Founded by Suffragists in 1921 in response to the passing of the 19th amendment, The Town Hall was established to educate people on the important issues of the day. It was soon discovered that this beautiful concert hall designed by renowned architects McKim, Mead and White was acoustically perfect. Since that discovery the “People’s Hall became the place for debuts of all types and almost a century later, it is one of New York City's premiere performance spaces for music, dance, comedy and film.
Among the performers, and thinkers who have made Town Hall their home are Margaret Sanger, who was famously arrested on stage; Bob Dylan who gave his breakout performance; and Marian Anderson who performed on its stage well before she performed at The Met. Town Hall is proud to have launched the careers of new artists, while continuing to maintaining its role as a place for free discussion.
On Memorial Day in 1935, Town Hall began live radio broadcasts of its original series, America’s Town Meeting of the Air. Designed to promote the free exchange of idea, Town Meeting was a live conversation among four speakers on a predetermined topic. The program began broadcasting on a single station with approximately 500,000 listeners, but within three years, it was carried by 78 stations and boasted 2.5 million listeners. The program ran for more than 20 years. For this accomplishment, Town Hall was selected for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places, the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation.
We invite you to learn more about this special place, its founding, architecture, and its role in the history & culture of New York, as well as the part it has played in the march for freedom of speech and human rights. Free guided tours are available on select mornings and are appropriate for visitors of all ages.
All tours are at 10:30 AM, unless otherwise specified.