RKO Jefferson Theatre

214 E. 14th Street,
New York, NY 10003

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Jefferson Theatre exterior

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Jefferson Theatre opened in 1913 as a B.F. Keith’s vaudeville theater in what is now known as the edge of the East Village. Later the RKO Jefferson Theatre, this theater was located at 214 E. 14th Street near Third Avenue. The entrance was a narrow space between two tenement houses with the bulk of the theatre (auditorium) located in 13th Street.

The RKO Jefferson Theatre operated until at least 1977. It lay empty for over two decades and was demolished in 2000. Today, the site is filled with bricks and debris from the demolition and the old Jefferson Theatre has passed on.

Contributed by John Chappell

Recent comments (view all 92 comments)

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on July 29, 2012 at 11:20 am

This was still showing movies in 1977.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on July 30, 2012 at 12:50 am

George Burns mentions this theater many times — on his TV show, in his books, in his act. Apparently there was a real tough crowd in this house.

DougD
DougD on April 28, 2013 at 5:32 pm

The vacant lot will soon be apartments.

http://thejefferson.com/site/home.php

RickB
RickB on April 29, 2013 at 7:16 pm

I love how the apartments are in “North West East Village.” And that would be in the southern half of Manhattan…

bicyclereporter
bicyclereporter on May 11, 2013 at 5:04 pm

There was a brief mention of the theater in this week’s East Villager. Apartments are going up in its place and it said it was demolished 15 years ago.

robertpetrick
robertpetrick on September 3, 2013 at 12:51 pm

I just uploaded a photo I shot of the Jefferson shortly before it was demolished. I may have a better shot and will look for it to post. I would love to see a photo of the marquis in full bloom if somebody has one.

robboehm
robboehm on September 3, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Go to the comments section with a posting by Warren G. Harris on May 4, 2008 which has links to photos of a functioning RKO Jefferson. Also read Warren’s comments elsewhere about the Billy Rose Collection.

hdtv267
hdtv267 on April 7, 2014 at 8:52 am

A very nice little history of the “toughest house in NYC” is found as part of this Frankenstein based blog, which includes some photos as well

http://frankensteinia.blogspot.com/2014/04/frankenstein-in-new-york-frankenstein.html

Hamblin
Hamblin on June 23, 2014 at 4:47 am

An article in The New York Times of January 19, 1913, describes the Jefferson Theatre and Hamilton Theatre (http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/1353), which opened on the 23rd and 25th, respectively. Of the Jefferson, it reports: “A life-sized bust of Thomas Jefferson adorns the main entrance.…A large mural painting over the sounding board shows Thomas Jefferson addressing an assemblage of people of his time.”

“Two New Theatres,” col. 6, The New York Times, January 19, 1913. http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9E0DE1D6123BE633A2575AC1A9679C946296D6CF

Evillage74
Evillage74 on June 23, 2014 at 12:17 pm

There must have been more than one “life-size bust” because the one that I have – here in my possession that I removed from the brick rubble back when it was demolished – is definitely not Thomas Jefferson. It might be Joseph Jefferson but it’s definitely not Thomas Jefferson. I’ll try to upload a pic today. Pretty fun conversation on this old theater! I miss the neighborhood.

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