Silver Star Playhouse

223 Park Row,
New York, NY 10038

Unfavorite 1 person favorited this theater

Showing 12 comments

Deelee on February 11, 2013 at 6:51 pm

The theater, if it existed until the 1960’s was probably torn down to make way for Chatham Green, a high rise coop, first of its kind in Chinatown, which was established in 1962. My grandmother, Harold’s wife, and my aunt and uncle were among the first residents.

Deelee on February 11, 2013 at 6:47 pm

Chinese films were definitely shown at the Silver Star. In the course of doing some research about my family for an upcoming exhibition at the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) in downtown NYC, we confirmed that my grandfather, Harold L. Lee, was an owner of the Silver Star in the 1940’s-1950’s. We have a marble pen and pencil desk set engraved “Given to Harold L. Lee by the NY Chinese Film Exchange”. My uncles worked at the theater, importing Chinese films from Hong Kong and and interpreting them into English for censorship purposes. We also have some letterhead for the Film business. Living relatives remember going to the theater and sitting in the balcony and that the theater, located then at 223 Park Row, was on the present site of 217 Park Row.

frankmondial on September 20, 2012 at 7:07 am

from frankmondial re 1960s Chinese films in Park Row: Hello. I am Australian-based and very interested especially in comments from jflundy on both the Silver Star and Venice theatres. If I understand you correctly, both theatres were on Park Row and at some time showed Chinese films. From research on the life of Esther Eng, whose “Esther Eng” restaurant was located firstly in upper Manhattan then in Pell Street, Chinatown, in the 1960s – she rented a theatre in “Park Row” (again in the 1960s I think) to show Chinese films. She herself had directed Chinese films in Hong Kong and the US during the 1930s and 1940s as well as, from around 1950, operating 5 restaurants in Manhattan until her death in 1970 – including Bo Bo on Mott Street from 1950. My information suggests she distributed and exhibited Chinese films in a Park Row theatre – perhaps the Silver Star or the Venice? I’d be glad to hear anything that either refutes or confirms the idea of either of those two theatres being the one she rented in the 1960s. Thank you very much.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on August 31, 2010 at 5:35 am

Yes, Bway. The one behind it is the Venice.

View link

Bway on August 31, 2010 at 5:04 am

Here’s a great photo of the Park Row theater in it’s early days. There’s another theater a few buildings now, but can’t make out the name of it. Anyone know?

View link

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 21, 2010 at 3:43 pm

The Film Daily Yearbooks list this as the Park Row in 1945 and the Silver Star in 1946.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on May 5, 2008 at 5:16 pm

Here is a link to the photo featured in “By the El”

View link

BrooklynJim on February 9, 2008 at 3:20 pm

The 1995 hardcover “By the El: The Third Avenue El at Mid-Century” Stelter book referenced by J.F. Lundy was out-of-print (and out-of-price range!) until recently. A softcover second edition, complete with modern updates, has been published and is available for a modest $19.95. The theater shots alone from this book were worth every penny. I was able to secure a copy last December at the NYC Transit Museum Annex store in Grand Central Station. Hopefully, some CTer with access to the book and a scanner can post a pic of the Silver Star atop this page.

[As an aside, should I mention the new Chinese Christmas film sequel to “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon?” is called “Crouching Reindeer, Hidden Log?]


jflundy on December 15, 2007 at 1:52 pm

The Silver Star was located a very short distance from the Venice Theater on the smae side of the street. The Venice showed late run double features and at the end also showed Chinese movies. A color photo showing both is in the book “By the El” by Lawerence Stelter.

BrooklynJim on October 28, 2006 at 8:40 am

The Silver Star Theatre, as it was also known at some point in the 1940s, specialized in Chinese films. The theater name and marquee were written entirely in Chinese characters, translated this week by a lady friend of mine. (Thank you, Linlin!)

It is not listed in my 1944 redbook edition of the “Complete Street Guide to Manhattan and the Bronx,” but for whatever reason, many other prominent NYC theaters were omitted. The Park Row address above agrees with its proximity to Chinatown: Pell, Mott and Doyers Streets are all within rock-throwing distance. Silver Star was accessible by two elevated lines which shared trackage in lower Manhattan from South Ferry to Chatham Square, the station closest to the theater – the 2nd Ave. El (until 1942) and the Third Ave. El (until it, too, ceased NYC operations May 12, 1955).

A brief shot of the Silver Star Theatre – in color – is available on Mark1Video’s VHS tape, “New York Els Vol. 1.” (It also has one of the Variety Photoplay Show Theatre on 3rd Ave. & 14th St.) I plan to obtain the DVD version in the near future and hopefully can transfer a pic of each to their respective CT pages. Stay tuned…

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on September 2, 2005 at 9:50 am

The Rome Theatre is listed in Film Daily Yearbook’s;1926 and 1927 editions with a seating capacity of 400. In the 1930 edition of F.D.Y. a seating capacity of 366.

By the 1941 edition of F.D.Y. it is listed as the 366 seat capacity Park Row Theatre (same in 1943)

In the 1950 edition of F.D.Y. it is listed as the Silver Star Playhouse with 365 seats. Not listed by 1957.