To the editor:
(re: “So who needs Carnegie Hall?” Oct. 31)
Peter Heiman’s unfortunate question — “Who needs Carnegie Hall?” — whether asked seriously or not, deserves an answer.
The answer is a resounding: We all do!
Like Mr. Heiman, I have on many occasions enjoyed fine performances of great music in Riverdale, and in venues throughout the Bronx. And I appreciate his celebrating the performances he cites.
However, although I assume his question is meant to be taken humorously, I must take issue with the posing of it.
May I remind readers that Carnegie Hall — certainly the most iconic concert hall in this country — was slated for demolition in the 1950s, and if not for the heroic efforts of Isaac Stern and others, that would have been its fate.
Carnegie is not only to be valued for its storied history — virtually every great musician of the last 130 years has performed there — but it stands as a beacon of both American and world culture.
Moreover, while the impetus for Carnegie’s planned demolition was the coming of Lincoln Center, the fact is that the latter’s David Geffen Hall — despite many renovations — has never matched the acoustic quality of the older facility.
I think Mr. Heiman will agree that we can celebrate the arts in Riverdale while at the same time recognize how fortunate we are to live in a city that is home to our country’s greatest concert hall.
We need them both!