Could culture make people puke?

Manhattan Travel Blog

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Today we had another concert with my orchestra, the Downtown Symphony Orchestra. The concerts are always played in the beautiful theatre 1 of the Tribeca Performing Arts Center. Theatre 1 is a really huge venue, and although the stage is beautiful I personally think it is way too big for the limited audience we get for our concerts.

This time theatre 1 was not available so we were put up in theatre 2, a much smaller but also a cozier location. I liked it. We had a very short program since the main piece, the Brahms Double concerto, had been canceled due to the fact that one of the soloists had to leave for a family emergency. It was my first concert with DSO with someone in the audience I knew. Esther Nass, who was in New York for a small week came over to listen.

As I said, I liked the theatre 2, there is only one thing that looked odd, a very strange sign at the entrance of the theatre.

It was labeled "Vomitory". For me with my limited English vocabulary I had only one association. And I could not imagine that our music would be that bad that the whole audience would throw up.

Esther and some of my fellow, native speaker, orchestra colleagues had the same association by the way. The word does, however, exist and has a normal significance. This is what Merriam-Webster says about it: 

Definition of VOMITORY
: An entrance piercing the banks of seats of a theater, amphitheater, or stadium
Origin of VOMITORY: Late Latin vomitorium, from Latin vomere; from its disgorging the spectators

First Known Use: 1730 

So, in the end still a respectable word...

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