New Victory Theatre

209 West 42nd Street,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 26 - 50 of 94 comments

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on June 18, 2009 at 9:54 am

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

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on June 16, 2009 at 5:52 am

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

woody
woody on May 7, 2009 at 10:21 am

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
View link

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on November 29, 2008 at 4:44 am

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

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on November 29, 2008 at 4:34 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 28, 2008 at 8:56 am

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

NBuccalo
NBuccalo on November 6, 2008 at 11:02 am

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 November 1, 2008 at 5:44 pm

Thanks, Nicholas. Very informative!

NBuccalo
NBuccalo on November 1, 2008 at 6:39 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 30, 2008 at 4:33 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 29, 2008 at 4:40 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.

mp775
mp775 on April 18, 2008 at 4:54 am

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

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 18, 2008 at 1:33 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 18, 2008 at 1:32 pm

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

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 18, 2008 at 1:31 pm

[http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b110/GuanoReturns/Manhattan%20Movie%20Theaters/42nd%20Street%20Rialto/600x580ft.opener1.jpg]Here’s a somewhat sharper version[/url] of that same image, Warren. I dated the photo to early summer of 1985 based on some of the titles playing along the block. It appears that RAMBO, FIRST BLOOD PART II is playing at the Lyric, and further down, LIFEFORCE is at the Apollo. RAMBO opened in May of ‘85 and LIFEFORCE that June.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on November 1, 2007 at 2:47 am

Exactly, Al… That’s what I was referring to with the lack of the supporting genre & exploitation flicks on those bills. You might find one or two programs on the block with an old fashioned B title under the main feature by the late ‘80’s, but for the most part it was a twin bill of major Hollywood product. Sometimes it would be two current films or maybe a current release backed up with an older title from the earlier in the year or the previous season – as evidenced by the 1989 shot of the Victory marquee above with the new “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” backed up with the 1988 release, “Naked Gun.”

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on November 1, 2007 at 2:23 am

Near the end there some deuce houses ran double feature first-runs. I recall many of the Cineplex Odeon National Twin films both playing double-bill around the corner and at half the price, as long as they did not advertise.

This may have been the result of martial arts and porn product drying up or going straight to video.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 31, 2007 at 2:39 pm

Just occured to me that the actress Vanity – whom Prince had “discovered” for his movie “Purple Rain” in 1984 – was the female lead in both of those flicks I reported seeing on the Duece in Feb or March of ‘88. That must have been the programmer’s “theme” when he booked the supporting feature (since “Action Jackson” was a new or recent major release). At least there was still an attempt at creativity – even though I recall some disappointment that the theatre entrances and outer foyers were no longer adorned with the colorful and hyperbolic advertising paraphernalia that had long been the custom up and down the street.

Much as I miss those days (well, before the urine odor set in)… there is no denying that the restoration job on the New Victory is a stunning acheivement – almost as much as the magnificent job that Disney performed on the New Amsterdam across the street (much as I hate to pay them any credit)!

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 31, 2007 at 2:26 pm

Jerry… I’m thinking that was a last ditch effort to keep the Victory going while the City was ramping up efforts to clean up the strip – probably around 1988/89? It didn’t last long as the Victory was shuttered by 1990.

Last time I saw a movie on the Duece was early 1988 and I recall that the Victory was still showing XXX porn. The other grinders had mostly gone mainstream – with new Hollywood product topping the bill and an older genre flick in support. One or two of the theatres were still showing Kung Fu flicks – I think the Cine 42 was one, maybe the Rialto II. The Harem was still in full porn swing and if I recall, the Empire was already shuttered. In fact, the Liberty may have also been closed at the time – but I can’t remember for sure.

My Duece swan song was a double bill of “Action Jackson” with Carl (Apollo Creed) Weathers supported by a cheapo Billy Dee Williams actioner called “Love You to Death” (or something like that) co-starring Prince “find” Vanity and the immortal Morgan Fairchild. The theatre reeked of marijuana and urine (I’m almost positive it was the Selwyn, but could have been the Times Square) and, while I soldiered on through both features, I pretty much knew about 20 or 30 minutes in to the first flick that this would be my last trip to one of the old 42nd Street grind houses.

42ndStreetMemories
42ndStreetMemories on October 31, 2007 at 10:52 am

Ed, I was thinking the same thing. When did the Victory revert back to mainstream features? jerry

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 31, 2007 at 7:25 am

Interesting to see a shot of the Victory’s marquee advertising mainstream features after so many years on the porn grind! Great shot… I’ve been looking to pick up a copy of this book for some time now.

strawberry
strawberry on October 30, 2007 at 10:55 pm

Here are two photos from Nicholas Van Hoogstraten’s book “Lost Broadway Theatres”:

The Republic theatre in 1901
View link

and the Victory theater in 1989
View link