A Landmark of New York…
Built in 1886 by architect Charles Rentz, Webster Hall became one of the country’s first modern nightclubs. According the Webster Hall website “It was where the original bohemians, like Emma Goldman, Marcel DuChamp and Margaret Sangor, created unique costume balls to benefit nascent social and political causes.” From the Gothamist article “Hailing Webster Hall”
It is especially important for this building because all around it older buildings are being torn down to be replaced by 20- or 30-story dormitories or hotels…The building was a speakeasy during Prohibition. It also has been the setting of union rallies, elaborate debutante balls and even wrestling matches. From the Daily News article “Landmark day for Webster Hall”
When researching a landmark building, you should access the very detailed designation reports, which “explain the architectural, historical and cultural significance of an individual landmark or historic district.” Two publications that list the landmarks and historic districts throughout New York are: “Guide to New York City Landmarks,” by Andrew S. Dolkart; and “The Landmarks of New York,” by Barbaralee Diamonstein.
The Neighborhood Preservation Center has a searchable database to all the reports from the first report (1965 - Pieter Claesen Wyckoff House) onward. It is an ongoing project, so reports are still being posted. Check it out at: http://www.neighborhoodpreservationcenter.org/designation_reports/index.php
For current designation reports go to the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s website at: http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/html/forms/reports.shtml
Fortunately, over 23,000 buildings have been given landmark status, never to be touched or destroyed ever again (unlike the Pennsylvania Station and many others…). Well, unless you're watching another Hollywood movie depicting the destruction of New York…