Big Ideas, Small Spaces

Chautauqua Institution wants to tear town its historic Victorian Amphitheater to build something larger.

This is an over 150 year-old institution. I sang there at age eight in a state choir championship. We came in second with Panis Angelicus. My father was the Institution’s President from 1978-1985.

Now, the Institution has raised prices that keep rural neighbors out, and are trying to make it their own Disney place with only rich people allowed.

FDR made his I Hate War speech at the Miller (one of the founders) cottage. There are many ideas and speeches and concerts that can be in a smaller space and not spend $35 million to gain 300 seats and eviscerate an historic space.

The Chautauqua Amphitheater is on the NY State list of historic places. Look at what was done years ago for the Athaneaum Hotel, the largest wood structure in the USA. It is gorgeous.

Chautauqua is supposed to be about history, but most of all, ideas. We are about to lose both. Uncomfortable seating and structural poles are Chautauqua. So would have been school teachers from Yonkers yelling “Louda” which means louder in English, before they were priced out of their hotels.

Sometimes history and ideas make the grade. This time, it looks like they will lose this battle with spoiled rich people. Unhappily, Dee

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