The Academy of Music was a New York City opera house, located at East 14th Street and Irving Place in Manhattan. The 4,000-seat hall opened on October 2, 1854. The New York Times review declared it to be an acoustical "triumph", but "In every other aspect ... a decided failure," complaining about the architecture, interior design and the closeness of the seating; although a follow-up several days later relented a bit, saying that the theater "looked more cheerful, and in every way more effective" than it had on opening night.
The Academy's opera season became the center of social life for New York's elite, with the oldest and most prominent families owning seats in the theater's boxes. The opera house was destroyed by fire and subsequently rebuilt in 1866, but it was supplanted as the city's premiere opera venue in 1883 by the new Metropolitan Opera House – created by the nouveaux riche who had been frozen out of the Academy – and ceased presenting opera in 1886, turning instead to vaudeville. It was demolished in 1926. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academy_of_Music_%28New_York_City%29
February 21, 1885
Photograph: "Academy of Music (New York City) crop" by Unknown - Chapters of Opera (1909) by Henry Edward Krehbiel. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Academy_of_Music_%28New_York_City%29_crop.jpg#/media/File:Academy_of_Music_%28New_York_City%29_crop.jpg