Ivana Trump will party tonight with the elite from her native Czech Republic at the rechristening of Bohemian National Hall, which the Czech government purchased in 2001 from the Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association for a symbolic $1. The Czech government has since poured $45 million into rehabbing the historic building.
The five-story Upper East Side, more than century-old edifice, at 321 East 73rd Street, has served as a center for Czech and Slovak culture for decades, but had in recent years fallen into disrepair.
“It used to be one of the most popular places for Czechs and Slovaks in New York,” George Suchánek, owner of Astoria restuarant Zlatá Praha, told The Prague Post earlier this month. “I used to work there on and off. … There were wonderful, traditional events and plenty of famous people who visited.
The building now houses a 300-person ballroom, the Czech Consulate General, the Czech Center, the Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association, a 70-seat theater and a library. Soon, the building will also house an upscale Czech restaurant.
The full release is below:
New-York, NY (October 30) —-The rededication of the newly reconstructed landmark Bohemian National Hall today marks the re-inauguration of an iconic New York building that was built in the late 19th Century as the home for Czech culture on the Upper East Side. Our Guest of Honor this evening, Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Guillermo Linares, will dedicate the Bohemian National Hall. Some 400 guests, including Jiri Cunek, Czech Deputy Prime Minister, Petr Kolar, Czech Ambassador to the United States of America, members of the Czech Senate and Parliament, and other VIPs and dignitaries willattend this hallmark event. The evening will be hosted by Tomas Hanak, famousCzech movie star, voted by popular acclaim as the most handsome man in the Czech Republic.
"The new Bohemian National Hall represents the hope for greater cooperation between our country and the United States," says Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek."It is an important occasion for the Czech-American alliance and further underlines the significance of trans-Atlantic cooperation."
"We are proud of the reopening of this dazzling New York City building. Most importantly, we welcome back the friendly voice of the Czech Republic.This is a community that has played a role far beyond its numbers in our city’s history. We look forward to a bright future of great cultural performances and exhibitions in the Czech Center’s beautiful new home," says Guillermo Linares, the Immigrant Affairs Commissioner in the New York City Mayor’s Office..
"Our predecessors have worked for more than 100 years to spread the word across the United States about the great cultural traditions of the Czech Republic. For their work, efforts and devotion, I thank them and pay my respects to them," said Karel Schwarzenberg, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. "Our beautiful country in the center of Europe deserves to have its proper place in the New York cultural landscape."
Milos Forman, at a recent Directors Guild Award reception emphasizing theimportance of cultural preservation, commented: "Because we did notsucceed in saving Dvorak’s house (which is now part of Beth Israel Hospital), the BohemianNational Hall should represent Czech Culture."
"Bohemian National Hall is a symbol of the constructive efforts of our ancestors here in America and our humble attempts to remain connected to them," comments Petr Kolar, Czech Ambassador to the United States of America. "Let this building be more than just a home; let it be an exceptional place for all Czechs and their friends here in the United States."
An evening-long celebration "by invitation only" today at 6:30 pm @321-325 East 73rd Street, between 1st and 2nd avenues, New York City will begin with the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Some of the Czech’s biggest names will take part in today’s and Saturday, November 1st events. They include singers Iva Bittova and Sona Cervena, dance choreographer Michal Caban and the best bandmusic compiled by Camael.
Guests will walk through a groundbreaking exhibition entitled "Check Places and Memory Traces. The Bohemian National Hall and other stories. "The exhibition offers a selection of compelling portraits of Czech immigrants, as well as photographs depicting the rise and fall of Manhattan’s Bohemian neighborhood. From here, the tour continues to another exhibition "One of us" devoted to the Czech political prisoners of the 1950`s. The program also features a short film screening.
Other entertainment will include live band music and a cocktail reception. The festivities continue on Saturday, November 1st with a joyous extended celebration of Czech/American friendship. Guests will enjoy dancing, singing, eating, watching and learning.
The event on November 1st is free and open to public. For detailed information, please call 646-422-3399, or visit our website at http://www.czechcenter.com
The newly renovated five-story building, which initially was called Narodnibudova (National building), has a multi-purpose ballroom that can hold 300 people, and includes more than 32,000 square feet of new space. The magnificent ballroom is suitable for ballroom dancing, weddings, corporate events, conferences, movie productions and photo shoots. The Bohemian National Hall houses the offices of the Czech Consulate General and the Czech Center, as well as the Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association (BBLA). Other features include a 70-seat state-of-the-art theater, a library with a fine collection focusing on history, art and literature (in the Czech, Slovak and English languages). Additionally, an upscale, full service, restaurant/lounge featuring Czech cuisine, is soon to come.
Since 1895, the Bohemian National Hall was the main cultural reflection and gathering place of choice for Eastern European immigrants in New York. The building itself was oftendescribed as "a hidden gem of Manhattan"or " the Waldorf -Astoria of the Upper East Side." This important voice in theneighborhood has been largely silent for the last 40 years, due to lack ofmoney for maintaining the building and diminished popularity among the younggeneration as people lost touch with their traditions during the 1960s, a timeof tremendous social ferment in America. Since 2001, when the Czech governmenttook over ownership of the building, more than $45 million dollars has been investedin its refurbishment and renovation. It is now in glorious shape to serve the Czech Center’smission of re-introducing the greatness of Czech culture and artistry to New York audiences.
"Construction has ended, and now the Czech spirit will be brought back tolife"comments Marcel Sauer, a newly appointed director of the Czech CenterNew York."Our mission is to disseminate knowledge to New Yorkers who want toappreciate and understand different cultures, perspectives and worldissues."
The events have been created and sponsored by the Czech Center New Yorkin cooperation with the Czech Consulate General New York. It is supported in part by theCzech Government and BBLA.