Friday, August 26, 2011

 This Broadway and 99th looking east. This picture was taken prior to 1933.

 The late 19th century apartment building is gone and so soon shall be the one story structure on the corner. Again this is prior to 1933 and there is probably some activity in the void left by the demolished apartment building.

 The Midtown Theater opens in 1933. It is designed by the firm Boak & Paris who designed the beautiful 315 Riverside Drive on 104th street. It is not a large house, only 480 seats. It is a first run house.

 This is the Midtown Theater of the 1970's. It had been an art house before this.

This is a view of Broadway and 110th street around 1939. There is a downtown 5th Avenue Bus Company double decker heading east. The bus came down Riverside Drive then across 110th street to 5th Avenue. It is now the number 4 bus.

110th Street in the late 19th century was referred to as "Little Coney Island" due to the number of bars and entertainment venues surrounding this intersection. Given it's proximity to what would be the new campus for Columbia University, a new subway that was going to open in the early 20th century sparking development in this neighborhood known as Morningside Heights and as a connector street between Central Park and Riverside Drive and Park, this nice wide street was a likely place for commercial and entertainment development.

This is the Nemo Theater. It was built in the shell of the Lion Music Hall, a large beer garden restaurant. It was a redesign of a space done by none other than Thomas Lamb. There is the man in the hat again.

The Nemo opened in 1919 and was originally a Fox theatre with a seating capacity of just over 900. On May 2, 1926, the Nemo presented the first public demonstration of Fox's new "Movietone" sound system, though the program consisted only of short films. The Nemo closed in 1963 and was converted into a Daitch Shopwell which subsequently became a D'Agastino. The building came down and by 2003 the new building with a new D'Agastino opened.
 This is the Carlton Theater. The building was put up in 1912 as the Riverview Theater, the final project of the builder of the Ansonia apartments, W. E. D. Stokes. William Earle Dodge Stokes was born in 1852 into the incredibly wealthy Phelps Dodge family. But in the early 1880's he left the family mining business and began developing real estate on the Upper West Side.
After building several rows of townhouses, Stokes embarked on the development of one of New York's signature landmarks, the Ansonia Hotel, on Broadway from 73rd to 74th Street. He listed himself as "architect in chief" when he filed the plans at the Department of Buildings in 1897, but he was working with the French-born designer Paul Duboy.
Opened in 1903, the $3 million Ansonia had 350 suites with several restaurants, a bank, a barbershop, a ballroom, a swimming pool and full hotel services, along with an imposing Parisian-style facade of turrets and balconies. Part of the wave of theater construction at that time, the Riverview Theater was his final project.
The Theater became The Carlton Ballroom and then a Red Apple Supermarket in 1980. It eventually became a Gristedes then became one of the few one story structures to collapse during demolition ever (someone parked a bulldozer on top of the partially demolished structure). The picture playing is Babes In Arms starring Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney.

 This is the Arden Theater on Columbus Avenue and 103rd Street. That is the 9th avenue el overhead with the 104th street station visible on the right and the Ye Old Log Cabin Bar & Grill on the left. Seating just under 600, the theater opened as a second run house in 1934. It was gone by the mid 50's as demolition for the Douglas Houses began.

 This is the long lost and long missed Loew's 83rd Street. It is 1939 and the picture playing is The Women. The theater opened on September 26, 1921, with vaudeville and a feature movie combination. Designed by Thomas Lamb, the theater was very similar to the larger Loew's State, which opened on August 9th,1921. The State had a larger and more elaborate lobby due to its prime location on Broadway in the heart of the Times Square area.
This palace was first cut up int a "triplex", then a quad. The seats were never re-angled, left in their original single screen position so you always sat at a slight angle from the screen. Until it was cut up into a quad the entire balcony was the third theater in the triplex era. You had a view of the intact auditorium and it's box seats from the balcony. Just before it was torn down I was fortunate enough to get a tour of the remains on the orchestra section and the stage. Everything in front of the wall they had put into make it a quad was intact, however the boxes had been removed. The orchestra pit had been covered up long ago. The pin rail was intact as was a white grand piano sitting in the middle of the stage. On the stage left wall there were windows looking into a stair case that went up at least 4 floors This was the stairs to the dressing rooms.

This is the organ from Loew's 83rd. I am not sure if this is a Wurlitzer or a Robert Morton. By the way, I should explain who the man in the hat is. These pictures are from a collection of pictures that the City of New York had taken of every building in the city. The City had gotten some WPA money for an art project so out of work photographers were hired to go around and collect the images. the numbers on the tripod refer to block and lot numbers.