Teatro Latino

1314 5th Avenue,
New York, NY 10026

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Teatro Latino 110 street & 5th avenue NYC

This theatre is mentioned in Rogelio Agrasanchez, Jr.’s excellent book, “Mexican Movies in the United States”.

According to this book, the Teatro Latino was opened in 1924 by Cuban impresario Fernando Luis as the Teatro San Jose on 5th Avenue and 110th Street.

This was the New York premiere site of Cantinflas' first hit “Asi Es Mi Tierra”.

It opened in 1908 as the Pastime Theatre. By 1914 it was the Harlem 5th Avenue Theatre and from 1921-1923 it was the Nile Theatre. By 1926 it was operated by the Meyer & Schneider circuit. It had made its mark as the pioneer run for Hollywood made Spanish-language film as the Teatro Variedades in 1933-1934 with reviews of the features regularly carried in the New York Times. It became the Teatro Borinquin in 1935-1936, the Teatro Grant in 1937 and finally the Teatro Latino from 1938 until 1941.

Contributed by Al Alvarez

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 15, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Hey Al… there’s a church called La Sinagoga at 115-125 East 125th Street just west of Lexington Avenue. Looks like it is listed here as the Harlem Grand Theatre. Could this have been known as Teatro Latino at some point? The RKO Proctor’s 125th Street was across the street on the south side of 125th and closed in the 1950’s, but could have re-opened as a Spanish-language theater before being demolished. Just east of Lexington Ave was the Gotham Theatre but it is listed has having been demolished in 1965.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 15, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Based on the 1938 image posted by Tinseltoes, the theater was clearly on the corner of W 110th and 5th Avenue (the north west corner of that intersection). I’ve adjusted the street view accordingly. I wonder if the building was demolished due to a widening of the traffic circle know as Frawley Circle, where an impressive statue of Duke Ellington now presides. Anyway, appears the site is now a parking lot.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on August 15, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Ed, I was leaning more towards the Gotham/Tri-boro because although CT lists it as demolished in 1965 I found ads for it as late as 1969.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on August 15, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Note: My last comment was regarding the 8:05am post.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 15, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Al, referring to the Gotham/Tri-boro as an alternate Teatro Latino, it seems that Tinseltoes posted a comment on that theater’s page about a “Latino Theatre” ad from a 1967 edition of the Amsterdam News. Might be a good idea to post the ad over on that page and see if it stirs up any discussion.

Richard_Blondet on July 11, 2017 at 2:24 am

The Teatro Latino on 110th and 5th Avenue was the fourth or fifth “Spanish” vaudeville-type theater within that space and didn’t last very long. Prior to its emergence as the Teatro Variedades, it officially launched in 1931 as a “Spanish Theater” under the name of Teatro San Jose. It was launched by an Afro-Cuban gentleman named Jose A. Miranda, who then hired Fernando Luis to be its creative or artistic director. As a theatrical impresario, Miranda goes back to the original and smaller Apollo Theater that was housed within the old Harlem Opera House on 125th St. that was then owned by William Minsky.

The Puerto Rican bombshell, Diosa Costello, launched her career at Teatro San Jose.

Pretty much everyone from the earliest stages of Latin American popular music who was based in the U.S. came through this theater, under its variety of incarnations throughout 1931-1940. Bobby Capo, Ruth Fernandez, Eliseo Grenet, Pedro Flores, Cuarteto Marcano, Augusto Coen, Pedro Via, Eduardo Brito, Noro Morales, Frank “Machito” Grillo, Pilar Arcos, Davilita, etc.

A photo from the NYPL demonstrates that, at some point in the 1930s, the theater was known as “Teatro Borinquen.” (Based on the marquee within the image.) Strangely enough, no advertisements exist for this particular operation. It seems to have been between the Teatro Variedades and Teatro Latino periods. Mid to late 1930s. I also can’t seem to find it cited anywhere.

If anyone is hip to this particular theater (“Borinquen”) that was sandwiched briefly between the time it was known as “Variedades” and when it was “Latino,” please share.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on July 11, 2017 at 4:23 am

Richard, according to the Film Daily Year Books, it was Variedades in 1933-34, Boriquen in 1935-36, Grant in 1937 and Latino in 1938-41.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on July 11, 2017 at 4:39 am

From 1921-23 it was called the Nile.

Richard_Blondet on August 9, 2017 at 5:48 pm

Thank you so much Al!

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