New Amsterdam Theatre

214 West 42nd Street,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 251 - 260 of 260 comments

DonRosen
DonRosen on December 13, 2004 at 11:13 am

There was a Sam Elliot film (it began with an “S”, I can’t remember the name) where they show the verticle New Amsterdam sign crash onto 42nd Street. How did they do it?

42ndStreetMemories
42ndStreetMemories on July 17, 2004 at 2:31 pm

In the 50s & 60s, the New Amsterdam & The Lyric on the north side of the street were the only two showing first-run fare (usually following their Broadway debuts). They would show the same double features as the RKO & Loew’s chains but at discounted prices. Beautiful, beautiful theater and I was delighted to see Lion King there, thirty years after my last visit. Jerry the K

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on July 1, 2004 at 10:14 am

In New York City, the Regent, Strand, Rialto, and Rivoli pre-dated the Capitol as purpose-built “movie palaces.” There might have been others as well. And that’s just in NYC. I can’t speak for the rest of the nation.

JimRankin
JimRankin on July 1, 2004 at 9:40 am

The NEW AMSTERDAM theatre is one of the finest theatres in the nation, and we are blessed that the Disney organization performed a remarkable restoration of this beauty for us all, but in one quarter it has been labeled as the first Movie Palace, and that is simply not true. In the VHS video “America’s Castles: Movie Palaces” produced in the year 2000, detailed at Amazon.com: (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0767015363/qid%3D1088697989/sr%3D11-1/ref%3Dsr%5F11%5F1/002-8565079-4721607), several theatres are shown as examples of the American movie palace, and the impression is given that it was the NEW AMSTERDAM that was the first. Contrary to this idea (which suited the aims of the producers of this originally cable-TV program), the idea of what was the very first Movie Palace will depend upon just how one defines that phenomenon. When the producers of the 2003 PBS TV series “History Detectives” (viewable as a PDF file at: View link ) were asked if the AL RINGLING THEATRE in Baraboo, Wis. was the very first movie palace, they turned to the nationally recognized authority on the subject for the answer: The Theatre Historical Soc. of America (www.HistoricTheatres.org ) and asked their Ex. Dir. what the Society’s standard was. Ex. Dir. Richard Sklenar replied that for a theatre to have been a movie palace it had to have been (1) built as a movie theatre, (2) have a workable stage, and (3) have more than 1,000 seats. By that composite standard neither the NEW AMSTERDAM nor the AL RINGLING qualify, and they determined that the CAPITOL THEATRE of New York City in 1919 was the first. Therefore, while the NEW AMSTERDAM did show movies for part of its life, it could not be called a “movie palace” by the usual and customary definition of the term, even if it is shown in a commercially produced video on the subject.

JimRankin
JimRankin on March 25, 2004 at 7:48 am

The NEW AMSTERDAM theatre is, of course, named after the first name the Dutch colonists gave to the island of Manhattan, which the British later changed to New York, but the history of the city is not what distinguishes this notable vaudeville theatre; it’s unique decor is. It is possibly the last of the Art Nouveau style theatres in the nation, but unquestionably the best in any case. So notable is this design by Herts and Tallant, that in 1978 the Theatre Historical Society of America resolved to do one of their ANNUALS about this achievement. As if the appurtenances of the physical theatre were not enough to distinguish it, there is the fabulous decor using the sinuous forms of the style to create a mythical garden of allusion and illusion. Central to this design are the many wonderful murals which are fully featured in close-ups in this ANNUAL, as well as many photos of the rich ornamentation, both in the main theatre and in the roof garden theatre: the “Aerial Gardens.” Acquaint yourself with Art Nouveau and its artisans through this wonderful exposition in the 42 pages of the booklet.

