Variety Theatre

110 Third Avenue,
New York, NY 10003

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Variety Theatre - 2002

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened as the Variety Photoplays, the venue began as a nickelodeon near Manhattan’s Union Square.

During its almost 90 year history, the theater went from first run films to adult movies and finally to off-Broadway theater.

The Variety served as a location for Martin Scorcese’s “Taxi Driver” during the scene in which Robert DeNiro’s character first meets Jodi Foster’s. It is also located, coincidentally, around the corner from the setting of the film’s final scene and shootout.

In October of 2004, the Variety’s owner, 110 Third Avenue Corporation, closed the theater after operating it since 1991 and in June of 2005, the theater was torn down.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 71 comments)

artpf on December 13, 2009 at 4:28 pm

In the early 80s this theatre would alternate between XXX and bizarre regular movies (mostly horror or westerns that you never ever heard of).

I remember watching one horror flic and 45 minutes in, it suddenly turned into another movie! The producers just edited a different film onto the ending!

The place stunk of cigars and the guy who took your tickets had a giant motorcycle chain across his chest!

The oddest thing I remember was just before the movie started women would walk down the aisles saying “last chance” and old codgers would get up and go out with them through one of two exit doors on either side of the screen!

celaniasdawn on March 25, 2011 at 5:49 pm

In the Madonna film Desperately Seeking Susan, there are several shots of the theater, including a interior scene of the auditorium. I don’t know if the interior was the actual theater, but from what you could see, it looked very old, with very plain walls.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on March 25, 2011 at 7:14 pm

I think that was the Bleecker Street in DSS.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on September 18, 2012 at 8:27 am

The Variety stopped showing films in the fall of 1989.

cblog on November 5, 2012 at 2:53 am

I never went to this theater, but remember looking in the open door of the old man’s bar next door, complete with old men’s old dogs asleep next to their bar stools. Probably could get a short beer for fifteen cents.

Uwe_Friedrich on May 27, 2013 at 8:50 am

He guys, found your wonderfull web site. Stayed in NYC from 1989 until 1991. One day on my way to work I have got the chance to take a couple of picturs from the inside of »Variety Photo Play« at 110 Third Avenue – before they reopend. You can see the pictures (album) on my »Flickr account«, look for »friedrich_berlin«. Best wishes from Berlin town, Uwe.

robboehm on May 27, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Can you get the photos on this site. Flickr accounts tend to be unavailable in time.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 29, 2013 at 7:04 pm

Here’s a direct link to Uwe’s most excellent series of images. Thank you, sir, for documenting this historic building just before it would have been too late!

DavidZornig on June 12, 2016 at 8:04 pm

1986 photo added, photo credit Matt Weber.

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