Nova Theatre

3589 Broadway,
New York, NY 10031

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Showing 1 - 25 of 98 comments

Gonzo
Gonzo on July 13, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Recent Jim Kelly obit published @ Roger Ebert.com talks about The Tapia.

http://www.rogerebert.com/balder-and-dash/his-own-man-jim-kelly-bruce-lee-martial-arts-enter-the-dragon-died-1946-2013

jrock
jrock on March 27, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Ed….i will try to get permission to upload some of the photos, they are now part of the collection of the Film Study Center at MoMA. Good news is that right now they are projecting many of them in the Titus galleries at MoMA which are outside the Titus 1 theatre. They opened this on Thursday and it should run for a while….

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 28, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Jrock, if you ever decide to upload those images here, I’m sure they would be greatly appreciated!

jrock
jrock on January 26, 2012 at 4:04 pm

great stuff. having worked on a photo project in early 2000’s I have a nice continuation of photos that show: the old nova marquee (with an announcement of a wyclef concert and its last movie posters…Undisputed and fear dot com); the marquees removal revealing more bunny ornamentation; then the removal of that stone ornamentation and finally the whitewashing of the exterior and placement of 99cent sign; and eventual removal of the uppermost bunnies and bunny name. made barely recognizable in less than ten years after standing so many.

Saturn5Dad
Saturn5Dad on January 3, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Mr. Nova, thank you for the memories of the Bunny/Nova! Are you still involved with the Coliseum on 181st Street? If so, please contact me at:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/156753344429112/

jnova
jnova on August 31, 2011 at 4:21 pm

thank you, everyone. i am honored :] when we first opened, the doors were the original brass, the concession stand was an island connected to the ticket booth at the top of the hill. there were huge doors leading into the inner theater and a long counter that spanned across the top, behind the last row. the seats were old red velvet and the original curtains were still there. the screen was HUUUUGGGEE!! it was beautiful and the first time i saw “the fog” at the tender age of 9 i can tell you i was in shock! lol that first night there was a huge fight afterwards (my brother, jesus was the projectionist in those first days and boy did he need to learn a few tricks! lol) and yes, my mom and dad (Adriana and Ramon) bought the theater with the money they had saved from all the jobs they held (simulataneously, sometimes) and then bought a few others. we also had the alpine theater, then located on broadway and dyckman, we sold it to mcdonalds and that’s how my parents got the money to move back to santo domingo when my dad fell ill. he entrusted the Nova to my brother, jesus, and that’s how it went…my brother was fresh out of college when they bought the Nova and i was 15 when we moved to santo domingo, 17 when i returned and worked there on and off until it closed. there were other theaters we bought and sold but it was a family business. i worked alongside everyone and i wouldn’t change that for the world :]

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 31, 2011 at 3:46 pm

A shame that the historic facade was not allowed to survive the building’s repurposing. Welcome to the site, jnova. Should the introductory comments be corrected to reflect that Adriana and Ramon were the purchasers of this theater in the 1980’s, not Jesus?

br91975
br91975 on August 31, 2011 at 11:12 am

I’m really glad you joined the Cinema Treasures community, jnova; welcome aboard!

One question I asked a few years ago which, if anyone here can answer, it’s you: what was the layout of the interior of the Nova? I never had the privilege of seeing a film there but remember the downward floor just inside the entrance and the one-sheet cases along each wall.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on August 31, 2011 at 10:08 am

I know the neighborhood was wild but in many ways that kept the competition out and audiences loyal. I ran similar theatres for Cineplex Odeon but Loews ran away from those neighborhoods in the 80’s.

jnova
jnova on August 31, 2011 at 9:58 am

it feels great to be part of a wonderful history, but at the time you don’t realize it. my mom and dad ran it like a mom and pop store: lots of love and dedication. i am the youngest of the Nova clan, so i saw things from the “bottom”, so to speak. my mom and dad came to America to work hard and raise their children with opportunities, and the Nova was the beginning of that dream so alot of hard work went into it. it was sad to see what went on under cover of cinema darkness and we tried to control as much as we could…but how do you stop a tornado? lol you can’t! so we rode the winds as best we could.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on August 31, 2011 at 9:40 am

Jnova, please tell us more. This theatre is historic part of NYC.

jnova
jnova on August 31, 2011 at 9:26 am

The theater was purchased in the 1980’s by my mom and dad, Adriana and Ramon Nova. The very first movie we played was “The Fog” to a huge crowd. Later, we showed tons of kung-fu flicks and then split the theaters. One of my fondest memories is watching “Rocky” before we minimized the space and shadow boxing in the back with the ushers :] I miss the theater dearly…

leocri
leocri on August 18, 2011 at 11:27 am

I lived in this neighborhood from around 1947 to 1963. In the 50s this was the Dorset Theatre. It had one screen and was cooled by two big fans (no AC). Admission was 20 cents for cartoons (on Saturday morning), a newsreel, and a movie (maybe even a double bill—I don’t recall). First my brother and then I worked in the candy store that was about 2 doors to the left of the theatre entrance.

