Comments from Lostnyc

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Lostnyc
Lostnyc commented about Venetian Theatre on May 8, 2009 at 8:06 pm

As far as the terra cotta details being similar between the buildings, none of the motifs on either of the buildings are extraordinary or unique (by the standards of the times), and terra cotta was almost a mass produced product in the 20’s.
posted by ziggy"

I totally agree, most of these ornaments in the photos were pretty mundane, pretty as a whole facade, but individually not much to look at, and very mass produced- at least as it was in that era.
By that era they were using templates to shape blocks into various moldings in a way they made plaster ceiling cornices with a running template.

As far as reviving such designs, the plaster molds are long gone, making a mold of an existing piece and making them in clay results in a size loss due to shrinkage of around 10%, that is why new replacements for restoration cant be simply made in terra cotta by molding off originals. However, these flower, geometric and other designs are not rocket science, any decent clay sculptor like myself can easily model any of this stuff from decent photographs, and if need be- made 10% larger to compensate for that size loss as in the case of a restoration need.
Flowers, geometric designs and the like don’t excite me, the ornaments that do- have animal or human faces on them- lions, griffins, Athena etc, getting human faces right and with expression takes a lot more skill than modelling some leaves or geometric designs, it’s at a higher level of quality if done well.

Lostnyc
Lostnyc commented about Venetian Theatre on May 8, 2009 at 7:52 pm

. I remember in Detroit that the Lee Plaza Hotel had beautiful terra-cotta lions illegally stolen out, sold to a architectural salvage company,

Happens, most were found, likely still sitting in a police lock-up while the building continues to rot and eventually gets torn down, then the police might just discard them if they haven’t already. Should have secured the building better and this never would have happened

Lostnyc
Lostnyc commented about Alhambra Theatre on May 27, 2008 at 11:42 pm

I recently bought this 14" wide plaster lion which came from a theater, probably in Indiana, if anyone has any recollection of seeing lions like this in a now demolished theater I’d sure like to hear about it for my historical records for this sculpture;

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Lostnyc
Lostnyc commented about Loew's Commodore Theater on Oct 23, 2007 at 12:05 am

Yeah Al, that’s the wall lantern, one of several, I’m guessing there were 3 or 4 on each side. Wonder what happened to the rest of them being from what I read the place was gutted.
I also seem to remember a small room maybe in the basement that had a small pile of cast iron seat sides that were maybe a dark red color with a small face profile medallion in the center as part of the design, and I seem to remember some marquee letters, I took home one of the seat sides.

Lostnyc
Lostnyc commented about Loew's Commodore Theater on Oct 20, 2007 at 8:58 pm

Sometime around 1976 or even 1975 I found a backdoor to this theater unlocked or it had been pryed open with a crowbar and left slightly ajar. If I remember right and don’t have it confused with the Riviera/Riverside on 96th and Broadway- the basement was totally flooded from the theft of water pipes and vandalism to the flush toilets and sinks in the restrooms.

I removed one of the large brass lanterns that was attached to the wall on the left side near the stage, it was about 5 feet tall made of solid brass supported to a cast iron scrolled bracket that was bolted to the wall. It had frosted glass sides as well. Here’s a photo that shows it a little on the very left;

http://flickr.com/photos/91263176@N00/1662346344/

Lostnyc
Lostnyc commented about Nortown Theater on Oct 15, 2007 at 1:50 am

Super;
BW doesn’t seem to want me to post further on the Nortown models, so I won’t be posting in this page again at all, take care.

Lostnyc
Lostnyc commented about Nortown Theater on Oct 15, 2007 at 1:48 am

Super;
The preservation issue of course no longer applies to THIS theater, it’s history, but it serves here as a reminder of what was lost and what SHOULD have been done, using this information now should be motivational to working towards preventing a repeat when/where ever possible/practical. Of course not every building can ever be saved, and there’s plenty that probably are best left in the landfill.
In this case the owner was quoted by the media as saying he considered saving the building but that “the numbers didnt work out.” Okay, then if this isn’t the place to discuss this, then Im outta here, see ya around I guess.

Lostnyc
Lostnyc commented about Nortown Theater on Oct 14, 2007 at 12:50 pm

Sure thing BW, but in my last two posts I did add a LOT more content relative to preservation and how to get involved in preservation efforts to stop demolition in the first place! The link to my photo in one of the last two posts was an extremely minor, insignificant part- one line in a 37 line post about preservation efforts, and then my last post was a continuation of the tax credits for restoration of historic structures.
I thought that information would be of value to readers here, instead of lamenting the lost after the fact- get angry, get involved and prevent it from happening AGAIN because this WILL happen again and again unless people get involved in a proactive way.
So far I haven’t seen anything here about stopping the destruction or anyone posting about HOW to do that.

