Arena Theatre

623 Eighth Avenue,
New York, NY 10018

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Showing 12 comments

robboehm on November 26, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Could somebody link the Village photo with it’s site on CT.

AlAlvarez on November 26, 2012 at 4:31 am

Great find, biff33.

The Village theatres below is also a rare photo.

Shame the site won’t allow a print feature.

biff33 on November 26, 2012 at 1:38 am

The magazine referred to by Joe Vogel has a nice pic of the exterior. It is visible here:

Tinseltoes on June 5, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Sorry! That was my first (and now final) attempt to link to that website. I have now removed it. Those wishing to view those two B&W photos of the 8th Avenue facade and of the auditorium should consult the August 1st, 1920 issue of Architecture Magazine, which can be found on many library computer systems via ProQuest.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on June 5, 2012 at 4:00 am

That site seems to require a log-in, TT.

philologist on November 12, 2010 at 4:01 am

To Lost Memory : I’ve just turned 85 and as a young boy I would frequent the Arena every Sat. that is if I had the 10 cents for the price of admission. 1934 to ? 1940.

You noted : “If both roof and inside theatre are used at the same time,” The roof theatre must have been closed before 1934 as nothing existed above the theatre itself. Trivia…. Adjacent to the entrance, on the North side was a small shop that sold a hot dog and a fairly large stein of root beer for, believe it or not, for a NICKEL!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 23, 2010 at 2:33 pm

According to the January, 1918, issue of the trade journal Architecture and Building, the Arena Theatre was designed by the firm of Eisendrath & Horwitz.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on February 17, 2008 at 7:30 pm

See my previous comment for April 23, 2005 concerning the virtually unknown presentation of De Sica’s I bambini ci guardano / The Children Are Watching Us at the Arena Cinema Verdi under the title of The Little Martyr. And see the newspaper ad here.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on April 23, 2005 at 9:50 pm

Thanks for the tip. I will pursue that the next time I am in Manhattan. And I know Italian.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 23, 2005 at 4:26 pm

There is an interesting pamphlet about Arena Cinema Verdi in the Billy Rose Theater Collection at the Library of the Performing Arts in Lincoln Center, NYC. It tells the history of Cinema Verdi and all of the movies shown up until then, including those set for the Arena at the time of publication. The only problem is that it’s written entirely in Italian, so I wasn’t able to get too deeply into it. To find this pamphlet, you must request the clippings file for the Princess Theatre. The pamphlet somehow got in there after the Princess took over the Cinema Verdi policy. The library has no clippings file for the Arena Theatre.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on April 23, 2005 at 2:13 pm

Thanks for clarifying the exact location of this incarnation of “Cinema Verdi,” which was seems to have been more like a peripatetic forum for Italian movies. In looking at ads of this movie theatre, I wasn’t quite sure which side of Eighth Avenue it was on. A New York Times ad from April 25, 1947 for the Arena Cinema Verdi promotes the American premiere of a movie called “The Little Martyr,” described in the ad as “a pulsating drama of childhood.” This was in fact director Vittorio De Sica’s first truly great film, the 1943 “I bambini ci guardano”…which later was retitled to a more accurate “The Children Are Watching Us.” Incredibly, it was not reviewed by the New York Times at the time! Only four months later De Sica’s “Shoe Shine” would open at the Avenue on 6th Avenue to ecstatic reviews. If critics (and audiences) had been aware of De Sica’s perevious film on childhood, shown recently two blocks away, they might have made some connections to and references to that earlier masterpiece. Not until a 1985 16mm run at the Thalia Soho did the Times review it for Richard Schwarz’s presentation. The film, however, had already circulated in 16mm prints for non-theatrical showings and had already had other archival showings at film museums.