Irving Place Theatre

118 E. 15th Street,
New York, NY 10003

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Irving Place Theatre

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Built on the site of an earlier Irving Hall(1860), Amberg’s German Theatre was designed by Theodore C. Stein and Emery Roth (the latter was to become one of Manhattan’s greatest apartment house and hotel designers). It was showing movies in 1916 and again from 1930 to 1952.

From a 1948 ad this appears to be an art cinema. The features were “To Live In Peace” and “La Boheme”. It is listed in a block ad with a theatre called the New Hopkinson in Brooklyn.

It was demolished in 1984.

Contributed by RobertR

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

steg on June 1, 2006 at 1:31 am

The famous artist John Sloan painted a picture of this theater.

Vetteman on July 31, 2006 at 7:34 pm

Does anyone know what time period Burlesque was featured at the Irving Place Theater? I recently puchased a season pass issued by the theater, and I am trying to estimate a time line for it. Originally I would have guessed that this pass dated back to the 1930’s, but the signate is in ball point pen, which was not really prevelant until after World War II

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 28, 2006 at 3:25 pm

In the 1897-98 edition of Julius Cahn’s Official Theatrical Guide, the Irving Place Theatre is described as “…the most prominent German theatre that the city boasts of, where the best German company in the United States can be seen.” The admission prices ranged from 35 cents to $1.50, with boxes selling for $10 and $15. The capacity was 1,528 (1,128 seats plus 400 standing spaces, or “admissions” as the Guide calls them.) The breakdown was: Orchestra: 540, Balcony: 251, Gallery: 279, Boxes: 58. The proscenium opening was 42 feet wide x 29 feet high. The stage was 36 feet deep. The theatre was on the ground floor and there were 14 to 28 members in the house orchestra.

bobmarshall on August 2, 2007 at 1:20 am

I recently walked passed this building, which now bills itself as “The Fillmore at Irving Place,” and lists upcoming concerts (rock acts mostly). I attended one about a dozen or so years ago, and the main floor was for standees or dancers—no seats. Several bagettes and sofas were arranged at the sides. It appeared to have a horse-shoe mezzanine or balcony with boxes & seats.

SPearce on January 10, 2008 at 5:37 am

I happen to have a copy of the NYC edition of the (Communist) Daily Worker of May 10, 1946. Showing at the Irving Place on that date at East 14th St. GR 5-6975 was:

Waltz Time – Story of Old Vienna when the waltz was naughty – (Gay and lilting – N.Y. Post) and The Marx Bros. in “Monkey Business”, then it reads, Held Over “The Liberation of Vienna.”

Historically speaking, perhaps all, or especially “The Liberation…” might have been deemed attractive fare for those who would have read the Daily Worker then. The border of the ad is of a musical score with a dancing couple; clearly the main attraction over “Monkey Business.”

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on May 18, 2008 at 10:50 pm

The Irving Place was a double features subrun arthouse from 1941 to 1950 with a heavy emphasis on Russian films during the war years.

MDchanic on December 19, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Bob Marshall -
“I recently walked passed this building, which now bills itself as ‘The Fillmore at Irving Place…’”

Not in 2007, you didn’t.

This theater was between 14th and 15th streets, at the southwest corner of 15th and Irving, across the street from the Con Ed building. It was demolished years ago to build the miserable Zeckendorf Towers, which now stands on the spot (and also blocks the former “3 towers view” you used to be able to see from the East Village, of the Con Ed, Met Life, and Empire State buildings).

The theater you saw was Irving Plaza, on the northwest corner, which has been a punk rock venue since the seventies (at the start of that time, it was essentially a Ukrainian wedding reception hall that hosted an occasional concert).
I would be interested in knowing the original name of the Irving Plaza, as I’d like to look it up here…

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 16, 2010 at 2:09 am

The Irving Place is often crediting for starting the first domestic Film Festival in 1942, a tribute to films from our allies.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on February 3, 2010 at 2:10 am

This German/Yiddish/Russian/Burlesque house also attempted to be the first Italian film cinema in NYC in 1939.

jedidiah on December 14, 2011 at 6:27 am

To claify some confusion, Irving Plaza, the former punk rock emporium, was across the street, on the north side of 15th street. The Irving Place Theatre was on the south side, between 14th and 15th Streets along Irving Place across the street from the Con Ed building. At some point the entrance to the theatre evidently was transferred to 14th street. I think in its last incarnation it was a warehouse for S. Klein’s department store on Union Square. I remember when I lived on 17th and Irving, I used to walk to the subway on 14th Street and wonder why on the facade of the building were the masks on drama and tragedy. That was all the basically was left on Irving Place to indicate that the building was once a theatre. It was finally torn down in the 1980s and replaced with Zeckendorf Towers which one poster above summed up accurately as “miserable.” It still is.

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