Lostnyc
Lostnyc commented about Nortown Theater on Oct 13, 2007 at 7:02 pm

Federal law provides a federal income tax credit equal to 20% of the cost of rehabilitating a historic building for commercial use. To qualify for the credit, the property must be a certified historic structureâ€"that is, on the National Register of Historic Places or contributing to a registered historic district. (Non-historic buildings built before 1936 qualify for a 10% tax credit.) A substantial rehabilitation is necessary, and the work must meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. Applications for the credit are available through your state historic preservation office, and the final decisions are made by the National Park Service. For more information, take a look at our Rehabilitation Tax Credit Guide, prepared by our Community Revitalization Department. In addition, the National Park Service’s website offers helpful information on this tax credit. (At present, individuals rehabilitating a historic property for their primary residence do not qualify for this tax credit.)

Lostnyc
Lostnyc commented about Nortown Theater on Oct 13, 2007 at 6:58 pm

Now that I finished the first model, I started the second one today of the “tragedy” mask

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As I re-read this thread a bit it reminded me to add some comments about preservation, the destruction of the theater, and thousands of similarly historic buildings around the country is in part due to the fact that these buildings have not been landmarked or added to the historic structures list thereby enabling preservation as well as grants, low interest loans and tax credits to their owners, the difference there could mean the difference between destruction and renovation. Any time it is CHEAPER to demolish and build new, they will do it, the idea is to make it LESS expensive to preverve, restore, and adapt these old buildings to new uses.
In my little town the old Carnegie library built 1910 was replaced with a new library around the corner, the attractive little brick building was too small, lacked handicapped access etc. It was offered to a local artist for $1 with the provision he spend $5,000 of his renovation expendature at LOCAL businesses.

He renovated it into a fine dining restaurant, he restored the damaged brickwork perfectly, replaced the florescent lights with period style ceiling lamps and the interior looks like it belongs. As he wanted a small entrance level spot for two outdoor tables, the iron railing he installed was authentic to the 1910 style.
It was a win-win for the city, the new owner and local businesses in every way, and the building was restored and repaired.

Consider joining the National Trust for Historic Preservation and getting their excellent magazine;

http://www.nationaltrust.org/advocacy

Across the nation a teardown epidemic is wiping out historic neighborhoods one house at a time. As older homes are demolished and replaced with dramatically larger, out-of-scale new structures, the historic character of the existing neighborhood is changed forever. Neighborhood livability is diminished as trees are removed, backyards are eliminated, and sunlight is blocked by towering new structures built up to the property lines. Community economic and social diversity is reduced as new mansions replace affordable homes. House by house, neighborhoods are losing a part of their historic fabric and much of their character.
To help arm neighborhood residents, preservationists and local government leaders, the National Trust has published Protecting America’s Historic Neighborhoods: Taming the Teardown Trend to address the origins and impact of teardowns.

Historic neighborhoods can be protected from teardowns, through a variety of tools and approaches that manage this type of growth. Because there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution or “magic bullet” that will stop teardowns, communities should expect to use a combination of tools. To help with this process, the National Trust is working to show models and profile communities that have developed innovative strategies through the online Teardowns Resource Guide.

Lostnyc
Lostnyc commented about Nortown Theater on Oct 10, 2007 at 1:32 pm

I have completed the first of three panels, it went along a lot quicker than I expected- about 5 hours of modelling time;

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I anticipate while this clay model dries, I’ll start the second panel and come back to this one to “clean up” a bit when the clay firms up more.

Lostnyc
Lostnyc commented about Nortown Theater on Oct 6, 2007 at 1:11 am

This is true Batwoman, because buildings in this country don’t last long, and it wasn’t because of the materials- many study buildings that could have lasted 500 years were torn down in 30 because the new owner wanted to modernize or it would cost more to renovate than build new.
The way they built houses in the old days is a lost art almost, you would be hard pressed to find a contractor who even knows how to build a plaster and lath wall as was standard before around 1950. People dont build like that any more too because MOST people dont buy or build a house and live there 30 years, they may stay 5 before having to move.

Wood frames, you mean that pressed glue-board that passes these days as “plywood”? the stuff is garbage, cheap!

Lostnyc
Lostnyc commented about Nortown Theater on Oct 5, 2007 at 9:38 pm

For those who might be interested in learning about or seeing how those salvaged terra-cotta facade ornaments and panels were originally made, I began my reduced scale model of the first of the set of three frieze panel designs that were located on the ground floor facade.

