Apollo Theater

253 W. 125th Street,
New York, NY 10027

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Showing 26 - 49 of 49 comments

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on May 3, 2008 at 11:21 am

In the 3/28 photo, what is the story with the marquee down the block? Is that another theater or former theater?

LuisV
LuisV on January 23, 2008 at 8:24 am

ShoeShoe…I wholeheartedly agree! While I know that the old palaces could never be replicated in a financially viable way, I don’t know why more of the multiplexes can’t be constructed to at least pay some homage to the old palaces of the past.

One of my favorite multiplexes is the AMC 25 plex in Times Square due to its incorporation of the old Empire Theater into its lobby. I would have been much, much happier it they had just made the Empire one of the 24 screens. It was, in fact a small theater, and could have been spectacularly used. I’m sure they thought of it, but for some reason or another it wasn’t financially viable.

My other favorite is the Loew’s Lincoln Sqaure and only because they paid homage to the old Loew’s movie palaces of the metropolitan New York area with each screening room dedicated to a former palace along with a small history. I only wish that each screening room was decorated to relate directly to the theater being honored. You would think that in this day of cheap faux decorations (of which Vegas is but the biggest example) this would be relatively easy to do.

Maybe not.

Warren, I respect your decision not to accept the Apollo. I, however do not accept almost any of the multiplexes as they are but simple boxes with no architectural distinctions. I stand by my comment that it is about the building. As such, I don’t care if movies were shown simply as fillers between live acts or not. If they were a beautiful strucure and they showed a film, they should be listed on CT. I believe that even a relatively spartan Apollo theater is much more a cinema treasure than almost any of the multiplexes (and many of the single screens as well) on this website.

LuisV
LuisV on January 23, 2008 at 8:23 am

ShoeShoe…I wholeheartedly agree! While I know that the old palaces could never be replicated in a financially viable way, I don’t know why more of the multiplexes can’t be constructed to at least pay some homage to the old palaces of the past.

One of my favorite multiplexes is the AMC 25 plex in Times Square due to its incorporation of the old Empire Theater into its lobby. I would have been much, much happier it they had just made the Empire one of the 24 screens. It was, in fact a small theater, and could have been spectacularly used. I’m sure they thought of it, but for some reason or another it wasn’t financially viable.

My other favorite is the Loew’s Lincoln Sqaure and only because they paid homage to the old Loew’s movie palaces of the metropolitan New York area with each screening room dedicated to a former palace along with a small history. I only wish that each screening room was decorated to relate directly to the theater being honored. You would think that in this day of cheap faux decorations (of which Vegas is but the biggest example) this would be relatively easy to do.

Maybe not.

Warren, I respect your decision not to accept the Apollo. I, however do not accept almost any of the multiplexes as they are but simple boxes with no architectural distinctions. I stand by my comment that it is about the building. As such, I don’t care if movies were shown simply as fillers between live acts or not. If they were a beautiful strucure and they showed a film, they should be listed on CT. I believe that even a relatively spartan Apollo theater is much more a cinema treasure than almost any of the multiplexes (and many of the single screens as well) on this website.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on January 22, 2008 at 8:04 pm

Regarding movie palaces, these days, it would cost 5 times as much as it did then to replicate, so that’s not going to happen. But what would be cool would be a movie palace replica in fiberglass and other cheap materials, resembling a movie palace. Vegas has some money. I think that’s a great idea. Build a replica of an atmospheric.

markp
markp on January 22, 2008 at 7:57 pm

HERE, HERE, I couldn’t agree with you more LuisV, lets get those darn ‘sheetrock palace’ multiplexes outta here!!

LuisV
LuisV on January 22, 2008 at 6:53 pm

There were comments above questioning whether or not movies ever palyed at The Apollo and, as a result, whether it should be included on this site. Thankfully, other posters were able to show that films did indeed play the Apollo and therby insure this theater’s inclusion as a Cinema Treasure.

I mention this because, for me (and I suspect a great many others who love this site) what makes a cinema treasure truly a treasure is the building itself. Virtually all of the most beloved theaters on this site are architectural marvels of their day with luxurious finishes and designs and the opportunity to see a film with not just hundreds, but sometimes thousands of others!

Many of these treasures (especially those before 1930) started out as legitimate playhouses which were subsequently changed to films as the times changed. As a result we have spectacular theaters like Radio City, The New Amsterdam and, of course, The World Famous Apollo (to name just a few) as Cinema Treasures because they were subsequently changed to film only policies. There are a great
many other spectacular theaters that are not present on CT because they have not shown films. Playhouses like the beautiful Cort and The Lyceum theaters in New York are not given their due.

