136 East 14th Street,
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The Theatre Unique truly lived up to its name with its presentations and spectacular entrance on the south side of East 14th Street, directly opposite Tammany Hall. Built around the turn of the twentieth century, Theatre Unique started as a penny arcade with a small stage where vaudevillians performed to draw crowds.
It was one of the first places in Manhattan to present movies via projection, which meant renovating the interior into a conventional auditorium with seats and fully-equipped stage. For an admission of ten cents, patrons could see several acts of vaudeville and ten reels of the latest movies. Mostly of short duration, the films were usually so new that Variety and other trade journals sent reporters to Theatre Unique to write reviews for their next editions.
Nearby competition from the Dewey, City, Jefferson, and Academy of Music eventually forced the closing and demolition of Theatre Unique. Its underlying ground, as well as that of the demolished Dewey Theatre, was incorporated into the plot used for the New Academy of Music that opened in 1926.
That block-through plot, which measured 200 feet across, covered the addresses of 126-138 on East 14th Street and 123-135 on East 13th.
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