I begin with my wood form built to the size I wanted, in this case roughly 22x14, and this photo shows 75# of clay packed into the form;

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Once that is filled, the clay is then screeded flush and flat with the form;

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And finally, about an hour later the design and it’s guide-lines are roughly drawn on the surface of the clay;

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As I work on this model in the coming week, the design gets developed, deepened refined and detailed, but this is how all of these were done in the old days, and this is how I do them as well.

Randall,
Randall’s Lost New York City.
Sculpture studio and web gallery of historic lost NYC buildings and ornaments.

Lostnyc
Lostnyc commented about Nortown Theater on Sep 28, 2007 at 9:29 am

Thanks BW, but all of the salvagable stuff has been long removed right? All that would remain now is part of a hulk the machines will remove in a matter of days as rubble/site clearance.

Randall,
Randall’s Lost New York City.
Sculpture studio and web gallery of historic lost NYC buildings and ornaments.

Lostnyc
Lostnyc commented about Nortown Theater on Sep 27, 2007 at 10:20 pm

“…doing the salvage on the Nortown”

DID I think you meant to say, It’s my understanding the theater was already gone some time back, I saw the last part of it’s demolition photos on flickr.com I believe, it’s “history” now, no more salvaging left to do.

Randall,
Randall’s Lost New York City.
Sculpture studio and web gallery of historic lost NYC buildings and ornaments.

Lostnyc
Lostnyc commented about Nortown Theater on Sep 27, 2007 at 1:28 pm

I decided on the size of my models to replicate the Nortown frieze panels, the two with the comic and tragic faces as well as the plain Art Deco design, so it will be nice that these will live on and be more widely enjoyed.
The orignals on the theater facade were almost 31" wide and 20" high, as well as about 6" thick, and that’s HEAVY.
My clay models will wind up a nominal 21-1/2″ by 14-1/4″ and maybe 2" thick which is a practical size to display on today’s modern walls.
I expect to be starting on the first one in a week or two.
Randall,
Randall’s Lost New York City.
Sculpture studio and web gallery of historic lost NYC buildings and ornaments.

Lostnyc
Lostnyc commented about Nortown Theater on Sep 6, 2007 at 11:42 pm

View link

Lostnyc
Lostnyc commented about Nortown Theater on Sep 2, 2007 at 8:45 pm

Seen some of the interior around in a Google search for the theater name Cubby, though the quality of some were pretty poor- like newspaper photos scanned.

Randall,
Randall’s Lost New York City.
Sculpture studio and web gallery of historic lost NYC buildings and ornaments.

Lostnyc
Lostnyc commented about Nortown Theater on Sep 2, 2007 at 1:13 am

Re Salvage

I am glad to see saved what could be be saved, I have one of the plaster deco’s from the interior, nothing special about it and its somewhat crumbly, but I like it.
I like the 30"x20" alternating Art Deco facade panels, as a sculptor who specializes in re-creating Victorian and Art Deco elements, I decided to sculpt at least one model of the 3 different Art Deco panels if not all 3, but in a smaller more apartment/home friendly size, I’ll start on a clay model soon as I decide on the size to make it. These are simple designs but attractive, these designs will continue to live on.

Randall,
Randall’s Lost New York City.
Sculpture studio and web gallery of historic lost NYC buildings and ornaments.

Lostnyc
Lostnyc commented about Pantages Theater on Jun 23, 2007 at 1:06 am

What about the Pantages in Seattle? Why isn’t it on this site?

I have one of the large terra cotta lions that held up the marquee

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Lostnyc
Lostnyc commented about Palomar Theatre on Jan 22, 2007 at 9:16 pm

Seen those thanks Lost memory

Lostnyc
Lostnyc commented about Palomar Theatre on Jan 21, 2007 at 3:46 pm

I own one of the terra cotta lions from this theater facade, he appears in this 1949 photo

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Lostnyc
Lostnyc commented about Riviera Theatre on Aug 14, 2005 at 6:20 pm

These theaters were abandoned, and then torn down when I was 16 (1976) and I entered both theaters several times over a period of time.
I removed one of the white glazed terra cotta Columbia face keystones over the marquis on the top floor of what was “Chess city”. and I removed a mohogany newel post cabinet from the Japanese Rootop Garden.
Under the newel post which had a door and cabinet inside it, I found some old ticket stubs, a progran featuring Theda Barra and a 1910 Mercury Dime.
I also removed a small stained glass window from the Riverside’s staircase that was about 10" x 12" with just a flower in it.

I rememevr the Japanese rooftop theater was totally destroyed by vandals, the pipe organ console and a piano in the pit or stage area were smashed and wrecked.

As I remember, the organ was in a loft room on the left and I rememver taking home a few of the smaller wood pipes, the rest of the pipes I believe were still there.
From one of the posts of that loft room I removed a plaster duck head.

I have a couple of rather poor instamatic shots of both buildings, always looking to add more if anyone has any;

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