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I was looking through the OLDNYC site of the NYPL and came across a rare photo from 1928 of 58th Street street view that showcased the RKO Proctor theater. I uploaded it to the photo page of this site. I included the OldNYC web page, but I’m not sure whether the link will work.
Was the Rialto on the northwest corner of 42nd & Broadway, where the ESPN Zone is today? Due to all the new big buildings in the area, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact address today.
Looks like the theater is gone. I passed by a couple of days ago and they have the Running Paws Athletic Club in it’s place. I guess it was inevitable that it’s days as a theater we long gone.
I’m pretty sure this theater is demolished, not just closed. There is a modern office building in it’s place. I don’t thing I have ever even seen a photo of this theater. Has anybody?
Thanks for that fascinating recollection of an amazing era when movie theaters were the ultimate in entertainment. You have amazing memory on all the technical details. Like many theaters in New York, the loss of the RKO Theater was a shame, architecturally and culturally. I only learned about this theater on this site, it was gone before I could see it in person.
I wonder how the ½ cent of the 62 ½ per an hour worked? LOL
This weekend I was watching a documentary film Factory Days by Paul Morrissey. He discussed the period when he was making Andy Warhol produced films. In it he showed two defunked theaters, 55th Street Playhouse & The Garrick – Andy Warhol Theater. I’m not familiar with either one. I looked up the 55th St Playhouse, and saw that it was around the block from The Zeigfeld. Apparently Warhol films had long runs at this theater. I made a few screencaps since I don’t see any working links here.
Great photos. Thanks Warren.
That’s wishful thinking Warren, I hope you’re right. More likely is that they will just tear the building down altogether and build another multiple-story monstrosity as they have been doing these last few years in Astoria.
John, thanks for sharing your memorable experience at the Loew’s Triboro Theater, I enjoyed reading about it.
Al, your link doesn’t work it requires us to login with a user/password.
I was recently looking at various vintage Queens photos online and came across this wintery image of Steinway Street in Astoria from 1935, which includes in gthe center a moving northbound trolley. Looking further, I was delighted to see on the left the rare image the marquee of the Steinway Theatre. On the right at the intersection of 31st Avenue is the building which was occupied by Woolworth’s for several decades.
Here’s a link to the accompanying photo of the above NY Times article from 05/10/2007. This is of the cutaway image of the new planned Henry Miller Theater.
Very cool. If you zoom in to the left of the box office in the photo you can also see the Beekman Radio Shop, a relic of the past.
NY Times article
May 10, 2007
Roundabout to Fill a Brand-New 89-Year-Old Theater
By CAMPBELL ROBERTSON
If everything stays on schedule, the number of Broadway theaters will increase by one in the fall of 2008, with the opening of Henry Millerâ€™s Theater, behind an 89-year-old facade of old Broadway on 43rd Street that will be surrounded by the glass modernity of the new 54-story tall Bank of America Tower.
But enough with the nostalgia. Whoâ€™s getting it?
The Roundabout Theater Company is in the final stages of negotiations for a 20-year lease with the Durst Organization and Bank of America, the owners of the theater, which will have around 1,000 seats.
The Shuberts, Nederlanders and the Jujamcyn theater chain all approached the Durst Organization about the theater, some interested in becoming owners or part owners, but were unable to make a deal. As a long-term tenant it was Roundabout that fit the bill, said Douglas Durst, a co-president of the Durst Organization. (It canâ€™t hurt that Mr. Durst sits on the Roundaboutâ€™s board.)
Of Todd Haimes, the president of Roundabout, Mr. Durst said: â€œIâ€™ve watched Todd, both as a part of Times Square and as a board member, and heâ€™s just been so successful at the projects heâ€™s undertaken that we thought the best way to go would be with Roundabout.â€
The company already owns or leases two Broadway theaters â€" the 740-seat American Airlines Theater on 42nd Street and the 920-seat Studio 54 on 54th Street â€" and has an Off Broadway presence at the 420-seat Laura Pels Theater, part of the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theater on 46th Street.
Keeping shows in all of these theaters partly explains the companyâ€™s $40 million budget.
The idea, Mr. Haimes said, would be to put a popular show for an extended run in one of the three Broadway theaters and use the others for the traditional two- or three-shows-a-year Roundabout schedule.