PHOTOS AVAILABLE:
To obtain any available Back Issue of either “Marquee” or of its ANNUALS, simply go to the web site of the THEATRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA at:
www.HistoricTheatres.org
and notice on the sidebar of their first page the link “PUBLICATIONS: Back Issues List” and click on that and you will be taken to their listing where they also give ordering details. The “Marquee” magazine is 8-1/2x11 inches tall (‘portrait’) format, and the ANNUALS are also soft cover in the same size, but in the long (‘landscape’) format, and are anywhere from 26 to 40 pages. Should they indicate that a publication is Out Of Print, then it may still be possible to view it via Inter-Library Loan where you go to the librarian at any public or school library and ask them to locate which library has the item by using the Union List of Serials, and your library can then ask the other library to loan it to them for you to read or photocopy. [Photocopies of most THSA publications are available from University Microforms International (UMI), but their prices are exorbitant.]

Note: Most any photo in any of their publications may be had in large size by purchase; see their ARCHIVE link. You should realize that there was no color still photography in the 1920s, so few theatres were seen in color at that time except by means of hand tinted renderings or post cards, thus all the antique photos from the Society will be in black and white, but it is quite possible that the Society has later color images available; it is best to inquire of them.

Should you not be able to contact them via their web site, you may also contact their Executive Director via E-mail at:
Or you may reach them via phone or snail mail at:
Theatre Historical Soc. of America
152 N. York, 2nd Floor York Theatre Bldg.
Elmhurst, ILL. 60126-2806 (they are about 15 miles west of Chicago)

Phone: 630-782-1800 or via FAX at: 630-782-1802 (Monday through Friday, 9AM—4PM, CT)

nhpbob
nhpbob on November 15, 2003 at 2:50 pm

To see what this theater looked like before the Disney organization restored it for “The Lion King” Broadway show, watch the Louis Malle film “VANYA ON 42ND ST.”, which is a fascinating version of the Chekhov play “Uncle Vanya” where actors such as the not-yet-famous Julianne Moore, Wallace Shawn, and some other great actors, meet on the sidewalk, and go inside the decrepit theater, where they segue into the play seamlessly from their everyday dialogue, wearing their modern-day clothes.
They actually met for years before this film was made, rehearsing this play as they all loved it, but i’m not sure if they met in this very theater, or was the decision to use it only for the movie? Regardless, it is cool to see a movie palace in between its decrepitude and restoration….in a movie!

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 11, 2003 at 7:03 pm

In my opinion, this absolutely amazing space is the most beautifully stunning theater still in existence in NYC. The attention to detail during the restoration is astounding. The theater itself is every bit as much an attraction as is The Lion King (or whatever show might happen to occupy it’s stage in the future). The only debateable decision made by those who oversaw the theater’s refit may be the decision to refurbish the boxy marquee and art-deco vertical sign and clock that rises above it rather than restore the facade to it’s original 1903 configuration. The signage was put in place after the theater converted from legit theater to movie house in the 1930’s and obscures some pretty intricate architectural flourishes on the exterior.

WilliamMcQuade
WilliamMcQuade on March 20, 2002 at 8:26 am

Architects were Herts and Tallants who also designed the Lyceum which is I believe older than the New Amsterdam and is a few blocks up in Times Square Area. I believe the New Amsterdam opened in 1903

trishahalloran
trishahalloran on February 16, 2002 at 1:10 pm

This past Sept. my husband and I took our children to see Lion King. My daughter got the stuffed Nala bean bag. This past Wed. Feb 13th I went with her on a class trip to see it again. This time I bought her Simba. The very next day, Valentines Day, I had to rush my daughter to the emergency room and she had surgery. While in the emergency room someone actually stole my 8yr old daughter’s Simba & Nala. When she woke up after surgery they were the first thing she asked for. She is devasted someone stole them and I am desperate to replace them. I have searched for a phone # to try and contact someone at the theater or for merchandising to no avail. I found one number but it was disconnected. If anyone has any information on how I can get these replaced please email me at Thank you.

jonathanaminoff
jonathanaminoff on April 24, 2001 at 10:30 am

I will be attending the Lion King MAy 13, 2001 at 1pm show. It is a very special day since I will be proposing to my girl friend that day. I bought front row tickets and would like to speak to someone at the theatre to possibly do something special there. Please call me at 917-968-6986. thank you