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There’s really nothing to see of the venue that Google StreetView doesn’t already show. It really is just a tiny storefront entrance with a blue sign that reads “Cinema”. That’s in part because until two years or so ago the township mandated that all stores in the shopping plaza that the cinema is at one end of have signs of the identical blue font and size.
More importantly the passive-aggressive tone is obnoxious.
An ad for Empire at the Empire. How appropriate.
This can’t be the 42nd street theatres. Both building visible here are completely wrong in size and architectural detail. I don’t know where this actually is, and it’s a strange coincidence that there’d be a Liberty right next to an Empire, but these are clearly not the same theatres.
True. But a big reason for the ShubertShubert dragging their feet on the new theatre on the 45th–46th plot they own (the site of the former Klaw Theatre) is the aforementioned concerns with oversaturation.
The return of the Hudson to legit use is being spearheaded by the Ambassador Theatre Group (the new owners of the Lyric, and the largest owner of West End theatres), not one of the existing big 3. It’s those companies that have resisted adding more theatres, as it would dilute the value of their existing inventory. Apparently, according to the scuttlebutt, ATG looked at the Times Square as well, but the concerns regarding a lack of off 42nd loading area have made them reluctant, as has been the case with prior interested parties as well. The Liberty (which is in far better shape, and has a loading dock on 41st) looks more likely if they were to try to add a third Broadway theatre.
Sudden developments here. The sign out front says its under new management and temporarily closed, while the theatre
Is no longer listed on the Bow Tie website. No news I can see about it anywhere.
Wow, that list is a master list of every major film of the first 25 years of my life and then some.
Question, though. Does anyone have the capacity of this place when it was a movie theatre? The 2100 figure is for the current concert venue for concerts with general admission, but the figure is 1166 for reserved seating. (They put out a lot of folding chairs. 568 according to their seating chart.) so I wonder what the capacity was when it was all fixed seats.
Fortunately the entire Theatre District (or “Theater Subdistrict” in city planning documents) is subject to all sorts of requirements when it comes to theatre preservation. That’s part of the reason they were removed, because they are already subject to preservation. So the alarmism isn’t necessary.
Of course, the one thing not mentioned in the wailing and gnashing of teeth regarding these theatres is that one screen movie theatres are totally out of the question these days (see the fate of the Ziegfeld), so the only possible use is legit theatre. And the existing Broadway producers and landlords (the Shuberts, Nederlanders and Jujamcyn) were afraid to over saturate the inventory of theatres, so that’s why it took new landlords to even bring back the three that did return to Broadway use, and even then one is Disney’s own (not rented out), one is used just by Roundabout (again, not rented out) and one is a total barn that is only for mega-musicals (and is currently rented to Cirque du Soleil). That inventory issue is a valid concern.
This is the prior Wallack’s at 30th & Broadway, demolished 1915, not the 42nd St one.
Actually, the Liberty’s original lobby became part of the Ripley’s Odditorium. Apparently there is still a connecting door between the two that’s kept locked. But it is possible to go through the restaurant into the auditorium.
Correction to the above description: there’s only one 150ish seat theatre at this space. The other two blackbox theatre spaces mentioned are nearby at 8th & 43rd, and owned by the same company (Roy Arias Studios), so they’re on the same website, but those are not here. The current 777 theatre is really just on of the two former movie auditoriums converted to live theatre use, while Grey Line Sightseeing is still using the other one. (It’s also not a triplex, nor has it ever been.)
This place would make a great cabaret/piano bar type performance space.
Actually, neither of these statements are accurate. Firstly, there never were any orchestra boxes, just a pair of murals (long ago painted over) where such boxes would be; the theatre was always intended as a small cinema, and didn’t have a true procenium stage setup. And the floor wasn’t leveled, it just never had much slope to begin with.
Well it’s now 2014, and the hotel on the upper floors is about to Koenig not already. Best part is they have kept the theatre for use as a performance venue, with the first concerts already scheduled. Good to see it preserved like that.
So it seems the Famous Dave’s has closed (I went there once on a Friday night just after all the shows got out; it was pretty empty, so I’m not surprised.) But the front portion, where the bar is, is still operating as the “Liberty Diner”, while the main auditorium is available as a rental reception space. See libertytheaterny.com
Based on the height above the sidewalk, that “nowhere” is probably the loading dock.