Art Theatre

1204 Vestal Avenue,
Binghamton, NY 13903

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Art Theater. Mid 80s.

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Destroyed by an electrical fire in 2004.

Contributed by Dave Bonan

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

adamghost on April 11, 2009 at 12:24 pm

According to my research in the late ‘70s, the Art Theatre originally opened (under another name I believe) in 1911.

steve_verno on May 9, 2012 at 4:30 pm

When I was a kid in the early 1960s and we drove by this place on the way home, there was a black sillouette of a female figure on the building, the same kind you see on a semi wheel flap.

Matthew Prigge
Matthew Prigge on November 12, 2012 at 8:26 pm

If anyone has any stories about going to/ working at this threatre in its adult days, I would love to hear them. I am chronicling the histories of adult theatres in the US. Please contact me at Thanks!

BenSunness on March 3, 2013 at 10:33 am

My grandfather, Samuel Sunness, owned the Jarvis, Crest, Art and Airport DriveIn theatres. I too spent many Saturday and Sundays there, free of charge. If I remember correctly, if you brought your own container the popcorn was free, Anyone remember that?

ManagerGreg on August 25, 2013 at 4:15 pm

I worked as the Assistant Manager at The Art from 1993 until 1997ish. I stayed on as the show promoter for the monthly playings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show with full stage cast. The Art was one of THE BEST theatres I ever ran. When she died, it was running a 35mm for main films and a 1940’s era 16mm beast for the Rocky Horror print. The last owner brought in great live shows and one of the finest was John Lee Hooker. The Best Man at my wedding had his wedding ceremony on the auditorium stage. I was quite saddened to see the building die.

Also, in response to ‘academy133’ I was managing it as you walked by. I ran the projector for each of the titles you mentioned.

lalainthelibrary on February 25, 2014 at 9:07 pm

This is the independent theater that was brought to life in the wake of the original Art Theater’s demise.

lalainthelibrary on February 25, 2014 at 9:11 pm

My college apartment housemate worked at the concession/ticket counter when it was an X-rated adult film house. The projection booth was on a second floor level and was accessed by a stairway conected to an open catwalk that was attached to the front of the booth. On Thursday nights my housemate didn’t want to miss Mork and Mindy, so I would get on the bus with our portable tv, and go to the theater, so we could watch it together behind the candy counter. The refrigerator where employees kept their food was upstairs in the projection booth. When you walked across the catwalk you had to bend down and crouch-walk underneath the projection beam. We could always tell if we hadn’t stooped low enough because a collective groan would emminate from the house. Also, the clientele wasn’t what most people thought; they were mostly university students and traveling business men.

There was also something special about the projection equipment. I can’t remember specifically, but I think it was the oldest equipment still in operation in the US. A special repairman had to come down from Syracuse every time the projector broke down.

lalainthelibrary on February 25, 2014 at 9:30 pm

When the theater re-opened as an independent art house/ music venue, after its life as an X-rated theater, it was the first local theater to play Rocky Horror Picture Show with audience participation. I worked down the street at Vic’s Place: Fine Food and Drinks (Where the old Alamo restaurant was, which has now been demolished and a new building built that houses the Grande Italian restaurant), at that time, and the owner and most of our staff went together for the first showing, complete with props.

lalainthelibrary on March 23, 2014 at 4:31 pm

The theater was originally called the Grand and was still being called that in 1951. I have posted artwork showing what the block looked like in 1951, in the photo section.

lalainthelibrary on March 23, 2014 at 4:51 pm

I saw The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years, here in 1989.

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