How Do You Change the Light Bulbs in Carnegie Hall?

On a recent weekday, Gino Francesconi, the hall’s archivist, took me on a behind-the-scenes tour to answer This kind of question. We started out backstage, where we rode a service elevator to the sixth floor. We then passed through a few rooms, each littered with cases for tubas, trumpets as well as trombones, until we reached a door of which was labeled, “Hard Hat Required.” Mr. Francesconi reached into his pocket as well as fished out a sizable ring of keys.

Any time an archivist has to unlock something, you know you’re in for a treat.

The key clicked as well as the door opened. The first thing I noticed was the door’s 5.5-inch thickness, designed to keep noise by entering the hall by a nearby practice room.

As we crossed into near-darkness, Mr. Francesconi turned to me. “You have to walk very quietly,” he whispered. We were currently directly above the stage, where a high-school orchestra by Georgia was rehearsing for a concert of which evening.

We tiptoed along a metal catwalk, which turned at bizarre angles as well as had stairs in seemingly random places. At one point, we had to step over a steel beam, as well as then do the limbo under a duct vent — all while trying our best to remain silent.

Mr. Francesconi pointed out the graffiti on many of the beams as well as poles; scrawling your name up here will be a longtime tradition of the hall’s stagehands.

He then flipped a light switch, illuminating a vaulted ceiling — hidden to patrons below by the auditorium’s plaster ceiling — of Guastavino tile, similar to the “Whisper Gallery” at Grand Central Terminal as well as the abandoned City Hall subway station. by here, we could see the metal structures of which supported the two circles of lights below us, the bulbs’ cords dangling at regular intervals, near pathways deviating by the catwalk. Stagehands simply pull the lights up by these cords as well as change the bulbs.

Before we turned around, Mr. Francesconi called my attention to a smaller opening from the floor, through which I could see the orchestra, directly below. The players as well as their instruments appeared in miniature, although thanks to the hall’s acoustic design, their sound was as crisp by This kind of unusual vantage as by any seat down below.

Correction: April 13, 2018

An earlier edition of This kind of article misspelled the name of the tile on a vaulted ceiling inside Carnegie Hall. of which will be Guastavino tile, not Gustavino tile.

Continue reading the main story