Chelsea Theater

312 Eighth Avenue,
New York, NY 10001

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Opened in 1903, on the site of a previous Miners Theatre which had burnt down. By 1914, it had been renamed 8th Avenue Theatre.

By 1925, it had been renamed Chelsea Theatre, and is suffered damage by fire in that year. Seating seemed a lot smaller than 750. I remember it being there in the mid-1950s but don’t recall much about it’s fare or when it closed. The only booking I recall was “Abandon Ship”, a 1957 release.

Contributed by jerry kovar

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

bamtino
bamtino on December 13, 2005 at 3:03 am

I’ll see if I can find out the answer to that. The 1919 references I’ve found match the 312 8th Ave. address.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on September 18, 2006 at 7:26 am

According to the Mary Henderson book, “City and the Theatre”, Miner’s Eighth Avenue Theatre was located at the northeast corner of Eighth Ave and W. 27th St. The old photo shows its facade as being 4 stories high. It was built by Harry Miner as a variety house in 1881.His sons ran it after his death in 1900, and it was rebuilt in 1902 after a fire damaged it. It played burlesque on stage and films; then films only.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on September 18, 2006 at 7:45 am

Correction to the above posting: although the map in the Mary Henderson book shows the theatre at the northeast corner of the intersection, the text indicates the theatre was on the east side of Eighth Ave between W. 26th and W. 27th streets. The author does not indicate what happened to the theatre after the 1902 reopening.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on September 18, 2006 at 8:42 am

The American Motion Picture Directory 1914-1915 lists the 8th Avenue Theatre, 312 8th Avenue.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on September 19, 2006 at 7:34 am

Correcton to the corrections, re: Mary Henderson’s book. The map shows Miner’s at the SOUTHeast corner of Eighth Ave and W. 27th St. The text in the book says the theatre was located between W. 26th and W. 27th streets, on Eighth Ave. I assume that the street numbers are Even on the east side of the Avenue?? It seems likely that Miner’s Eighth Ave. Theatre and the Chelsea Th. are the same. BTW, the map in the Henderson book shows another theatre, the Grand Opera House, originally Pike’s Th. of 1868, in a large building at the northwest corner of Eighth Ave. and W. 23rd St. The author says that it became a RKO movie house which lasted until 1960. What was its name?

42ndStreetMemories
42ndStreetMemories on September 19, 2006 at 11:04 am

In the Chelsea neighborhood of the 1950s, 8th avenue was a dividing line between the Black/Hispanic community (on the east side of 8th), which supported the Chelsea and the Elgin, and the white community (west side of 8th), which supported the RKO 23rd Street and The Terrace on 23rd Street between 8th & 9th. By 1960 they were all gone except for the Elgin which still remains. jk

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 25, 2006 at 7:21 am

The Miner’s Eighth Avenue Theatre is listed in the 1897-98 edition of Julius Kahn’s Official Theatrical Guide. The seating capacity is listed as 2,100— Orchestra: 650, Balcony: 650; Gallery: 800. The proscenium opening was 25 feet wide X 28 feet high; the stage was 26 feet deep. The theatre was on the ground floor. The admission prices ranged from 15 cents to 75 cents. From what I know about this Guide, it’s possible that the seating capacity may be an estimate, on the high side.

Duke1955
Duke1955 on January 17, 2007 at 5:19 pm

I was raised in the Chelsea/Greenwich Village area. I remember “The Chelsea Theatre”. I recall it being a large theater with a balcony. What stands out is spending entire Saturday afternoons watching 2 full length features, 10 cartoons, “cliff-hanging” serials (we called them CHAPTERS), movie-tone newsreel and coming attractions for just 75 cents. Those were the days my friend, we thought they’d never end.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on February 9, 2010 at 7:43 am

New York Times

January 19, 1915 – The spectatators at Miner’s Theatre, 312 Eighth Avenue, were startled during the exhibition of a wild west film …by the three pistol shots…

February 22, 1923 – Old Miner’s Theatre eighth avenue property sold…

April 26, 1925 – The Chelsea, a Movie House, once Miner’s Eighth Avenue, is badly damaged.

This was the second Miner’s Theatre at this location. The first one having burned down in 1902. This is the 1903 theatre, soon to be in the heart of the sleazy tenderloin.

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Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 28, 2011 at 9:59 am

Jerry Kovar has this image of the Chelsea Theatre in his photobucket album. The photo shows the view looking north on Eighth Avenue towards the corner of West 26th Street.

The theatre, the apartments (or offices) above and the two smaller buildings to the left of the theatre entrance are gone and replaced by a corner parking lot. The rest of the block to the south of the theatre, starting with the small two story building to the Chelsea’s right, are still intact, as is the tall building on the opposite corner across W. 26th.

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