Ace
Ace on June 19, 2011 at 1:14 pm

AlAlvarez, where did you find out that tidbit of info? Any other info about the theater’s history you’ve been able to find out?

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on February 1, 2011 at 3:57 am

This intro needs to be adjusted. The name Nova did not originate in the eighties but was already there in the fifties and pre-dated the name change to Tapia. It reverted to the Nova name in 1978.

hajii
hajii on November 1, 2010 at 11:45 pm

The Nova theater was one of my greatests chilhood memories of the 80’s.
I actually remember when it only cost $1.50 to see two movies. Thats when it was a single screen theater in the early 80’s. Yes it’s true that was a dangerous theater, but only cause at that time Harlem was Buckwild! And the neiborhood people who went there were wild. I remember one time when the projector operator messed up a movie that was playing, and everybody in the whole theater rushed the front box office demanding their money back! it was an unreal mob scene! But order was restored when the projector operator immediately got the movie going again. They used to show new movies and a lot of b- movies that are very rare and some are cult classics. And i do remember when they filmed ‘Death wish 3’ it was a few scenes right on the same block as the Nova. They actually blew up a car around the corner for one scene! Wow just so many memories, and i’m sad it’s gone. The last movie i saw there was ‘Black Rain’ in 1988 or 1989. I had moved to Philly by 1990 so i never knew about the changes it went through in the 90’s. But i was one of the original theater goers since it opened in the early 80’s and i have tons of memories!!!

Ace
Ace on July 22, 2010 at 3:59 pm

I’m guessing that the decorative facade is gone for good, as it’s been a year since it’s been removed. No other construction is occuring on that block as of late so yeah. Such a shame.

CarrieLeigh
CarrieLeigh on June 15, 2010 at 3:31 pm

does anyone know is Jesus Nova is still around? I would love to gain more information from his days operating The Nova before the conversion into the awful 99 cents store. I believe this property was taken over by the Trustees of Columbia University but I would be very interested to know the lease terms. How great would it be to turn this property back into a movie theater!! anyone with info please e-mail me as I’m actively seeking information. thank you so much! Carrie

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on February 22, 2010 at 11:10 am

I can’t find any signs of a twin prior to 1987. It became a triple in late 1993.

Kaleda
Kaleda on September 12, 2009 at 2:28 am

It is amazing how many theaters were built in the area with the advent of the subway! on Broadway alone there are there are 5 between 135th and 147th street, and both the Bluebird at 147th and the Washington (Lambs first theater) at 149th on Amsterdam.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on September 11, 2009 at 9:40 am

Thanks K.L., that works.

That map also shows what was probably the BLUEBIRD Theatre on Amsterdam and 147th Street and what looks like a film studio on Amsterdam and 150th Street.

Kaleda
Kaleda on September 11, 2009 at 4:10 am

this is the link to the map from the NYPL website, let me know if it works. It shows both the Bunny theater and the Hamilton on the other side of Broadway
View link

Kaleda
Kaleda on September 5, 2009 at 11:31 pm

P.S. I do not see the post from the day I was able to talk someone into letting me up on the roof! I was only able to walk on the “stage house” roof and could not climb over to the broadway frontage where I was told the bunnies are sitting to be restored. The land is owned by Columbia University so …

Kaleda
Kaleda on September 5, 2009 at 11:23 pm

Sorry that I have not posted in a while, but I can only check from borrowed computers until my new one is delivered and I get my old notes off of the busted on, I am in Dell hell. I will post the link to the maps in the next weeks once I have full access. From the old map the front was the full block of Broadway (the area now used by stores and the new church) and the “stage house” was the area now used by the 99 cent store. There might have been a roof top garden as this was the norm in the days before air conditioning as the area grew with the first subway that ended on 145th and Broadway. There are five old legit theater buildings between 135 and the Bunny on Broadway alone, with others on Amsterdamn. Most have been converted into supermarkets, churches or 99 cent stores!

marine
marine on September 4, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Well in the 80’s that theater was actually dangerous. A lot of diff. things went on in there, drugs (using and dealing), drinking, sex, etc. I started going there when I was like 13 with friends and sometimes by myself. The layout was huge and old, it was pretty amazing though since the screen was also huge! The picture of the theater that you put up with Delta Force and The Hills Have Eyes 2 was actually one of the weeks that I went to it, to be fair I was there for every new movie! The lobby area was typical of an old theater, no neon just one sheet cases with upcoming movies with fluorescent lights. The concession stand was huge and on the middle of the “hill” not at the base as it was later. I know the neighborhood was originally called Hamilton Heights but it is Harlem and Harlem in the 80’s was as rough as you get. Today, Washington Heights has started to swallow this part of Harlem and it is almost sad since I actually liked the way it used to be.
Thanks for that picture it reminded me that there used to be a Cleaners next door, I actually forgot it was there and it also shows the KFC that I was referring to, so sad that it has all gone away! BTW: The vacant store next door eventually became a very nice Pet Store.

Lets keep talking though this forum if you don’t mind, I will answer all your questions the best I can.