New Law Theatre

23-27 Second Avenue,
New York, NY 10003

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 17, 2013 at 4:30 pm

The M&S circuit took over this house in 1922, according to this item from the March 18 issue of Real Estate Record and Builders Guide:

“Leases a New East Side Theatre

“The newly organized New Law Theatre Corporation, having for directors B. and C. Mayer and L. Schneider, leased for a term of 10 years the 2-sty theatre building, 40.0x70, at 23-27 Second av. M. D. Bohrar, attorney, represents the new company.”

The January 14 issue of the same publication had noted that, on January 4, the M&S circuit had bought the theater at 13-17 Second Avenue (the Woolworth Theatre, later called the Majestic.)

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 12, 2012 at 2:39 pm

My mistake on the vintage image – it is an undated photo, labeled only “early 20th Century.”

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 12, 2012 at 2:05 pm

There is a vintage image on this page, dated April 1910 (scroll down just a bit) that shows several theaters at the lower end of 2nd Avenue. On the lower left side of the photo, one can make out the marquee for the Woolworth Theatre, which is listed here as the Majestic Theatre, and just a bit beyond that on the next block one can see the marquee for the New Law – with the word “Photoplays” spelled out.

And still further beyond the New Law, there is another marquee that appears to be advertising “Tickets” and which I believe may belong to the 2nd Avenue Theatre.

Judith Thissen
Judith Thissen on November 6, 2007 at 2:17 pm

Warren: I don’t think so in this particular case. The New Law refers to the new building code for moving pictures. When this bill was passed in July 1913, many 300-seat nickelodeons (mostly storefronts) were demolished and replaced by 600-seat theaters. Usually the adjacent plot was bought to do this because the standard lot size in Manhattan was too small for a 600-seat theater. Some of the newly opened theaters got new names (e.g. Essex Street Theater became the Palace Theater) others kept their old name but the word new was added (e.g. New Delancey Street Theater).

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 6, 2007 at 1:59 pm

There is a New Singer Theatre listed in the 1926 edition of Film Daily Yearbook, located at 375 Stone Avenue, Brooklyn (600 seats). It is listed until at least 1930.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 6, 2007 at 1:30 pm

Perhaps there was more than one theatre, the first one called the Law Theatre, and a later one called the New Law, not necessarily at the same location?

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 6, 2007 at 12:30 pm

I don’t have any records in my documents for a New Singer (or Singer) Theatre operating in Manhattan as a movie theatre.

Judith Thissen
Judith Thissen on November 6, 2007 at 12:26 pm

No idea. Doesn’t ring any bells.

Judith Thissen
Judith Thissen on November 6, 2007 at 11:43 am

Intriguing. I never came across an Astor theater on 2nd Avenue in my sources (mostly Yiddish press of the 1910s). To whom would they have catered? The 1914-15 year + 600-seat capacity suggest that is was built under the city’s new building code of 1913 (Folk’s Ordinance).

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 6, 2007 at 10:24 am

In the 1914-1915 edition of American Motion Picture Directory the Astor Theatre is listed at 133 Second Avenue.

The New Law Theatre and the St. Marks Theatre are both listed under their respective addresses in the 1926 edition of Film Daily Yearbook.

Judith Thissen
Judith Thissen on November 6, 2007 at 10:24 am

I checked my 1921 Bromley’s map once more. The St. Marks theater had the lobby/entrance at 133 Second Avenue (next to the Public Library), but the theater was actually located around the corner at 35-37 St. Marks Place (E 8th Street).

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 6, 2007 at 10:00 am

The St. Marks Theatre is listed on this site here:
/theaters/11089/

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 6, 2007 at 9:55 am

The 1926 edition of Film Daily Yearbook lists the St. Marks Theatre (600 seats) at 133 Second Avenue.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 6, 2007 at 9:30 am

I’ve looked again at the ad for the M&S New Law Theatre in the September 3, 1922 issue of The New York Times, and the address now looks more like 133 Second Avenue than 139 Second Avenue. If anyone wants to examine it for themselves, please contact me privately at .com, and I’ll send them a copy of the ad.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 6, 2007 at 7:44 am

A photograph of the New Law Theatre building that I took in October 2007:
http://flickr.com/photos/kencta/1890178878/

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 18, 2007 at 10:21 am

Judith, the Paramount bookings at the New Law Theatre were not first-run. In fact, they might have been last-runs. In those days, the new movies opened only in one theatre in the Broadway/Times Square area, and then gradually reached other theatres, depending on their size and importance. The 1922 ad that I mentioned took up a full page in The New York Time and included many theatres, not just the New Law, which was listed less prominently than some of the others.

Judith Thissen
Judith Thissen on April 18, 2007 at 8:21 am

On the Bromley’s Atlas of Manhattan of 1921 there is no theater at 139 Second Av (139 is right next to the former German Dispensary — a red brick building which is still there and part of the NY Public Library, if I remember well). The address I have in my files (conveyances, records of the bureau of building) for the New Law Theater is 23-27. 23-29 is the location on the 1921 map
What is a bit surprising is that the New Law advertises for a recent Paramount picture (The Dictator). In the late twenties, the M & S circuit did no longer have good access to mainstream Hollywood productions. Their programs mainly featured B-films from small production companies (including many Jewish-theme films).

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 18, 2007 at 6:57 am

The theatre was advertised in The New York Times of September 3rd, 1922 as the M&S New Law Theatre, with an address of 139 Second Avenue, which is a different building number from the introduction above. Which is correct? At the time, the New Law was participating in the national “5th Annual Paramount Week” by showing Paramount’s “The Dictator,” to be followed two days later by “The Loves of Pharaoh.”

Judith Thissen
Judith Thissen on January 28, 2006 at 4:18 am

The New Law Theater opened in 1913, just after the introduction of a new building code that regulated the construction of movie theater in New York City (hence its name). It was one of the first theaters operated by the M & S chain of Mayer and Schneider. The architect was Louis Sheinart.

bamtino
bamtino on August 30, 2005 at 10:43 am

I’ve now found references to the theatre, as a motion picture exhibitor, as early as 1923.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on August 29, 2005 at 7:17 am

Listed as the New Law Theatre in Film Daily Yearbook;1926 edition with a seating capacity of 600. The 1930 edition of F.D.Y. Gives a seating capacity of 535 and lists the New Law Theatre as ‘Closed’