Variety Theatre

110 Third Avenue,
New York, NY 10003

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Showing 1 - 25 of 72 comments

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 29, 2013 at 7:04 pm

Here’s a direct link to Uwe’s most excellent series of images. Thank you, sir, for documenting this historic building just before it would have been too late!

robboehm on May 27, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Can you get the photos on this site. Flickr accounts tend to be unavailable in time.

Uwe_Friedrich on May 27, 2013 at 8:50 am

He guys, found your wonderfull web site. Stayed in NYC from 1989 until 1991. One day on my way to work I have got the chance to take a couple of picturs from the inside of »Variety Photo Play« at 110 Third Avenue – before they reopend. You can see the pictures (album) on my »Flickr account«, look for »friedrich_berlin«. Best wishes from Berlin town, Uwe.

cblog on November 5, 2012 at 2:53 am

I never went to this theater, but remember looking in the open door of the old man’s bar next door, complete with old men’s old dogs asleep next to their bar stools. Probably could get a short beer for fifteen cents.

AlAlvarez on September 18, 2012 at 8:27 am

The Variety stopped showing films in the fall of 1989.

AlAlvarez on March 25, 2011 at 7:14 pm

I think that was the Bleecker Street in DSS.

celaniasdawn on March 25, 2011 at 5:49 pm

In the Madonna film Desperately Seeking Susan, there are several shots of the theater, including a interior scene of the auditorium. I don’t know if the interior was the actual theater, but from what you could see, it looked very old, with very plain walls.

artpf on December 13, 2009 at 4:28 pm

In the early 80s this theatre would alternate between XXX and bizarre regular movies (mostly horror or westerns that you never ever heard of).

I remember watching one horror flic and 45 minutes in, it suddenly turned into another movie! The producers just edited a different film onto the ending!

The place stunk of cigars and the guy who took your tickets had a giant motorcycle chain across his chest!

The oddest thing I remember was just before the movie started women would walk down the aisles saying “last chance” and old codgers would get up and go out with them through one of two exit doors on either side of the screen!

AlAlvarez on November 12, 2009 at 7:31 am

There was a STAR THEATRE at 136 Third Avenue in the mid thirties, early forties. Does anyone have any info on that one?

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on June 6, 2009 at 8:41 am

Here’s a new link to the vintage photo, whixh was snapped when the Third Avenue El was still operating. The Variety’s marquee can be seen to the left of the supporting pillars: View link

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on June 6, 2009 at 7:13 am

Sorry. If you contact me privately, I can send you a copy of the photo as an attachment:

robboehm on June 5, 2009 at 6:06 pm

Warren, I can’t open this photo, is the problem at my end? I used to work in the Gramercy Park area and often took a lunchtime stroll past the Variety. It was certainly vintage. The only time I was actually inside was for an off-Broadway performance of, I think, Annie Warbucks. No real memory of the interior – not as impressive as the exterior.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on June 5, 2009 at 1:50 pm

A vintage Library of Congress photo can be found here: View link

theatrelvr on September 28, 2008 at 11:45 pm

I remember seeing the first off-broadway play that came to Variety in late 80s/90s. Also saw another play and saw Mike Nichols/Diane Sawyer sitting in front of me. This was a theater with charm and personality. Charm and personality are foreign concepts in today’s NYC.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 14, 2008 at 7:29 am

A photo of the Variety Theatre and the building that replaced it can be seen here:

esheinart on May 15, 2008 at 8:24 pm

Louis Sheinart, the architect of the Variety, was my great, great (maybe one more great?) uncle. I used to pass by the Variety many times when I attended the OLD Stuyvesant High School at 16th Street and 1st Avenue in the mid 1980s. Little did I know until many years later, that there was a family connection! Louis also designed several other theaters listed on this site. Unfortunately my family knows little about him, such as where he studied architecture, etc. If anyone has more information, it would be greatly appreciated! Thank you for the nice photographs and comments. I know Louis would have been proud! esheinart

Profjoe on November 28, 2007 at 2:50 pm

NYU is NOT a University. It is a real estate investment firm, of some sort. This has been true since the sixties.

