Variety Theatre

110 Third Avenue,
New York, NY 10003

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Variety Theatre

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 69 comments)

robboehm
robboehm on June 6, 2009 at 2:06 am

Warren, I can’t open this photo, is the problem at my end? I used to work in the Gramercy Park area and often took a lunchtime stroll past the Variety. It was certainly vintage. The only time I was actually inside was for an off-Broadway performance of, I think, Annie Warbucks. No real memory of the interior – not as impressive as the exterior.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on November 12, 2009 at 3:31 pm

There was a STAR THEATRE at 136 Third Avenue in the mid thirties, early forties. Does anyone have any info on that one?

artpf
artpf on December 14, 2009 at 12:28 am

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
celaniasdawn on March 26, 2011 at 12:49 am

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.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on March 26, 2011 at 2:14 am

I think that was the Bleecker Street in DSS.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on September 18, 2012 at 4:27 pm

The Variety stopped showing films in the fall of 1989.

cblog
cblog on November 5, 2012 at 10:53 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
Uwe_Friedrich on May 27, 2013 at 4:50 pm

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
robboehm on May 28, 2013 at 12:19 am

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

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 30, 2013 at 3:04 am

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!

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