Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Demolitions Lower East Side

Two closed movie theatres, associated with pioneer exhibitor Charles Steiner, were demolished in 2019.

Operating until recently, the popular Sunshine drew the most attention in the local press and on social media.


Sunshine, 143 E. Houston Street, NYC (1940 tax photo)



Closed originally in 1945, it was used as a warehouse by a local hardware business, reopening as a cinema in 2001.  

New York Yimpy April 7, 2019:
"Facing an imminent rent hike, art-house theater Sunshine Cinema closed last year after failing to obtain a liquor license from the neighborhood in efforts to compete with the wave of full-service theaters. The 100-year-old building sold for $31.5 million to East End Capital  and K Property group."



American, 238-240 East Third Street, NYC (1940 tax photo)

Constructed in 1913, the American was designed by Louis Sheinart, an architect responsible for many of the movie theatres that dotted the Lower East Side in the early 20th century.

In the Jewish Daily Forward, April 11, 1914, Charles Steiner advertise his new cinema as "positively the most beautiful, richest on the East Side."

 In a note of safety he added "all seats are downstairs near an exit,"  a reference to an incident at his Houston Hippodrome on February 2, 1913 when a cry of "fire" created a panic leaving two persons crushed to death and eleven severely injured. The Hippodrome would eventually be demolished and replaced by the Sunshine in 1917.


The American acquired by La MaMa as a children's theatre in June 1971 with a seating capacity of 277. A decade later it had become an "adult physical culture establishment."

Theatre Week, Volume 8, 1995:
"The Cucaracha Theater, now settled in its new home (240 East 3rd Street)

The building finally purchased by Chris Wink and Philip Stanton, founders of Blue Man Group, for use as a practice facility.

The Real Deal, Christian Bautista, April 30, 2018:
"The Blue Man Group sold its production studio in the East Village to Craftwood Partners for $12 million. The property, at 238-240 East 3rd Street, offers 21,004 buildable square feet. Craftwood plans to demolish the vacant site and build a condominium tower with a mix of two-and-three bedroom units."

The American demolished May 2019.


Demolition of the Sunshine, July 2019 (Photo: Betty Sword)




Since 1997 theatre historian, Cezar Del Valle, has conducted a popular series of theatre talks and walks, available for historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.


Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres.


The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.


Editing and updating the third edition of the Brooklyn Theatre Index.


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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Regal Essex 14 & RPX

The Lower East Side has a new 14-screen multiplex. Opened April 6, 2019, at 129 Delancey Street, the Regal Essex 14 &  RPX is part of Essex Crossings, a mix-use development in the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area









And from the windows of the new a glimpse of the old--remains of the Loew's Delancey (1912-1976):







Since 1997 theatre historian, Cezar Del Valle, has conducted a popular series of theatre talks and walks, available for historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.


Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres.


The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.


Editing and updating the third edition of the Brooklyn Theatre Index.


AboutMe


Goodreads

Medotcom 

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

John Street Theatre, New York

Theatre Magazine, September, 1902:

"The John Street Theatre, on the northerly side of John Street, was opened by Mr. [David] Douglas on December 7, 1767, with 'The Stratagem' and 'Lethe.' For many years this was the principal place of amusement in the city."





 One of the oldest objects in the Museum of the City of New York's theatre collection is a theatrical broadside for a performance of The Merchant of Venice at the John Street Theatre on Wednesday, November 30, 1785.




The theatre produced what is considered to be America's earliest musical - The Archers (subtitled 'The Mountaineers of Switzerland'), written by William Dunlap and Benjamin Carr. Based on the legend of William Tell, it ran for three performances--April 18-22, 1796.

With the city's growing prestige, the wealthy wanted to expand stage performance beyond the John Street Theatre which now appeared shabby and run down. . 

"Then, as the new century dawned, came new theatres, new players and new methods. The Park Theatre, which stood in Park Row, about two hundred feet east of Ann Street, was opened on January 29, 1798 and was long the fashionable place of amusement." [Theatre Magazine, September 1902]

The last production, at the John Street, took place on January 13, 1798, with its resident company moving to the new Park.

Briefly used by a neighboring grain and hay store, the John Street Theatre was demolished in late 1798.

The site,15-21 John Street, currently occupied by Brasserie Les Halles and a Duane Reade pharmacy.




