Nova Theatre

3589 Broadway,
New York, NY 10031

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Showing 51 - 75 of 98 comments

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 17, 2007 at 2:26 pm

I’ve never heard of a theatre in NYC called the Harrison, cinema or otherwise. It could be a misprint, or perhaps a reference to a theatre in Harrison in Westchester County…The Tapia photo is not online, but a copy can be purchased from THS. The file number is NYC-MM-MAN-121-01.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 17, 2007 at 12:11 pm

I discovered that Theatre Historical Society of America has a B&W exterior of the Tapia in its Michael Miller Photo Collection, so I asked executive director Richard Sklenar if he could compare it with that of the Nova photo in the CT introduction above. He graciously did and concluded that they are the same theatre, also remembering that he had seen it at the last THS conclave in New York. The photo of the Tapia is undated but appears to be from the 1970s. At the time, the store to the north of the entrance was occupied by a dry cleaner’s. The Tapia’s rounded marquee was retained by the Nova, with just a name change across the front. I suspect that the Tapia marquee was inherited from the previous Dorset. Unfortunately, THS has no photos of the theatre as the Dorset.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 14, 2007 at 2:03 pm

Some of the early Film Daily Year Books give an address of 3587 Broadway for the Bunny Theatre and 3589 Broadway for the Bunny Roof. I suspect that those two premises were combined for what became the Dorset Theatre, which used an address of 3589 Broadway. A new auditorium might have been built behind the street exterior.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on April 14, 2007 at 5:55 am

That’s the one! Thanks guys, I will figure it out some day.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 13, 2007 at 6:41 pm

It doesn’t work for me. If it’s supposed to be a link to an image in a scrapbook, I think that you need to do some fine tuning. All I see is a blurb for the company that runs the website.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on April 13, 2007 at 6:29 pm

Please let me know if this works!

View link

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 13, 2007 at 3:58 pm

David Naylor’s “Great American Movie Theaters” credits George H. Pelham as architect of the Bunny Theatre, with an opening date of 1913. I don’t think that Pelham was a prolific designer of theatres. There are no other theatres credited to him in Naylor’s book…I don’t know how deeply Naylor researched the Bunny for the book, which was published in 1987. He writes that “The Bunny opened as a showcase for silent pictures, including those of its namesake, silent star John Bunny. Now it has been renamed for its current owner, Jesus Nova.” Naylor seems to create a false impression that the theatre was called the Bunny until being renamed the Nova. I guess that we should be thankful that Nova didn’t call the theatre the Jesus instead.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 13, 2007 at 11:44 am

The name “Bunny” was discarded and replaced by “Dorset” in 1933 or 1934.I believe that “Dorset” was changed to “Tapia” in the mid-to-late 1960s. There was, and perhaps still is, a famous Tapia Theatre in San Juan, Puerto Rico, though it was not a cinema. That’s probably why the name was chosen for the Dorset. The neighborhood was predominantly of Puerto Rican heritage. I think that the Tapia first ran only Hispanic imports, but eventually went mainstream as other theatres closed in Upper Manhattan. “Gone With the Wind” was shown at the Tapia with the dialogue dubbed into Spanish. I doubt if there were English subtitles.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on April 12, 2007 at 9:40 pm

My previous post appears to be missing, but anyway, the Tapia name I was enquiring about appears in ads in the early seventies.

William
William on April 12, 2007 at 9:30 pm

The only other one I can think of is the RKO Hamilton at 3560 Broadway.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 12, 2007 at 8:59 pm

Circa 1933-34, the Bunny was modernized and re-named the Dorset. I believe that prior to becoming the Nova, the Dorset had been re-named the Tapia, but I’m not 100% sure. In advertising, the Tapia used an address of Broadway & 148th Street, and 3589 Broadway is very close to that intersection. I don’t know of any other cinemas that ever existed in that immediate radius.

