NYC’s Town Hall Unveils 90th Anniversary Essay Contest


It’s a sweet idea and I’m certainly happy to promote it. Got essay? Sure you do. Start writing!

Er, I mean, with all due respect, it is a little odd to limit the entrants to the contest to those who can recall their first visit to Town Hall between 1930 and 1965. Or, to put it another way, if someone was 18 years old in 1930, they would be 99 today.

But perhaps — well, surely there are such folks out there, and, indeed, I’d be curious to know what they remember. If I were running this thing, I’d do one contest for the elder and one contest for the younger, then I’d be sure to seat them together and make it a photo-op! It’s a photo-op!

Anyway, in the meantime, below is a redacted version of the press release, courtesy of publicist Glenna Friedman…


Essay Contest To Be Held in Honor of

The Town Hall was built in 1921 with the vision of becoming the hall for the people. Founded as a lecture hall for discussing pressing political issues, The Town Hall developed from an intellectual forum into a legendary venue for artists and entertainers. As a New York City landmark, The Town Hall was unrivaled in its acoustics; the sight lines and remarkable intimacy of the auditorium inspired speakers and artists, both new and experienced, while having a positive effect on audience reception. No matter the instrument, the voice, or the agenda, The Town Hall established itself as the place, second to none, for a performer to make a New York debut.

In honor of its 90th Anniversary, The Town Hall is holding an essay contest for anyone who would like to share the experience of his or her first visit to The Town Hall in the early years from 1930-1965. The essay should be 500 words and can be typed in Times Roman 12 point type, double-spaced, with your contact information on the first page. You can submit by sending to “Memory Essay Contest”, The Town Hall at 123 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036, or submit on The Town Hall’s website: and look for the 90th Anniversary Essay Contest button on the home page. Submissions must be received by April 2nd, 2010. There will be a $1,000 prize for the first place winner. The second place winner will receive a pair of tickets to the 90th Anniversary Celebration, which is soon to be announced.

The Town Hall was built by the prominent architectural firm McKim, Mead and White under the auspices of The League for Political Education to educate women, who had just won the right to vote with the ratification of the 19th amendment, in political issues. Beyond providing a platform for important lectures and debates, The Town Hall became the venue of choice for debut recitalists in New York City. Thus began The Hall’s longstanding tradition of showcasing the finest young talent. Since then, “The People’s Hall” has staged world-class performances in cabaret, dance, music, opera, and theatre, as well as hosted some of the 20th and 21st century’s most legendary artistic, cultural, and political figures….