Since 1997 theatre historian, Cezar Del Valle, has conducted a popular series of theatre talks and walks, available for historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.


Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres.


The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.


Editing and updating the third edition of the Brooklyn Theatre Index.


AboutMe


Goodreads

Medotcom





   

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Elegy in Manhattan

Photo by Mishkin, New York


Drawing inspiration from Spoon River AnthologyGeorge Jessel wrote Elegy in Manhattan, transforming Edgar Lee Master's fictional village into the real world of New York entertainment.

"The confiding thoughts of fifty-six glittering guys and gals who once walked the streets of the Big Town."










As in Spoon River, the first poem serves as an introduction:

"Where are Joe and Lew;
Sam Bernard, Foy, Hitchy;

Nat C. Goodwin, and all his lovely wives;
'Terrible Terry,' 'Big John L';
The Frohman brothers, Charles and Dan;
The Shuberts, Lee and Sam?

"Nearly all are resting on
the banks of Manhattan,
Dreaming of how Lillian Russell
looked that New Year's Eve at Delmonico's,
of what Al Smith said
to Murphy that morning in Tammany Hall, 
of what Teddy R. said
at Union Square of young Cohan's 'Waving the Flag,'
and of 'dashing Jimmy'
the Mayor.

"Nearly all are resting on the banks of the Manhattan." 

 





On Amazon
















Since 1997 theatre historian,  Cezar Del Valle, has conducted a popular series of  theatre talks and walks, available for  historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.
Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres.
The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.
Editing and updating the third edition of the Brooklyn Theatre Index.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

A Yankee Circus on Mars Opens the Hippodrome


Hippodrome Theatre

1120 6th Avenue,
 New York, NY


Built and operated by Fred Thompson & Skip Dundy, the Hippodrome opened on April 12, 1905 with “A Yankee Circus on Mars”.

Theatre Magazine, June 1905:




"The Hippodrome stage is the largest in the world, and only a faint idea of its real size is conveyed by these pictures. It is 110 feet deep and 200 feet wide, and 500 actors can appear on it with ease. The massive scenery, some of which weighs as much as 10 tons, is picked up bodily by a system of electric cranes which convey the pieces to and fro with no apparent effort."

"After the spectacular piece 'A Yankee Circus on Mars' comes an aquatic performance. The platform sinks in and the stage is transformed into a vast tank filled with water through which 'The Raiders' make their sensational plunge. The reservoir is 12 feet deep, and presents a realistic picture of a mountain torrent."

Hippodrome Theatre

The Lost 1905 New York Hippodrome



Since 1997 theatre historian,  Cezar Del Valle, has conducted a popular series of  theatre talks and walks, available for  historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.
Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres.
The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.
Editing and updating the third edition of the Brooklyn Theatre Index.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Funding Brooklyn Theatre Index Volume I

Staff at the Theatre Historical Society of America enjoying some light reading (2014)

Currently seeking funding for the editing and formatting of the

Brooklyn Theatre Index, Volume I, Third Edition

Adams Street to Flatbush Avenue Extension


For additional information or to make a contribution:

theatretalks at gmail.com



Since 1997 theatre historian,  Cezar Del Valle, has conducted a popular series of  theatre talks and walks, available for  historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.
Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres.
The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.
Editing and updating the third edition of the Brooklyn Theatre Index.





Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Ask the Experts, August 25

Coney Island USA Events

Saturday, August 25, 2018- 5:00 pm

Ask The Experts: Cezar Del Valle

 Coney Island Goes to the Movies






Included with Museum Admission. $5 for Adults, $3 for Seniors, Kids (under 12)
 and residents of  Zip Code 11224, at the door.

Free for Members of Coney Island USA!

As the interior of the Shore Theatre faces demolition,
 Cezar Del Valle returns to Coney Island USA.

 With the emphasis on the Shore, he will explore the history of movie going and film making at Coney Island. 

Naturally vaudeville and freak shows will not be totally ignored.



Cezar Del Valle is available for theatre walks and talks 2018-2019





Since 1997 theatre historian,  Cezar Del Valle, has conducted a popular series of  theatre talks and walks, available for  historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.
Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres.
The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.
Editing and updating the third edition of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, Volume I.