Ace
Ace on October 24, 2006 at 6:58 am

Alvarez, I wrote to you a couple days back. Hope you got it.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on October 20, 2006 at 6:16 am

Ace, I have the book and can send you a scan if you write to me at:

Ace
Ace on October 20, 2006 at 5:57 am

Wow, I’d really like to see a scan of that photo if you guys get your hands on the book.

Looking at the photo of the Nova at the top of the page, I also wonder if that was the facade’s original paint scheme. I bet it was (considering the New Coliseum has never been painted) and the new proprietors painting the facade entirely tan only added insult to injury.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 19, 2006 at 11:19 am

I think you’re right, Joe. In the photo there is a vertical sign affixed to the center portion of the facade which featured a large and fanciful oval caricature of a rabbit to compliment the two carved bunnies found at either end of the upper facade.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 19, 2006 at 10:50 am

Ace: I can’t recall for certain, and I don’t have access to my books right now so I can’t check, but I think there was a period photo of Manhattan’s Bunny Theatre in David Naylor’s “American Picture Palaces.” Maybe somebody reading this who has the book at hand can check it and respond. I do know I’ve seen a photo of this theatre in one book or another, and Naylor’s book is the most likely.

Bway
Bway on October 17, 2006 at 3:48 pm

Here’s a current view of the Bunny/Nova Theater, scroll down about ¾ of the page:

View link

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on October 17, 2006 at 6:30 am

Ace, I can confirm that it was still operating as the Bunny (and Bunny Roof) well into the thirties. By the late forties and early fifties it was known as the Dorset.

The sixties and seventies remain a mystery to me but by 1981 it was already the Nova and it became a twin around 1989-1990.

ejmurphyii
ejmurphyii on March 23, 2006 at 3:37 pm

My father’s uncle is listed in the NY City Directory as manager of the Bunny Theater in 1920-21. He later managed the Endicott Theater in Brooklyn. I’m looking for whatever information I can find on him and these places.

br91975
br91975 on February 14, 2005 at 10:23 pm

I’d been hoping to hear from someone who had ties in one way or another to the Nova. (See my post from this past September 2nd.) Even though I never saw a film at the Nova, I was saddened when it closed – to think a movie theatre could last 89 years and then, in a matter of months, just disappear into the streetscape and become just another 99-cent store… what a shame. When did your father work there, Lissy? Are there any memories he’d be willing to share?

Lissy
Lissy on February 14, 2005 at 9:50 pm

My dad managed this movie theatre also. Mr. Nova had 4 theatres that I know of, The Alpine, The Nova, The Riverdale Twin and finally the Colliseum. My dad worked at all 3.

br91975
br91975 on February 3, 2005 at 7:21 pm

Thanks for answering my questions; I’d long wondered about those booking and advertising policies and it’s great to finally have some clearance. Again, thank you…

cinemaservices
cinemaservices on February 3, 2005 at 6:10 pm

Newspaper ads that list all theatres in the area showing that movie are called co-op ads. Theatres have to pay to be placed in these ads. We had an average of $9,000 a week to be placed an ad for Friday-Sunday.
This is why many owners be placed in the time clock which is free in most papers.

cinemaservices
cinemaservices on February 3, 2005 at 6:09 pm

An agreement is made with all studios for first run and second run along with the contracts you get when you first open. I operate several theaters one is a twin and we have “Racing Stripes”. Warner states that when we got the picture when hade to keep it four weeks. We got the movie January 14th on the National
Release date. We could not split the movie for the first three weeks. This Friday it will show with a split with “National Treasure” which we are bringing back for one showing nightly. ”Racing Stripes “ will still show twice on weekdays and three times this weekend.

cinemaservices
cinemaservices on February 3, 2005 at 6:05 pm

An agreement is made with all studios for first run and second run cinemas.
Along with the contracts you get when you first open. I operate several theaters one is a twin and we have “Racing Stripes”. Warner states that when we got the picture we hade to keep it for at least four weeks.
We got the movie January 14th on the National
Release date. We could not split the movie for the first three weeks. This Friday it will show with a split with “National Treasure” which we are bringing back for one showing nightly. “Racing Stripes” will still show twice on weekdays and three times this weekend.