Variety Theatre

110 3rd Avenue,
New York, NY 10003

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Variety Theatre

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

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

The Variety Theatre 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 Theatre’s owner, 110 Third Avenue Corporation, closed the theatre after operating it since 1991 and in June of 2005, the theatre was torn down.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 72 comments)

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.

mfabiano on June 29, 2016 at 7:29 pm

I lived in NY for a short time in 1995. I lived on 22nd St between 1st and 2nd Ave. On the weekends I would walk through the East Village, via 3rd Ave. I remember the 1st time I saw the Variety Theater. It was modest and practical. It was a theater that looked just that, a theater, nothing ornate or remarkable about it. I had never even stepped inside, yet each time I passed it on my weekend walks, I felt a sense of wonder about this place. Can’t explain why. I would imagine all the history that was made there in years gone by. One day while walking with a friends, I spotted Valerie Harper standing in front of the theater, she had been doing a play. Being huge Rhoda fans, we got her autograph. One of the fondest memories I have from living in NY is walking past the Variety. I miss the its shabby splendor,its name in lights and reading the marquee.

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