Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Astor Place (Manhattan)
The single block of Astor Place that leads to Broadway predates Manhattan's grid plan. Astor Place was the site of the Astor Place Opera House on the corner of East 8th Street. Built to be a fashionable theater in 1847, it was the site of the Astor Place Riot of May 10 1849. Anti-British feelings were running so high among New York's Irish at the height of the potato famine that they found an outlet in the rivalry between actors Edwin Forrest and the English William Charles Macready. The appearance onstage of the Englishman in Macbeth occasioned so violent a protest in the streets that the police overreacted and fired into the crowd. At least eighteen died and hundreds were injured. The theater itself never recovered from the associations and was razed in the 1860's.
The current Off-Broadway Astor Place Theater, with only 299 seats, has been located in the landmark Colonnade Row on Lafayette Street, half a block south, since 1969. It was known for premiering works by downtown playwrights like Sam Shepard and since 1991 as home to the Blue Man Group.
Astor Place is home to Bernard Rosenthal 's sculpture "Alamo", known popularly as "the cube". "The Cube" was recently taken away for repairs (As of March, 2005) , and for a short time a makeshift memorial out of white tubes replaced it.
This is one of a growing number of places in New York City where you can see two Starbucks just a block away from each other.
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