Academy of Music
126 E. 14th Street,
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The Academy of Music was built by movie mogul William Fox and opened in 1926. The theater was created to fill the gap left by the demolition of its original counterpart across 14th Street at Irving Place. It was one of the major movie theatres in the Union Square entertainment district.
Until the late-1970’s there was still a (barely discernable) large size painting of a ticket that advertised “two features, cartoon and newsreel” for 5 cents.
With the demise of the legendary Fillmore East in 1971, the Academy of Music found new life as the premier mid-range venue for rock and roll music. During the 1970’s it was far removed from the center of the Manhattan movie district, and had an amazing dual life - - - concert hall by night, and home to cheesy kung-fu movies by day. Three or four evenings a week, the cream of 1970’s rock bands came through, three bands a night, shows at 8 & 11:30 PM.
By the late-1970’s it had become a full-time concert venue, eventually re-christened “The Palladium.” In May 1985 the interior was remodeled to become a multi-story disco club of the same name. It was great to be on the upper levels and get to touch the decorations and cornices that had been so high above me, the same ones I had stared at as a child.
Alas, these stories never have happy endings. As with the NYC landmark Luchow’s restaurant (right next door,) New York University swallowed up the property, as they have so often, and demolished all of the buildings in 1997 to construct dormitories for the children of rich folk. Oh well, time marches on.
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