National Theatre & Roosevelt Theatre

111 - 117 E. Houston Street,
New York, NY 10002

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Showing 16 comments

bigjoe59 on February 27, 2018 at 1:04 pm


for many years when the Sunshine first opened I wondered what had occupied the space that is now occupied by a condo tower and a Whole Foods. a question- why was it a parking lot for sooooooooo many years?

TLSLOEWS on May 16, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Great Shot love the clothslines.

kencmcintyre on May 6, 2009 at 6:51 pm

Ads for the Roosevelt and RKO Apollo can be seen in this 1935 photo:

priscianusjr on April 23, 2009 at 8:09 am

Note that the Independent subway line on East Houston Street was constructed only in the early 1930s. It began operation on September 10, 1932.
View link)

Astyanax on February 12, 2008 at 7:04 pm

Terrific photo of the building, vastly different from the present day view of Whole Foods/Avalon Chrystie. Curious that the site remained vacant for several decades, although the local Community Board was seeking a development plan that tied in the northern side of Houston St., and offered community recreation, hence the University Settlement Community Center and the YMCA. The basement level of the site is up against the noisy vibrations from the F & V train subway tracks. Curious as to whether this was evident when the theaters were in operation.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on February 10, 2008 at 5:02 pm

I found a New School for Social Research operating a drama workshop at the rooftop theatre at this address from 1940-1950 at a yearly cost of $9000. They ran another workshop at the President Theatre on 48th street. (NYT)

oodygdin on February 10, 2008 at 2:54 pm

Thanks and I think you’re right – it could very well be that. I can’t find and cross reference to that. Maybe someone else has heard of this.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on February 10, 2008 at 1:01 pm

Great shot, Oodygdin. It looks like MANHATTAN SCHOOL.

oodygdin on February 10, 2008 at 12:43 pm

Here’s a link to the NYPL digital collection with a photo of the building. There are other photos of the rest of the block too. Also, there is a sign just below the eighth floor that reads Manhattan something-or-the-other. Anyone know what this might have been? It is unreadable even in a blow-up of the photo.
View link

Cosmopolite on January 9, 2008 at 10:06 pm

PBS is airing “Jews in America” this month. About an hour and forty minutes into Part One, there are several shots of the eight-story building with separate marquees for the National and Roosevelt.

frankie on October 19, 2006 at 5:40 am

I believe the National Winter Garden is documented in the wonderful novel (and later film) “The Night They Raided Minsky’s.”

bamtino on May 14, 2006 at 9:57 am

I’ve been researching this location, on and off, for a while and have found conflicting reports about its original ownership and build date so I apologize in advance for any inaccuracies in the following information.
The full address was 111-117 East Houston. The site had been home to a household supply manufacturer from 1871-1911. I believe the theatre was built by Louis Minsky and Max Steuer, open by May 1913, and was known originally as the National (along with the National Winter Garden). In March 1935, it became the combination house known at the New Roosevelt Theatre. Simply the Roosevelt by September 1936, it exhibited Ukrainian, Soviet, Yiddish, and Chinese movies in the late 1930s and early 1940s. The National Winter Garden, located on the sixth floor, seated 299 and was known as the Rooftop Theatre from at least the mid-1940s through the building’s closing. The theatre proper was known as the Downtown National from at least 1941-1951.
The theatre was closed when it was purchased by the Transit Authority in 1958.
I believe the lot on which it existed sat empty until the recent construction of the first building in the large Avalon Chrystie Place mixed-use development currently underway on both sides of East Houston. The particular building on the site, the foundation of which had to be built around 4 subway lines underground, will include a new community center and gym jointly operated by the Chinatown YMCA and University Settlement, a 60,000-sq.-ft. Whole Foods supermarket â€" the chain’s largest in Manhattan â€" and 361 rental apartments, 80 percent of which will be market rate and 20 percent for low-income tenants.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on May 11, 2006 at 8:49 am

LM, it’s the same place. It was the National Winter Garden Burlesque, then the Ibsen, then the Rosoevelt Little as a cinema then back to National for Yiddish Vaudeville.

111 East Houston works fine as an address.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on May 10, 2006 at 11:35 am

A 1934 NY Times article mentions the Roosevelt Little as another name for the National Theatre (legit). The National was on the SW corner of Houston and Christie which maps now as 273 Bowery, 10002, COMMON RETIREMENT FUN!

RobertR on May 10, 2006 at 2:21 am

What is in this space now?

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on April 14, 2006 at 9:09 am

The 1941 edition of Film Daily Yearbook lists this theatre as the Roosevelt Theatre, Houston Street. The seating capacity given is for 400 and it is listed as ‘Closed’