Astor Theatre

1531 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 76 - 100 of 236 comments

dodgerg
dodgerg on August 22, 2008 at 4:45 pm

Wow. Thank you Robert R. what a great picture.
As I mentioned in an earlier conversation I worked there during East of Eden as an usher. That photo means a lot to me. thanks.
Roger G.

RobertR
RobertR on August 22, 2008 at 10:27 am

New York Premiere of East of Eden
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SethLewis
SethLewis on August 3, 2008 at 12:31 pm

The Gaiety East was one of the great delis of my growing up on the Upper East Side…it was still there albeit in decline in 1973 having dined and dated there before The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz

roybarry
roybarry on August 3, 2008 at 11:48 am

Great shot! In the 50’s where the “Maxwell Coffee” stood became a “Cardinal Tie” store, popular for reasonably priced ties. In between “Cardinal” and the “Astor” was “Tyson’s Ticket Agency” for all events in Manhattan. Around the corner from “Minsky’s Gaety” theater, later to come the “Victoria Theater”, was a famous deli called the “Gaety Deli” that supplied the greatest sadwiches in NYC. Better than the “Stage Deli"or the "Carnegie Deli”! They were more or less tourist places. The “in crowd” favored the “Gaety”. Most of the Broadway actors would patronize the Gaety plus a few “Damon Runyon” characters. I remember being in there with Ben Gazarra, Shelley Winters, Elia Kazan and Bob Fosse.

The “Astor” had almost a secret entrance to the “Bijou Theater” around the corner on 45th Street from the Astor’s 3rd balcony. By being a part of this website has brought back a lot of memories! And I must say very enjoyable memories at that! I cannot express the excitement of that period. Maybe my youth saw things from a youthful perspective but I am sure it was in reality a wonderful period. I also want to thank all of you for all your great input. Thanks!

jflundy
jflundy on August 2, 2008 at 4:06 pm

Here is a night view, the feature is “Boulder Dam”. Circa 1936.
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It is an E-bay sale image and may not be at this URL for long.

roybarry
roybarry on July 29, 2008 at 5:31 pm

Thanks! I don’t remember that “A Star was Born” was at the Paramount.

Behind the screen at the Victoria were signs that said; Gaety Theater. What was interesting about the Astor and Victoria was that the General Manager’s office was between both theaters. Managers shared the managing of both theaters. John Cusack was the GM, Wally Schaffer, Leonard Bloom, Charles Whitney; we had the Chief of Ushers, Bart Gallagher, Captain of Ushers; Adelle Camarda. All were related in someway to politics (Kennedy’s) and theater (playwright, television…etc) Interseting group of people. I have an outline of a play I was beginning to write based on this unique group of individuals. It’s somewhere in the attic turning brown I guess! Maybe someday!

roybarry
roybarry on July 29, 2008 at 8:11 am

Does anyone know why films like “On the Waterfront” and “A Star is Born” were put into smaller theaters like the Astor and Victoria and not in a larger theater like the Capital…Paramount? Warner Brothers showed “Battle Cry” at the Paramount and I believe “ A Star is Born” was a Warner picture also! Those two films had huge audiences.

Ross Melnick
Ross Melnick on July 29, 2008 at 12:54 am

Keep the sniping off these pages. Thank you.

dodgerg
dodgerg on July 28, 2008 at 8:53 pm

Hey guys. Back on track — the pic was great, and your combined knowledge of this subject is truly impressive. Thank you all.
rg

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on July 28, 2008 at 8:45 pm

My mistake. I got my education reading fabricated dead star biographies written by hack writers who plagiarized gossip columns and then sold the info as their own at discount book racks.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on July 28, 2008 at 3:54 pm

Wow. You can determine the sexual inclinations of men from just looking at an 85 year old photograph? Fabulous gaydar!

My guess is that they are studio heads and members of the press who were mostly men at the time. As for their sexual habits, I’ll leave that to more talented contributors.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on July 26, 2008 at 8:00 pm

Since QUEEN CHRISTINA premiered on December 26 and that photo shows a Roll Royce in front, this is most likely a shot of the World Premier crowd and hardly representative of the the average movie-goer in 1933.

roybarry
roybarry on July 24, 2008 at 5:14 pm

We are a casual pedestrian society without a sense of protocol or should I say a sense of regalia? I can remember going to the Capital Theater to see “From Here to Eternity” with my date and sitting upstairs in a packed lodge/balcony and never once did I feel unconforatble. No one selfishly in tune with their own agenda, and on top of it, most of us were clean and well dresssd for the occasion.

I remember not letting people in sleevless T-Shirts at the Astor and Victoria theaters. The ushers would continuously monitor their
section every few minutes just to make sure nothing disruptive is happening. Again…another era. I still enjoy the day even if it is not like it was.