As a former student then adjunct lecturer I can tell you for a fact that there is no amount of money on the planet that would let me permit any child of mine to attend it.

Furthermore, since the real estate industry is in bed with the press there is little hope of even hearing about such atrocities as the tearing down of the old Academy, Luchow’s, or the Variety.

Unless you are all willing to “take it to the streets” and fight what’s happening, it will get worse. Although I don’t know what’s left for them to destroy.

JenniferN79 on October 25, 2007 at 8:09 pm

I was looking through the collection of “New York” periodicals from 1979 in my college library. At that time their was a column called “Page of Lists” and in one issue it was devoted to the longest running movie theaters. This theater was 1st on the list!

Bloop on July 2, 2007 at 10:57 pm

I agree 100% with the above poster “Irv"
NYC now feels like Aaron Spelling had just dumped off thousands of his kids that just came into their trust funds…and the money is burning a hole in their pockets…. totally creepy!

br91975 on November 16, 2006 at 8:44 am

After a long delay, construction on the ghastly apartment tower (ghastly for those who consider what happened to the Variety Theatre, in the name of creating space for yet another ‘whatever’ luxury living monolith) resumed about 2-3 weeks ago.

AlexNYC on October 6, 2006 at 3:47 pm

Just an update, they are building a huge monstrosity on the old Variety Theatre site, 20 stories high, probably another NYU dorm building. Last week there was a huge crane accident, they closed off the surrounding streets around 13 Street & 3rd Avenue, took a couple of days until they removed the all the dangers. I don’t believe anybody was seriously hurt though. What a drastic change to the neighborhood, so sad.

AlAlvarez on May 3, 2006 at 1:45 pm

Hardbop, the Universal is listed here as MUSIC PALACE.

hardbop on May 3, 2006 at 12:54 pm

You know I had the same reaction yesterday as I was walking to Loew’s Village East to catch a film in the Tribeca Film Festival and noticed a hole in the ground where the Variety Arts Theatre used to be. I said to myself “was the VAT here or was it on Second Avenue?” Right next door is a Mission and there is a “Jesus Saves” sign on the facade. I guess he couldn’t save the VAT.

Now, here is a question for our mavens. Right before I went to the LVE I caught a documentary that the Tribeca FF screened at the Jewish Heritage Museum in Tribeca called ON THE BOWERY that has recently been restored in Italy. The doc was riveting and there was all this on-location photography of the bars, flop houses and general seediness under the old Third Avenue El. It is beyond belief to watch this and compare it to what the area looks like today with luxury condos built on site of flophouses.

The date of the doc was 1957, but it had to have been shot well before that because I thought the Third Avenue El came down earlier than 1957 but there is a shot of what looked like a theatre on the Bowery, under the El. The front, what looked like a marquee, said “Universal Photoplay.” I didn’t see it listed here under that name so it is possible it is listed, but under another name. It looked like the Variety Arts Theatre, but I didn’t know skid row went all the way up to 14th St. The El must have gone right by Variety Arts so who knows? But there was a theatre or something that looked like a theatre on the Bowery under the El called “Universal Photoplay.”

markane on April 25, 2006 at 5:54 am

To finalize this, the building next door (home to John Belushi, when he first arrived in NYC)was torn down as well.

A 21 story condominium is in the process of being built on the site. One bedroom condos start at $850,000.00.

The neighborhood is not changing, it’s over.

Nadjariley on April 5, 2006 at 9:00 pm

Hi—I’m doing research on Rat Subterranean News for an article I’m writing on underground press. I noticed that a couple of you mentioned it in your comments (Chelydra and Skank Dude)—I was wondering if you’d be willing to answer a few questions about the paper. Please contact me if so. Thank you.