New Victory Theatre

209 West 42nd Street,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 26 - 50 of 108 comments

42ndStreetMemories
42ndStreetMemories on August 17, 2009 at 7:54 pm

ken mc – where did you find those great Daily News images?

seymourcox
seymourcox on August 9, 2009 at 11:22 am

From LIFE comes this undated photo of Lillian Gish standing before a 42nd Street & Belasco posters,
View link

missmelbatoast
missmelbatoast on August 8, 2009 at 10:39 am

1957 nighh shot from LIFE Magazine –
View link

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 6, 2009 at 10:02 pm

To revive the discussion that took place in April, 2006, about the architect of this theater, at least one author (architectural historian Gerard R. Wolfe) credits both Albert E. Westover and John B. McElfatrick for the design of the Republic Theatre. The 3rd edition of Wolfe’s “New York: 15 Walking Tours” says that Westover designed the theater in 1899, and McElfatrick was responsible for the renovation of the house the following year. Wolfe does not mention the remodeling for David Belasco, which some sources say was done by Bigelow, Wallis & Cotton. He does mention that the 1995 restoration was done by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer.

For what it’s worth, the Wikipedia article on the New Victory also credits Westover (but only Westover) for the design, and cites the 4th edition of the “AIA Guide to New York City”, by Norval White and Eliot Willensky as a source. I don’t have the AIA Guide, but from the snippet views available at Google Books, it looks like the 4th edition doesn’t mention either McElfatrick or Bigelow, Wallis & Cotton in connection with this theater at all.

But another vote for McElfatrick & Sons comes from a PDF of a 1987 document from New York’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (available here) which is about the Hudson Theatre, but which mentions the Republic as one of the theaters designed by McElfatrick. This paper gives the building date as 1900, but both Wolfe’s Guide and the AIA Guide date the original construction to 1899.

Interestingly, the Hudson’s architectural pedigree was once in question as well, and the Preservation Commission researcher checked the theater’s plans on file at the New York Buildings Department and found that while McElfatrick did the early drawings, most of the Hudson’s design was attributable to the firm of Israels & Harder. Somebody will probably have to check the building records for the Republic as well, before we can be sure who did what to it and when.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on June 17, 2009 at 2:54 pm

Here is a May 1965 photo from the Daily News:
http://tinyurl.com/m839xx

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on June 15, 2009 at 10:52 am

Here is a January 1967 shot from the NY Daily News:
http://tinyurl.com/nhbn53

woody
woody on May 6, 2009 at 3:21 pm

seen here in a photo i took in 1991 prior to refurbishment
not sure what ROMEO refers to on the marquee if the theatre was open at this point
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Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 9, 2009 at 10:55 am

Here’s a 1940s view as the Victory with some of its “Deuce” neighbors:
View link

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on November 28, 2008 at 7:44 am

P.S. My point was just proved on the Peerless Theatre page.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on November 28, 2008 at 7:34 am

I couldn’t re-find the NY theatre where the relevance of posting old theatre phone numbers was questioned.

I for one relish the little tidbits of information like that. As much as the various organ makes, year of installation, etc.

In Chicago, the phone numbers used to sometimes corrolate to the neighborhoods. Mohawk4-2700, etc.
Seeing those style numbers for instance sparked my memory that Chicago’s Esquire was once Whitehall7-1111. One famous local defunct carpet company was Bouchelle. Who’s number Hudson3-2700 was sung in commercials by a booming bass voice that went so low on the 700 part, it was copied for years.

I guess my point is that seeing those old numbers posted for any theatre, might wake up memories in some that could end up being relevant to other theatres, and so on. Especially when it comes to the surrounding neighborhood of the theatre’s in their past.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on November 27, 2008 at 11:56 am

Here is a 1952 photo from Life Magazine:
http://tinyurl.com/6e56dr

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 11, 2008 at 9:28 am

In the spring of 1952, the Victory became a House of Horrors with this reissue package.
At left, the Lyric had the current “Five Fingers” and “Return of the Texan”:
View link

NBuccalo
NBuccalo on November 5, 2008 at 2:02 pm

sure, my pleasure. I read again some of the posts above and indeed they’re very informative as well. This is a great site and resource.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 31, 2008 at 9:44 pm

Thanks, Nicholas. Very informative!

