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Bob Marshall -
“I recently walked passed this building, which now bills itself as ‘The Fillmore at Irving Place…’”
Not in 2007, you didn’t.
This theater was between 14th and 15th streets, at the southwest corner of 15th and Irving, across the street from the Con Ed building. It was demolished years ago to build the miserable Zeckendorf Towers, which now stands on the spot (and also blocks the former “3 towers view” you used to be able to see from the East Village, of the Con Ed, Met Life, and Empire State buildings).
The theater you saw was Irving Plaza, on the northwest corner, which has been a punk rock venue since the seventies (at the start of that time, it was essentially a Ukrainian wedding reception hall that hosted an occasional concert).
I would be interested in knowing the original name of the Irving Plaza, as I’d like to look it up here…
The Health Department “code violations” from 1996, mentioned in the second post were probably violations of the City’s anti-AIDS law that targeted gay bathhouses and similar places where one might find quick'n'easy sex.
The expressions “Greek films” and “art films” were euphemisms from the days when it was a violation of the obscenity laws to show or promote porn.
A fascinating detail about this building – In the early nineties, while the theater was still in full operation, I had occasion, in a work capacity, to visit the upstairs “caretaker’s duplex apartment.” It was accessed through a very narrow, hidden-panel type door behind the box office, which led to flights of stairs. There I encountered an office-like apartment with a very integrated and cool 1960’s design, with a number of old-style 5-line telephones visible on end tables, etc. It was occupied by a pleasant, grandmotherly woman. Someone there said it was the apartment of the owner of the three theaters on the block (Eros, Capri, and Venus). I asked whether the elderly woman was the owner’s mother, and was told, “No, stupid, she IS the owner.”
I went to Stuyvesant High on 15th between 1st and 2nd, and used to go to the St. Marks for a double feature every now and then in the late ‘70’s / early '80’s – it was 25 or 50 cents to get in, no tickets, you walked through a single turnstile past the box office. Always double features, and the bill changed every week on Thursday.
Saw Monty Python and the Holy Grail there.
Made out with my first girlfriend in the back row one afternoon – ‘till we got the flashlight from the usher.
It still feels wrong every time I walk past where the marquee used to be.