In 1880, dissatisfied with the location and seating capacity of the 1854 Academy of Music opera house near Union Square, a group of wealthy businessmen opted to build their own. In all, 70 shareholders provided the $1.7 million required to buy the land and build the opera house at 39th and Broadway1.
1. Ed Dinger. "The Metropolitan Opera" [http://www.answers.com/topic/metropolitan-opera] Accessed: June 29, 2009
The Broadway Theater District originated in the early 1900s as theaters began to move from Union Square and Madison Square Garden further uptown to the Times Square area because of its cheaper real estate. Two of the earliest Broadway theaters, New Amsterdam and Lyceum, were built in 1903. The Lyceum Theater was designed in a Beaux Arts style by Herts and Tallant1.
1. Staff. "Lyceum Theatre New York City Landmarks Designation Report." November 26, 1974.