The New Amsterdam is the largest and most architecturally distinguished theater on West 42nd Street. Designed by Henry Herts and Hugh Tallant in 1903, the New Amsterdam was the first major Art Nouveau building in the United States.
The theater’s decaying condition made its restoration a tremendous undertaking. Less than 50% of the original decorative scheme was intact. A combination of paint analyses and historical documentation helped determine the theater’s original appearance. Special painting and glazing techniques insured that elements would not look too new after restoration. Modern technology enabled custom, computer-generated designs of carpeting, seat coverings, and stage curtains.
The theater’s exuberant ornament, including decorative murals, terra cotta balustrades, seating boxes, a proscenium arch, and carved and wood paneling were all re-created.
At the same time, amenities such as air conditioning, expanded lobby space, men’s and women’s lounges, and elevator access have been subtly added. Stage lighting, rigging, sound systems, and all of the technology required for modern performance have also been carefully and unobtrusively inserted.