I realize that this web site is called Cinema Trasaures and not Theater Treasures, but I think there a very few multiplex theaters
in this country that are truly “treasures”. What makes a theater a treasure is the building itself and that contributes to the experience of seeing and enjoying a film. Back in the day I could see a terrible film at Loew’s Valencia and at least be entertained watching the clouds rolling overhead and the stars twinkling. I can’t do that the local 24 plex. Yet there are many, many bland, homogenous, uninspired multiplex theaters on this site.

I’ve rambled enough! :–)

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on January 18, 2008 at 5:33 pm

No doubt the news comes in time for MLK Day. A walk of fame? Awesome and appropriate.

LuisV
LuisV on January 18, 2008 at 7:52 am

Great news about the restoration of the World Famous Apollo. This item appeared in todays issue of the NY Times:

The Apollo Theater in Harlem is scheduled to close in January 2010 for a major expansion, which is scheduled to last nine months. After a bruising conflict that began in the late 1990s â€" in which a lawsuit against the Apollo by the state attorney general was narrowly averted â€" a new management team was installed in June 2003. The new leadership has successfully completed renovation of the lobby, the seats, the facade and the famous Apollo sign in front. The addition will add 4,000 square feet of usable space by moving offices elsewhere. Officials also plan a “Walk of Fame” out front. About $51.5 million of the needed $96 million has been raised, and public appeals are planned for the rest.

Bway
Bway on January 2, 2008 at 10:37 am

I wonder what they tore down next to the Apollo on the left. I don’t remember a vacant lot last time I was by about a year ago.

AdoraKiaOra
AdoraKiaOra on September 1, 2007 at 12:09 pm

They have certainly smartened the place up since i was there in the late 90s to see the Broadway show ‘Harlem Nights’. Beautiful auditorium.

hanksykes
hanksykes on August 8, 2007 at 2:33 pm

In 2002 the entire tour of the Theatre Historical Society , more than 150 people, sang along with the Apollo Stage Manager ,“America The Beautiful”,so I guess you could say we played the Apollo! Thanks to Bobby the stage manager.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 9, 2007 at 7:02 am

Yes, the marquee has an LED display.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on May 8, 2007 at 7:07 pm

I think this has been photoshopped – the signs are a little too neat and crisp, and unless there has been a development that I missed, marquee letters don’t come in upper and lower case. It might be a computer generated rendering from a sign company.

Bway
Bway on May 7, 2007 at 7:47 am

I find it amazing that a theater as famous as the Apollo, perhaps one of the most famous theater in the world, and even though it only was a film house briefly, it’s unimaginable that there is absolutely no opening paragraph or intruduction above.

RobertR
RobertR on October 9, 2006 at 2:01 pm

As late as 1976 the Apollo still ran occasional films.
View link

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on December 16, 2005 at 3:38 pm

In today’s NY Times, they talked about (in the MTA strike article) Bloomberg attending a celebration for the newly refurbished facade.

RobertR
RobertR on October 16, 2005 at 9:07 am

The 1970 matinee re-issue of “Wizard of Oz” played here

View link

mauriceski
mauriceski on September 28, 2005 at 4:50 pm

my first trip to the apollo was inthe early 1940s when my father took me there. in the 40s most of the big time black bands played a week or more there. billy eskstine’s band was there alot also louis jordan and count basie and duke ellington. in the mid 50s they featured a lot of jazz artist like sonny stitt sonny rollins,monk.miles davis jerry mulligan and maynard ferguson.

RobertR
RobertR on August 14, 2005 at 11:56 am

This cheapie kids matinee was really an Italian film called “Sette Nani Alla Riscossa, I”. It was relased here in 1970 as “The 7 Dwarfs to the Rescue”. It’s only Manhattan booking was the 125th St. Apollo.
View link

RobertR
RobertR on July 7, 2005 at 5:36 pm

Seems in 1971 the Apollo was showing films again.
View link

Also status on here should not show demolished since this is a live venue.

jflundy
jflundy on August 20, 2004 at 7:34 pm

See a 1949 photo of yhe Apollo and other 125th St theaters by link below.

This is a photo of theaters.

RedDawg
RedDawg on February 26, 2004 at 7:39 am

I erred in noting that WurliTzer Opus #1419 was installed in the 125th Street Apollo theatre. It was actually installed in a different Apollo theatre at 126 Clinton Street, NYC. There is likewise no information on the status of this theatre that I can find.

William
William on November 14, 2003 at 3:43 pm

The address above is wrong it should read 263 W. 125th Street.

RedDawg
RedDawg on October 26, 2003 at 5:49 pm

This theatre once contained WurliTzer theatre organ Opus #1419, installed in 1926 and removed c. 196?. Most of this organ has been preserved and it is hoped will eventually be installed into Baltimore’s Parkway Theatre. (See www.parkwaytheatre.com))