That extended-run show, as first reported in The New York Post last week, could be a revival of Sam Mendesâ€™s production of â€œCabaret,â€ which, conveniently enough, was the first Broadway show to play Henry Millerâ€™s Theater in 15 years when it opened there in 1998. If the Roundabout had that theater last year, Mr. Haimes said, it would have been a logical home for the popular revival of â€œThe Pajama Game.â€
But what is the Roundabout, a nonprofit company whose official mission is to interpret â€œthe masterpieces of the worldâ€™s great theatrical heritageâ€ doing looking for a popular hit?
â€œI have no problem producing something that I think is popular or commercial to make money,â€ Mr. Haimes said, â€œas long as the money goes for the not-for-profit purpose.â€
â€œThe reality,â€ he added, â€œis that the only way we ever sort of get ahead of the game financially is to have some successful shows.â€
Neither Mr. Haimes nor Durst officials would give details about finances.
There are risks that come with taking on one more production â€" in a leased theater, no less â€" even if that production has all the signs of being a smash. But, Mr. Haimes said, â€œthereâ€™s a risk with everything.â€
Henry Millerâ€™s Theater, named for an actor, director and producer has a serious pedigree; Thornton Wilderâ€™s â€œOur Townâ€ opened there in 1938. But it had been more or less out of the Broadway business when â€œCabaretâ€ moved in. In 2003 plans for the Bank of America Tower, between Broadway and the Avenue of the Americas, were announced.
The Georgian facade was protected by landmark status, and, though the insides have been gutted, the developer was bound by state regulations to keep the space a working theater. The $30 million renovation is under way, though for now only a bare intimation of a theater can be made from concrete and scaffolding.
There are no plans to change the theaterâ€™s name.
Who would have ever guessed a mayonnais factory preceeded the Loew’s Triboro Theater at that site? Isn’t history amazing?
Wow Warren, you really went digging for all that, didn’t you? You’re a plethora of information; thanks again.
Yep, the Modells store was where the Arcade Theater stood. Thanks Warren. Even as a child when it was a supermarket and later a discount store I didn’t know it used to be a theater. Since it’s so large I’m assuming the structure was altered from a theater for retail purposes, as opposed to being razed.
Thanks Warren, from the photo it appears to be the exact location of where Modells is today.
Warren is right about the parking lot having been P.S. #6, which I remember standing there when I was a kid in the 1960s, and I later recall them tearing it down in the late 1960s. I also recall the large store which is now Modells. It used to be a supermarket in the 1960s (I don’t recall the name), but I remember the unusually tall ceiling, so it can easily have been the theater in question. When a store is unusually large in Astoria, it was either converted from a theater (as the Steinway Theater became Lerner’s), or it was build that way for a chain store such as Woolworth’s and Genovese were on adjacent corner’s of Steinway & 31st Ave.
I now know where that theater stood. Today on that corner spot stands a Sports and Orthopaedic Clinic. Some of the tracks Warren mentions were visible on the adjacent overpass which goes over the GCP, but it collapsed 2 years ago, and they are still rebuilding it; I doubt any of those tracks will remain will remain once the overpass is completed.
Wow, where do you come up with these classic images Warren? Except for the cars and people’s outfits, it was how I remembered Steinway & 30th Avenue intersection in the 1960s.
Great photo Warren, brings back memories of how I remembered the theater. I recall this theater and the RKO Keith were the only ones where I used to prefer to sit in the balcony section to see the features so I could admire the architectural reliefs on the walls and ceiling.
Just an update, they are building a huge monstrosity on the old Variety Theatre site, 20 stories high, probably another NYU dorm building. Last week there was a huge crane accident, they closed off the surrounding streets around 13 Street & 3rd Avenue, took a couple of days until they removed the all the dangers. I don’t believe anybody was seriously hurt though. What a drastic change to the neighborhood, so sad.
Wow Warren, you’re a plethora of information, not to mention a never ending stream of ads and images. Thanks so much.
Wow, great photos of the Beacon Theater, it is still a treasure. I recall seeing a couple of retro films here, first Giant, and then I believe a Marilyn Monroe double feature. I’ve seen several concerts over the years too.
Thanks for sharing EdSolero.