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We are losing, by degrees, the structures that make New York City special. Pretty soon this town will look like every other city. When will we learn, that almost every real estate investor is only looking for the fast return? How will a condo on the site of the Hamilton contribute to the history and to what makes New York special? It won’t, but it will make this developer some money.
Is Harry Cipriani the only group that sees potential in these beautiful old spaces? Look at the old Bowery Bank branch across from Grand Central Terminal or the Cipriani Ballroom on Wall Street. The idea is not copy protected, so why isn’t any other developer trying to use what is there. Why do we have to lose the old Loew’s Victoria and potentially the Hamilton?
These places, so much part of the fabric of this city, are irreplaceable on many levels. No one does that kind of plasterwork anymore for one thing. Another aspect of the possible destruction of the Hamilton is, to quote Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, “Is it not cruel to let our city die by degrees, stripped of all her proud monuments, until there will be nothing left of all her history and beauty to inspire our children? If they are not inspired by the past of our city, where will they find the strength to fight for her future? Americans care about their past, but for short term gain they ignore it and tear down everything that matters. Maybe… this is the time to take a stand, to reverse the tide, so that we won’t all end up in a uniform world of steel and glass boxes.” We will be judged no by what we have built, but by what we have destroyed.
I am wrong again, I actually can see the multiplex that put the Showboat out of business. The Showboat is now a Trader Joe’s. It shared the parking lot with a restaurant on a retired ferry boat, The Binghampton. The restaurant closed and the Binghampton is half sunk and it looks as if it is collapsing.
That always bugged me too. I think I can see it from my apartment over there in Jersey. Why “Showboat”? I know it’s by the river but there is nothing showboatesque about it.
I am wrong in my post from 2009. The theater would be in what is now the field next to the new building that houses a school. P.S. 179 is what is was called when I was a kid, then it was home to West Side High School.
Ed, sorry it took nearly a year to answer you. The 116th street entrance was totally altered at some point. I think that KenRoe’s May 8th 2006 post has a link to his picture of the new 116th street entrance. As always, the larger part of the structure is on the cheaper land, in this case 115th street. I am dying to get in there as I would not be surprised if the the interior has a great deal of original detail.
Me too! I have been waiting to see for decades, since I first saw the building from the B train in the very early 80’s. Thank you!
SAVE LOEW’S VICTORIA page on Facebook:
Also, Ed Solero, that is the box office but it is not a free standing one. It is still there though. The entry is rather small for such a large theater.
Thank you Nicholas for the credit. I have been posting this all over the place.
I read an article yesterday from the New York Daily News and I can’t believe it. The State of New York has cleared a final hurdle for the development of the the site upon which sits my beloved Loew’s Victoria. This treasure designed by the great Thomas Lamb will become part of a hotel and apartment tower which will be built on the site and the lobby and foyer of the Victoria will be preserved and used as part of a ballroom conference and convention venue in the new space.
However the auditorium will have to be demolished the developer says. Why is there not one thought about saving the auditorium? That is the space that could serve as a convention center, even a ballroom. The theater is not in such horrible shape, it can be saved. Harry Macklowe tried to demolish the Hudson Theater but was stopped. His plans thwarted, he accepted defeat and restored the theater and uses it as a conference room / convention space. Why not the Victoria?
Instead of being excited by this, I hope Harlem wakes up before all of it’s too late, before all the treasures are gone and the “white hot” 125th street corridor is just another mall that could be any where in this country.
To paraphrase the New York Times, it’s the buildings that make a city special and we will be judged not by what we have built but what we have destroyed. To paraphrase another New Yorker “enough already”. When will we learn that we live in the most special city in the world and it got that way through it’s buildings, whether a tenement, a mansion or a theater and the people who built them and those who use them.
I think that this theater was once called the Alden and actually on Columbus Avenue. The Douglas Houses replaced rows of buildings between 100th Street and 104th street from Amsterdam to Columbus. I am posting a picture that was taken sometime between 1938 and 1940. The 9th Avenue El is still there so it is prior to it’s demolition in 1940.
Ed, I put some pictures on the Riverside Theater page as well.
The Midtown, later called the Metro, then the Metro Twin, was gutted some point over the last 5 years. The facade was Landmarked but the interior was not. Urban Outfitters was going to move in there but instead took a space in the sore thumb of Broadway on the Upper West Side, the Ariel West. Sephora was rumored to be interested but again nothing happen. I would not be surprised if there are / were structural issues that would be expensive to correct. This would explain why two big chains passed on the site. The facade needs a cleaning and the marquee is still there (albeit shored up with support columns).
