My Heart Aches (and yearns) for Abandoned Theaters

Theater was my first love. I fell head over heels at the tender age of 6 when my parents took me to see Les Mis. I remember it vividly. We sat in the front row of the mezzanine and I sat spellbound for hours munching on Junior Mints and taking it all in. For the next couple of years I sang songs from that show a cappella in my school’s talent shows. Everyone else was dancing to The Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys and I waltz out there and sang Broadway all on my own. (get it? hehe) I wish I still had the balls I had as an 8 year old.

Last night, I found out that there is an abandoned theater on 146 and Broadway. In its glory it was called the RKO Hamilton Theater, a vaudeville house constructed in 1912-1913. A friend at work told me that she snuck in at 4am and I could hardly contain my jealousy. History and Theater combine my two favorite things.. and my 2 college majors. I almost peed myself. There is something so incredibly beautiful in the abandoned. Without the glistening lights of modernity, all illusions disappear. The hustle of our technology-driven lives slows down. Walking through historical places like this you can feel the past come alive. It makes you wonder who else wandered these halls. Who performed on that stage? How were they feeling? Was it just another night at work or was it a dream come true? How did people dress when they spent a night here? It makes you feel small in the best way.. It makes you remember that lives before your own were just as significant as the one you lead with such importance. Its destressing in a way.

Abandoned theaters hold such a beautiful place in my heart. If I ever have buckets of money I would love to buy one and restore it to its original glory. Let the walls breathe and the stage come alive again. And I hope to wander the halls of the RKO Hamilton some time soon.


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