|Exterior of Koster and Bial's on the north side of West 34th Street between Seventh Avenue and Broadway, 1896. Image: MCNY|
|Interior of the 34th Street Koster and Bial's Music Hall, 1896. Image: MCNY|
|Strobridge Lithographing, 1896. Image: LOC|
A popular vaudeville venue with varied stage performances, Koster and Bial's hosted burlesque and acrobatic acts, as well as a whole host of musical performances.
|Fannie Leslie . Image: NYPL|
|Trick horse of Emile outside the music hall's 34th Street entrance, 1896. Image: MCNY|
|The dancer as portrayed by painter William Merritt Chase, 1888. Image via|
|One of a few portraits painted of the dancer by painter John Singer Sargent, 1890. Image via|
|The first theatrical exhibition of a a film projection machine, the Vitascope. April 23, 1896 Image: LOC|
Edison's company went on to produce 100s of "actuality" films -- watch them -- documenting real life scenes with little or no narrative. Here is a film of Carmencita made in 1894, most likely with one of Edison's previous camera inventions: the kinetograph or kinetoscope:
Almost since the day it opened, the theater was plagued with financial and management issues. On July 17, 1901 Macy's announced the purchase and future demolition of the property to make way for the flagship store at 34th Street and Broadway. Three days later, Koster and Bial's held their last performance on the rook garden, ending with a chorus of performers and loyal customers singing "Auld Lang Syne."
You can still find a plaque commemorating the Hall's existence just outside the 34th Street entrance to Macy's.
-Snyder, Robert. The Voice of the City: Vaudeville and Popular Culture in New York.