I was at the “Actor’s Studio” recently and one of the Studio’s teacher/director/coach was there. We worked together at the Astor theater in 1954 to 1956. We both ended up with careers in theater/film/television. We discussed our experiences and it seem sensorily that it was just yesterday. I was blessed to have the opportunity to be there at that time.

dodgerg
dodgerg on July 24, 2008 at 3:45 pm

That’s right Warren. I remember my parents and I dressing up to go to movies in the forties. Most people did. It was a big event, similar perhaps today to going to a Broadway show — although, nowadays people don’t even dress up for that all the time, do they?

dodgerg
dodgerg on July 23, 2008 at 10:15 pm

Thanks, Lost Memory. That was nice of you.
rg

dodgerg
dodgerg on July 23, 2008 at 7:44 pm

Right. lol I didn’t think of that.
rg

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on July 23, 2008 at 7:39 pm

Well-heeled crowd for the middle of the Depression.

dodgerg
dodgerg on July 23, 2008 at 7:30 pm

Great pic! Thanks J.F. Lundy.
rg

jflundy
jflundy on July 23, 2008 at 7:14 pm

This link may be good for but a short time; shows in large detail the Astor entry under marquee in 1933.

View link

LuisV
LuisV on June 8, 2008 at 12:00 pm

You know, I was thinking after I wrote my post above that in the future, if Times Square once again degenerated into a crime filled wasteland, today’s youth would tell stories about how wonderful Times Square was at the turn of the 21st Century! They would say, “Remember the Toy’s R Us Ferris Wheel, the MTV studios?, The Hard Rock and Planet Hollywood cafes?”

Personally, I don’t don’t think we’ll ever go backward. I would agree with dodger and leroyelliston that the 50’s and early 60’s were probably wonderful. It was before my time. But that wasn’t what Times Square had become in the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s. We needed to be rescued from that!

I never thought I’d live to see the day when Hell’s Kitchen would become a truly “Hot” neighborhood where many people desired to live, but it has in fact happened. It’s happended in Park Slope, Harlem, Chinatown, The Financial District, the East Village, The Lower East Side, Long Island City, Jackson Heights, I could go on and on.

In my opinion, making Times Square into what it is today greatly contributed to the overall image of the city as a whole as a desireable place to live and work. If they could “fix” Times Square then this city is capable of amazing things. And so it is!

roybarry
roybarry on June 7, 2008 at 7:16 pm

It is so true! The 70’s and 80’s were a horrible period for the entertainment area. Prior to the 70’s I had an apartment on West 45th Street between 8th and 9th Avenue. Never once did I ever feel in danger until the late 60’s when everything really began to fall apart. This led me to move further uptown to West 57th Street and then to the upper Westside where things were slightly less disgusting. All I can say is the Times Square of today is a blessing. Still I remember how it was in the 50’s and early 60’s and it was great! We should be extremely happy what we have today…a rejuvenated theater distrct for all to enjoy.

dodgerg
dodgerg on June 7, 2008 at 6:17 pm

Good intelligent comments Lius V. How can anyone disagree with you? I would only point out that a few of us are remembering a time before the 70s and 80s, back in the 50s, when — at least in my memory — it really did have character and even 42nd St. wasn’t that bad. I used to walk home to West 4th St. in the Village from the Astor at 2AM and not think twice about it. Of course I was 18 and knew I would live forever. All progress it seems comes with a price; but as you point out so well, the price of losing some theaters that had already all but died in order to cleanup New York City was probably a fair one.

LuisV
LuisV on June 7, 2008 at 5:08 pm

It still pains me to read about the destruction of 5 theaters for the construction of the Marriott Marquis back in 1982. I am a staunch theater preservationist, but more importantly I am an even stronger believer is a safe, vibrant, clean and growing city that can offer a wonderful urban environment in which to live in and visit.

Sadly, the New York of the 70’s and 80’s was one of steep decline, out of control crime, massive arson, infrastructure that was falling apart and subways covered wall to wall in graffiti that you were lucky to see since many cars also had no operable lighting. There was a massive outflow of the city’s middle class and corresponding increase in the city’s poor.

42nd Street and Times Square was ground zero for this cesspool and the theater district was dying a slow, agonizing death. Something had to be done. The destruction of those theaters brought a new, huge convention hotel to the center of Times Square that bought new life to this moribound area. It encouraged other hotels and office buildings to follow. The complete closure and renovation of all of the theaters on 42nd Street continued the path. Thanks to that process we now have a restored New Amsterdam (arguably the most beautiful of New York’s theaters) in addition to The New Victory, The Hilton and American Airlines theaters. This, on a street that back in the 70’s and 80s was considered the single most dangerous block in the country!

Today, Times Square is criticized by some as having “lost its character” and resembling Las Vegas. To those people, I say “Go to downtown Detorit where you can have all of the character you want”

I for one, love living in a city where you can ride the subway comfortably at midnight, stroll down almost any street in complete safety, shop at the many department stores that remain downtown (unlike virtually any other city), and attend the theater in a district that has been astoundingly reborn, revitalized and for the most part renovated since the early 90’s.

I do not equate “character” with drug addicts, prostitutes, brothels, trash, graffiti and whatever else Times Square had in the 70’s and 80’s.

We’ve saved Times Square and New York! While we’ve lost many theaters we in New York still have an embarassment of riches. Now, we need to concentrate our efforts to protect and restore the theaters we still have left.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on May 29, 2008 at 7:26 am

Not one, but two 4-star reviews for the same picture on the same page, 12/20/1939. Has this ever happened before or since?

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roybarry
roybarry on May 28, 2008 at 7:30 am

Ed,

You are absolutely correct! I believe there was another film that used the word “pregnant” and created a stir among the religious groups.

Can you believe how much we have changed! Remarkable!