russian Tea Room alive so future generations will understand just how important they are."

    I sooooooooooooooo agree!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, buddy. Have a super weekend!

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