Academy of Music
125 E. 14th Street,
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New York City’s first Academy of Music spanned two centuries, opening wih grand opera in 1854 and being operated by William Fox from 1910 until demolition in 1926. The original seating capacity was reported as 4,000, but after a serious fire in 1866, the theatre went through a series of rebuildings and renovations that gradually reduced it to about 2,500.
When William Fox first took over the Academy’s lease, he presented only stage plays with a resident stock company. As soon as feature-length movies became the vogue, Fox switched to films, supporting them with vaudeville to counter fierce competition from neighboring theatres. Fox also moved the entrance from Gramercy Place to E. 14th Street, which provided more space and better visibilty for the marquee and other electric signs.
When the Consolidated Gas Company purchased the site for an addition to its nearby headquarters, William Fox built a new theatre directly opposite at 126 E. 14th Street and named it in honor of the demolished Academy of Music. The second Academy met a similar fate, being demolished in 1997 for another of NYU’s student dormitories in the area.
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