To DJM78: That fifth theater with the separate entrance was the last theater to be carved out of the Kingsway which had been twinned then quaded. That fifth theater had to have been the stage once upon a time, given the way it was situated to the rest of the theater. If my memory serves and it has been over 20 years, the theater ran parallel to Coney Island Avenue but the fifth theater ran perpendicular to Coney Island Avenue. The old Strand on 47th street & Broadway had a similar conversion as the stage was used as a theater with a separate entrance on 47th Street.
I too am sorry to be off topic. I wish I got into the Harlem Opera House. What a loss. It was a bowling alley at the end. Did you get any pictures?
I have been trying to get into the Victoria for years.
I just added a new photo in the photo section for this theater. The marquee names the the theater “Loew’s 116th” and the photo has to be from 1957 or 1958. It is summer and the pictures playing there … well the titles speak for themselves but they date this photo. “Hit and Run” dates from 1957 and starred Vince Edwards (aka Dr. Ben Casey). Also in the picture was Julie Mitchum, Robert’s sister. She introduced her younger brother to acting by getting him onstage at the Long Beach Playhouse. “Delinquents” is also from 1957. This picture, budgeted at $65,000 grossed over $1,000,000. Shot on location in Kansas City, Mo. (I wonder if the Loew’s Midland appears somewhere in this picture), it was directed by Robert Altman.
DaveM, The Cort Theater which is a Broadway House is a Lamb theater as is the Loew’s Canal, the RKO Hamilton, The Regent and the Victoria. The Cort is in great shape. The Hamilton is not quite a wreck but is in not great shape but there does not appear to be too much water damage, However, I photographed it in 2006 and it was photographed recently and there has been some more vandalism, graffiti mostly. The Regent is a church and is in decent shape. The Victoria is on it’s way to be landmarked hopefully as is the old Loew’s Canal. These theaters are intact and salvageable. You are right though, it is very disheartening.
I love the new picture. I grew up nearby and I remember the stores were occupied up til the end. So this must be close to the end. There was a Barton’s Candy store and a liquor store that I clearly remember in addition to “Chess City” and the “Eat Shoppe” on the corner of 96th street. Years ago I met the son of the owner of that liquor store. He is a few years older than me and told me tales of his explorations of these beautiful theaters.
The fact that an agency like the FAA (no offense to them but they are not known for historic preservation) basically stalled the possible destructive reuse of the Keith’s astounds me. LPC should have realized what we, the City of New York, were about to lose. It was something that should have been done years ago. Perhaps it is a ruin, perhaps it is un-salvageable, I do not know. However, is not the Roman Forum a ruin? Should it have been covered up and re-purposed into a condo? Instead, the Italian Government uncovered it as a reminder of what was once upon a time.
We have too many “used to be’s” in this town. This is where the Roxy Theatre used to be, this is were Lindy’s used to be, this is where the Vanderbilt mansion used to be. This is where Pennsylvania Station used to be. As a New York City tour guide I am constantly pointing out the “used to be’s” and I always praise the efforts of LPC over the years. However, there will come a point when New York will lose too much, more of our historic structures will disappear and we will lose what separates this city from the rest of this country – it’s character. “We will be judged not by what we have built, but by what we have destroyed.
The panel just to the left was altered when an air conditioning vent was added. These panels where around the dome.
As per Flame’s comment of 8/3/2009 the Nemo became a Daitch Shopwell. A similar fate of the old Stoddard Theater on 90th and Broadway (also a Lamb house)which too became a Daitch. The Nemo Daitch became a D'agostino’s and then the structure was eventually torn down. The Nemo was entirely gutted. A demolition worker allowed me to peek in after I convinced him the structure had been a theater at one point. The new building on the site was completed in 2004.
The Nemo stood at the south east corner of 110th and Broadway. The Rite Aid is across Broadway on the south west corner.
The developer of this new building destroyed the exterior prior to demolition to ward off any possibility of landmarking by LPC.
The mural above the proscenium appeared to be Christopher Columbus discovering “America”. There seemed to be that theme running through this house. A panel in the ceiling depicted Columbus taking his case to the King and Queen of Spain.