Academy Theatre

287 E. Houston Street,
New York, NY 10002

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Academy Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

This theatre was in operation when, in November of 1921, a porter was instructed by the building’s manager to open a skylight to cool the auditorium. A boy mistook a ray of sunlight hitting the screen for a flame and shouted, “Fire”, causing a hundred people to rush for the exits.

Contributed by Damien Farley

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

bamtino
bamtino on January 17, 2005 at 4:18 pm

A three-story theatre building existed on the site as early as 1910. My research seems to indicate that this location had ceased to be a theatre by at least 1936.
As mentioned in the text, a motion picture theatre was definitely operational in 1921. However, records also show that the landlord, Academy Holding Corporation, purchased 291 East Houston in 1927 with the intention of combining it with their two adjoining buildings (283-287 E. Houston). They were proposing construction of a 1200 seat movie theatre on the 75x100 ft. plot.

teecee
teecee on February 24, 2005 at 12:57 pm

Photo courtesy of the New York Public library:
View link

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on March 3, 2005 at 7:25 pm

The current building at this address has a build date of 1910. I would assume that the store located there now is this former theater.

287 East Houston Street, Lower East Side, New York 10002

Block & Lot #: 00350 – 0018
Building Class: Miscellaneous Store Building (K9)
School District: 1 map/schools
City Council District: 2
Police Precinct: 7 (Crime Statistics)
Political Contributions: search
BUILDING CHARACTERISTICS
Zoning R7-2
Building Size (F x D): 25.00ft x 100.00ft
Lot Size (F x D): 50.00ft x 100.00ft
Building Height: 26
Total Gross Area of Building:
Year Built: 1910
Historic District?: No
Corner Lot?: No
Has Garage?:
Number of Floors: 2

Units: 1

FAR as built: 1.03
Allowable FAR: 3.44

Rollingrck
Rollingrck on October 4, 2005 at 1:55 pm

Academy Theatre then and now. 283 East Houston still stands, I don’t know if 287 was refaced or rebuilt
then (mirrored from NYPL)
View link

Now
View link

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on November 13, 2005 at 7:06 pm

Sheesh… the placelooks boarded and condemned in the “then” photo! Take a look at the sign hanging between the theater and the building on the left. It appears to read “Any information regarding these three buildings … ” then lists the building #’s and lot size (“75x100”) followed by – presumably – a name and phone number to call with inquiries.

Judging by the information above provided by Lost Memory, I assume that two of these parcels were eventually sold and became the 1-story building and adjacent driveway we see in the “now” photo. At minimum, it appears the facade was reduced in height and redone in plain brick, assuming the original theater facade included a high parapet wall. But note that it looks like a tree is growing through the roof of the building in the “now” photo! There must be some kind of alley-way behind the wall on the right edge of the property line which tells me that at least this portion of the old theater was completely rebuilt.

bamtino
bamtino on November 30, 2005 at 2:44 pm

I believe the building in the “now” photo is a functioning business and that the tree is part of a rooftop garden. (Just judging by what I’ve noticed during a daily commute which takes me westbound on E. Houston.)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on June 11, 2006 at 1:56 pm

Listed in the Film Daily Yearbook;1926 edition as having a seating capacity of 299.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 12, 2006 at 9:18 am

The Academy Theatre is listed in the American Motion Picture Directory 1914-1915. There is a large ‘full frontal’ photograph of the Academy Theatre in Vol 13 No. 1 (First Quarter 1981) edition of Marquee, published by the Theatre Historical Society of America. It seems like the photograph was taken at the same time as the ‘then’ picture posted by rollingrock on Oct 4 2005. The caption on the THS photo states that the Academy Theatre was an early Marcus Loew operation and the photo comes from THS Loew’s Collection.

EdSolero: The notice over the center entrance on the THS photo reads;For information regarding these 3 buildings 283-287-291 E. Houston Street- Inquire in Sweater Shop (next door). There are the remains of torn posters over the front doors advertising the Pelestine Theatre and the Avenue A Theatre.

On my recent June 2006 visit to New York I took a look at the current building located at 287 East Houston Street and can confirm it is the Academy Theatre (now with a modified facade) and is in use as tax offices. Yes there is now a rooftop garden on top of the old theatre auditorium!
Here are a couple of photographs I took:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kencta/188231745/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kencta/188232247/

bamtino
bamtino on July 12, 2006 at 10:18 pm

It turns out that, in addition to the tax preparer to which Ken refers, the building is actually home to a rooftop garden design, installation, & maintenance business, accounting for the previously mentioned rooftop garden!
(Sorry, discovered this a few months ago but neglected to post.)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on July 9, 2008 at 9:17 pm

Thus undated photo shows a little different angle than Ken Roe’s shots back in 2006:
http://tinyurl.com/54p9nx

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