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re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?

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RentBoy86
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Everytime I walk through Times Square and the Theater District I can't help looking at all the buildings and thinking which ones use to be theaters but are now used for other things. Obviously the Times Square Church use to be a theater, but what else? I don't mean ones that are torn down, but the ones that still have the existing facades, etc. Did the Hard Rock Cafe use to be a theater? Or the AMC Theaters?
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Smaxie
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The AMC building was the Eltinge - the only Broadway theatre named for a female impersonator (Julian Eltinge)! It later was a movie theatre called the Empire. The facade was beautifully restored, but the interior was pretty much stripped down of most of its detail work.




The Times Square Theatre, also on 42nd Street, is supposed to be becoming an Ecko store, but nothing much seems to be happening with that project.



There is a red brick building on 41st Street. That's the back of the Liberty Theatre. The Liberty's auditorium is still standing and is hidden behind a wall in the Applebee's complex, when you exit the AMC theatres.



The Hudson on 44th Street has been beautifully restored, but is part of the Millenium Broadway hotel.



The building where the Hard Rock Cafe is once housed the Paramount, a very large, very grand movie/concert venue. That marquee for the Hard Rock is a facsimile of the original.




The Ed Sullivan Theatre was briefly a Broadway theatre called Hammerstein's (for Oscar I, grandfather of the lyricist, Oscar II).



Downstairs at the Paramount Hotel on 46th Street, I think the remains of Billy Rose's Diamond Horseshoe may still be around. It was a nightclub, but also a small Broadway theatre called the Century which was used in the 1970s and early 80s.




The Supper Club, which I think is now called the Edison Ballroom, was the Edison Theatre for many years. It spent most of its Broadway career housing Oh, Calcutta!, but it had a few other mostly unsuccessful shows.



The Lamb's Theatre, a beautiful little theatre on 44th Street, was a very much in demand Off-Broadway house, but as Off-Broadway failed, that building has been stripped and is being converted into a boutique hotel.
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Updated On: 11/17/08 at 09:05 PM
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scaryclowns223
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What is now Toys R Us used to be Criterion Center- where a ton of great shows (and Roundabout shows) played.
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RentBoy86
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Oh, i've seen the Edison Ballroom, never know that though! Thanks Smaxie. I love that set-up. What a great venue for a Cabaret revival.
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amoni
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The Roxie Deli is the lobby of a movie theater that was called The New Forum 47th St, then later christened Movieland. This is where ET played Times Square for a year. The auditorium was Club USA for a few years.


http://gallery.bustalk.info/displayimage.php?pos=-10175
Smaxie Profile Photo
Smaxie
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In addition to its life as a movie theatre, that Roxy/Club USA space had been a Broadway theatre called the Central. It only spent about 16 years as a Broadway theatre, but at the time it was sold in 1988, it was owned by the Shubert Organization. I don't know why, with its great location, it didn't become a Broadway theatre again. At any rate, the auditorium was demolished.

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WestVillage
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Wasn't the Rialto Theatre, where Marlowe played, on the site where Hard Rock Cafe is now?
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Smaxie
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No. The Rialto was between 42nd and 43rd Streets. Hard Rock/Paramount Building is between 43rd and 44th Streets.
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TheActr97J
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I'd give anything to get a peek inside the Liberty's auditorium!
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Paul W. Thompson
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The Times Square Information Center on the east side of Times (Duffy) Square clearly was a theater at one time.
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Smaxie
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It was a movie theatre, called the Embassy. I was just sticking to buildings that were legit theatres.
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WOSQ
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There is the last movie palace in Times Square in the building at 7th Ave and 47th Street, NE corner. The entrance is/was on 7th. Previously this was used as a movie theatre (in the 60s as a hard ticket house called the DeMille and later as the Embassy 2-3-4). I think it shut up shop maybe 10 years ago and sits there. It always smelled of mildew.

Inside the orchestra has been partially taken up by restaurant space and what is left of the theatre has been divided into three. The balcony was spilt in two and each half was a very long, very narrow moviehouse. The orchestra or what was left of it, is wider than it is deep, but it looks like there was a full stage house intact although probably with a very limited fly system by the time it closed.

