New York Vauxhall Gardens was a pleasure garden and theater in New York City. It was named for the Vauxhall
Gardens of London.
The New York Vauxhall Gardens at its second location in 1803
Though the venue passed through a
long list of owners, and suffered buyouts, closings, relocations,
and re-openings, it lasted until the mid-19th century.
In the mid-1760s, country taverns such as Clapp's had become
popular in Colonial New York. Samuel
opened the New York Vauxhall in 1767 to take advantage
of this climate, and it became the chief competitor to the New York Ranelagh Gardens
original gardens were located on Greenwich Street
between what would later
streets in the
fashionable Sixth Ward; New
York Public School 234
stands at the site today. Fraunces
operated the venue until 1773, when he offered it for sale. His
notice mentioned two large gardens, a house with four rooms per
floor and twelve fireplaces, and a dining hall that was long and
wide, with a kitchen below. The Vauxhall offered light summer
concerts and featured an outdoor wax
. For the summer 1768 season, it hosted an exhibit on the
life of Scipio Africanus
included a grove with a reconstruction of the military leader at
his tent. The Vauxhall remained popular throughout the Colonial period of New
and to the end of the 18th century. By this point, the
gardens had two namesake competitors, one of which was primarily
popular for its ice cream
As New York City expanded, streets of rowhouses with rear gardens
swallowed the site. In 1798, owner Joseph Delacroix moved his operations to
Broome Street between Broadway and the Bowery.
it moved yet again, this time to Lafayette Street, stretching
from 4th to 8th streets in what were then the northern
reaches of the city, the area that later became Astor
Place, 4th Street, Broadway, and the Bowery.
Professional travel writer John
visited in November 1807 and wrote,
New York has its Vauxhall and Ranelagh; but they are
poor imitations of those near London.
They are, however, pleasant places of recreation for
The Vauxhall garden is situated in the Bowery Road
about two miles (3 km) from the City Hall.
It is a neat plantation, with gravel walks adorned with
shrubs, trees, busts, and statues.
In the centre is a large equestrian statue of General
Light musical pieces, interludes, etc. are performed in
a small theatre situate in one corner of the gardens: the audience
sit in what are called the pit and boxes, in the open
The orchestra is built among the trees, and a large
apparatus is constructed for the display of fireworks.
The theatrical corps of New York is chiefly engaged at
Vauxhall during summer….
The theater's boxes faced the garden and blocked the stage from the
The area belonged to John Jacob
. In 1826, he carved out an upper-class neighborhood from
the site with Lafayette
bisecting eastern gardens from western homes. Wealthy
New Yorkers, including Astor and other members of the family, built
mansions along this central thoroughfare. Astor built the
Library in the eastern portion of the neighborhood as a
donation to the city. Architect Seth Geer
designed eye-catching row house
Terrace for the development, and the area became a
fashionable, upper-class residential district.
This location made the gardens accessible to the people of both the
Broadway and Bowery districts. In the summer of 1838, the owners
opened a saloon for the staging of vaudeville
comic operas. Later theatre managers
expanded the offerings to appeal to a wider range of patrons. By
1850, the rowdier crowds of the Bowery had mostly scared off the
upper classes, and revenues suffered. The theater buildings were
demolished in 1855, and the gardens closed for the last time in
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