Mecca Theatre

227-241 Avenue A,
New York, NY 10009

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Mecca Theatre, on New York's East Side in 1926

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Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 2, 2004 at 10:58 am

The Mecca first opened in 1926 and was one of four theatres on the Lower East Side built and operated by Harry Blunderman and Charles Stemer. The others were the Palestine, at Clinton & Suffolk Streets; the New Apollo (later leased to Loew’s) on Clinton near Delancey; and the Ruby, at Essex & Rivington Streets. The 1,947-seat Mecca was at least one theatre too many for 14th Street and closed circa 1934-35, with occasional and brief re-openings after that until it was demolished for the building of Stuyvesant Town. It was never more than a third or fourth-run movie house.

bamtino on September 10, 2005 at 9:05 pm

Purchased by MetLife, for the aforementioned building of Stuyvesant Town, in 1943, the theatre’s address was 227-241 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009 (?).
Since the address, and indeed, the section of Avenue A upon which it rested, no longer exists, it will not map properly and I can’t be certain of the zip code.

Judith Thissen
Judith Thissen on November 6, 2007 at 12:58 pm

There was a small movie theater at 235 Avenue A as early as 1908. According to the Trow’s Business Directory, it was run by one I. Decristofore in 1908 and one Joseph Totora in 1909 (probably Italian nickelodeon operators). The Graves' Motion Picture Theater Directory of 1918 lists the house under the name Fingers (?) Theater.

Like many independent theater owners, Charles Steiner lost control over most of ‘his’ theaters in the mid 1930s as a result of the Depression and unfair competition from Hollywood-owned theaters.

Judith Thissen
Judith Thissen on November 7, 2007 at 1:11 am

In 1922, the theater at 235 Avenue A was known as the East Side Beauty Theater.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 7, 2007 at 5:06 am

The American Motion Picture Directory;1914-1915 edition lists a Royal Theatre at 235 Avenue A.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 7, 2007 at 6:29 am

Perhaps ladies could get a free permanent wave and facial while attending the East Side Beauty Theatre.

Judith Thissen
Judith Thissen on November 7, 2007 at 8:04 am

There was a New 14th Street Theater located at 235-237 E 14th Street. It was built in 1915 and operated by the SWS chain, which also ran the Sunshine Theater and the American Movies Theater.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 12, 2008 at 8:20 am

The Mecca Theatre & Building proved a flop from the start, and was sold at public auction in 1928 for $286,000, according to reportage in The New York Times. In addition to the 2,000-seat auditorium, the building had 16 stores, plus a pool hall and offices on the second floor. The property occupied the entire block front on the west side of Avenue A between 14th and 15th Streets. The frontage was 206.6 feet on Avenue A and 94 feet on each side street. The Mecca Theatre was dark for long periods, and was then used as an indoor tennis court and finally a furniture warehouse before demolition in 1945 for the building of Stuyvesant Town.

ChungWong on July 18, 2013 at 6:58 pm

14th Street Theatre was at 107 W 14th St. Originally Theatre Francais (1866) then Lyceum but perhaps most known as Civic Reportory Theatre (1926). Demolished 1938. Berenice Abbott took a photo just beforehand:

Tinseltoes on July 19, 2013 at 6:48 am

The theatre at 107 West 14th Street was a “legit” playhouse, which disqualifies it from a listing at Cinema Treasures. I’m not 100% sure, but I don’t think there were ever any cinemas on West 14th Street, which starts at Fifth Avenue and extends to the Hudson River. Union Square, once the center of the 14th Street entertainment district, is east of Fifth Avenue.

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