The 3000+ seat Paramount Theatre had its entrance where the Hard Rock's marquee is now. In the 60s this theatre became untenable and the interior was converted to office space. I don't think the Paramount Theatre was ever used as a legit house, but it probably housed vaudeville in its day in addition to Sinatra et al in the 40s.

The building, 1501 Broadway, was the world headquarters for Paramount Pictures into the early 70s and is often refered to even now as the Paramount building.

The Rialto Theatre where Marlowe played is no more It was on 7th Ave between 42nd and 43rd and was demolished for the Reuters Building. This was barely a legit house. I think it was built as a movie theatre and there was no fly system.

Most remnants of theatres have come down in the last 20 years or so.
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wicked_beast4
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I would also LOVE to see the Liberty. It sounds so mysterious, the gigantic theatre hidden behind the wall.
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PalJoey
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And I'd love to see some cabaret at Billy Rose's Diamond Horseshoe.
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cello_dude
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There were some pictures of the Liberty interior in it's current state. I found them online a few years ago but I cant find them any more. They were very green and there were pics of the boxes and the torn seats. If anyone saved these pics they would be great to see
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cello_dude
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Updated On: 11/18/08 at 02:36 PM
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EponineAmneris
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VERY interesting

smaxie, you are amazing. Such a wealth of information. You make me happy
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TheaterBoy7777
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I am very intrigued by the Liberty and decided to do some google research. I have found some pictures that are apparently the current state of the inside of the Liberty. This site(below) said that you could still access the theater through the Hilton Hotel but a NYT article says through Applebees. I think I might take a trip downtown and check it out myself tommorow. Also I thought it was cool you can see the back of the theater from 41st St. Sorry I couldnt figure out how to directly post onto the page so I did links... Sorry I went a little link crazy

Pictures of the inside of the Liberty
http://www.flickr.com/photos/10862573@N05/3043335296/in/photostream/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/10862573@N05/3043335230/in/photostream/

Back of the theater from 41st
http://www.flickr.com/photos/10862573@N05/3042495687/in/photostream/

Also here is a recent picture of the Times Square Theater
http://www.flickr.com/photos/10862573@N05/3042495729/in/photostream/

Theres some great info or speculation on the liberty here:
http://cinematreasures.org/theater/2661/
Also check out this 2003 NYT article
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C06EEDA173CF930A35753C1A9659C8B63
Also layout of 42nd st
http://newvictory.org/user_documents/2008/07%2042nd%20Street%20Map.pdf
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songanddanceman2
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Smaxie as always you are a legend, the posts about this stuff fascinates me and you are always the one to come up with the goods

And theatreboy7777, thanks so much for the brilliant pics
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Drunk Chita Rivera
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Does anyone know if John's Pizza used to be a theater (on 44th next to the St James) because I was in there the other day and I sat up stairs in and it looks exactly like a theater. Does anyone know anything about that?
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Mr Roxy
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The Times Square Church started out as Warners Hollywood & than became the Mark Hellinger. Its original entrance was on 7 Ave

It was designed by Thomas Lamb who did the Embassy, Loews Capitol & State, Mark Strand & the Rivoli .

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Updated On: 11/14/10 at 07:18 AM
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Smaxie
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John's Pizza was a church.
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Smaxie
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Here are some current shots of the Hudson Theatre. Again, it's now used by the Millenium Broadway Hotel for conferences and weddings. But it's a beautiful house.

Auditorium
http://virtualtours.millenniumhotels.com/50337/stills.htm?id=238352&id_type=2&locale=1&container=15&package=702&show=0&sizedFrame

Lobby/Box Office
http://virtualtours.millenniumhotels.com/50337/stills.htm?id=238355&id_type=2&locale=1&container=15&package=702&show=0&sizedFrame
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Updated On: 11/19/08 at 07:50 AM
WOSQ
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joined:7/18/03
There is a large-size book called Lost Broadway Theatres that has photos of theatres that have been torn down or otherwise destroyed. It is worth a look-for.

Try the Strand (12th & Bway) or www.abebooks.com.

The parking garage next to the Imperial for instance. If you know this used to have a theatre on it, you'll see that the size of the lot is the size of a theatre.
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Neverandy
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this is my new favorite thread!
Other than that, did you enjoy the play Mrs Lincoln?

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