NBuccalo
NBuccalo on October 31, 2008 at 10:39 am

The second floor exit (at the top of the stoop is the exit for people after a show) was boarded up. There was a little anxiety as to what we would discover when floors/walls were opened, but as you can see everything turned out great. As you can imagine, when the stoop was removed some time ago and a marquee put up with a store front entrance below, the distance between the front door and the seating inside was very minimal, greatly reducing the lobby area. This was one of the side purposes of putting the stoop back in place, to allow the lobby to function again as a gathering place.

I’m sure your photo of the banister is original… the conservationist in charge (Jay Cardinal was the lead conservationist) made sure that all the colors were as in the original structure (they microscopically peeled back the layers of paint for every surface). The ceiling is also original… it is a relatively thin layer of plaster suspended from the roof structure by wires. Unfortunately a worker stepped on this ceiling and fell through during the renovation even though that area was fenced in (there’s a cat walk that spans across above the dome).

I know we took great care to preserve the architecture while incorporating modern features like lighting, a better stage pit, etc. You may not be aware but there is another building attached to the Victory at the rear, which fronts onto 43rd Street. It is used for dressing, stage props, etc. The existing dressing rooms where no more than a mirror and table top in corridors flanking the stage at different levels.

The original condition: well everything was painted a dark maroon, the carpet was sticky and I wouldn’t sit in any of the seats… lol. I wouldn’t say it was in shambles, that is, it could function safely although it wouldn’t meet ADA Handicap or for that matter restroom facility requirements. I believe the balcony was closed as were the upper offices. It was my idea to put the bathrooms, coat check and the like in the basement to give those functions the room they needed. As you know the ground floor is spaciously very tight.

Last, I believe I remember right that the theater was named ‘Victory Theater’ in the 40’s, as part of our WWII heritage. I’d have to search to find previous name(s). It was renamed ‘New Victory Theater’ for what you see today. I have a report somewhere where I outline the history of the Victory along with photos, and our planning, etc.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 29, 2008 at 8:33 pm

Glad you found this site also, Nicholas. Before the rebuilt stoop, and the small box office lobby it now houses, how was the entrance lobby set up at the New Victory when you guys started work? It looks to me as if the rear wall of the auditorium and the stairway going down to the lower level are new. There seems to be some original ceiling molding detail that is still in use in the lobby – or was that a recreation added with the restoration?

And, one last question, if I might impose… Are the marble staircases leading to the mezzanine level original? The one on the left (as you enter the lobby from the street) seems to have a small bit of vandalism preserved in the banister – a rough carving of letters that looks to be dated “1975” – though it could also read “1995”.

Here’s a shot of the banister. It’d be great if you would share any memories you have of the theatre’s condition at the time you began your great work there. This is one of the few theaters on the Deuce that I never patronized back in the days… so I only know it as it currently exists.

NBuccalo
NBuccalo on October 28, 2008 at 8:40 pm

I’m glad I found this site and page… I was the Architect who, after researching historical photos proposed to the lead Architect (HHPA) and the Times Square Development Agency, that we try and get the stoop rebuilt as it was along with the entire facade. There was a bit of concern over the idea, but after convincing them that the sidewalk could handle pedestrian traffic, that ‘this was the first rehabilitation for Times Square Theaters’ and that it would help us with the interior program elements, especially the ticket booth and exiting of patrons, they jumped on board and got city approvals. With that I created a very detailed drawing of the stoop and facade which was incorporated into the construction documents.

The current seating count is as we found it except that I had to reduce 2 rows at the top of the balcony (approx 15 seats) to accommodate spot lighting stations.
You can view my photo of the New Victory Theater here: View link and on the next page. I’ll see if I can dig up my reconstruction drawing of the stoop and facade. There used to be a beautiful interior office and a roof dance hall, kind of cabana style entertainment.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 18, 2008 at 6:10 am

A new direct link to a 1930s view as Billy Minsky’s Republic:
View link

mp775
mp775 on April 17, 2008 at 9:54 am

Night view of the New Amsterdam and New Victory, 1/23/08

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 18, 2008 at 7:57 am

Thanks! I’ve removed the photo from my scrapbook. No need for duplication.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 17, 2008 at 4:33 pm

Ugh! Let’s try it again!!! I have to get into the habit of using that PREVIEW button!

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 17, 2008 at 4:32 pm

Sorry… {url=http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b110/GuanoReturns/Manhattan%20Movie%20Theaters/42nd%20Street%20Rialto/600x580ft.opener1.jpg]Here’s that image[/url].