Arverne Pier Theatre

Boardwalk,
Arverne, NY 11692

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The Arverne Pier Theatre was built in 1904. The advertised location given for the theatre was Boardwalk and Gaston Avenue. Some newspapers give the location as Boardwalk between Gaston Avenue and Vernam Avenue. On a modern map, the theatre would have been located between Beach 66th Street and Beach 67th Street.

In 1904 the theatre was advertised as the Hurtig and Seamon’s Arverne Pier Theatre. Moving pictures were being shown at the Arverne Pier Theatre as early as 1907. In 1909, the theatre was leased to William Fox. Depending on the source, seating for this theatre varies from 1,200 to 1,800 seats.

The Arverne Pier Theatre was located on the boardwalk extending out over the beach. In January of 1914 the Arverne Pier Theatre was destroyed by a storm. The theatre was torn off its pilings and scattered for six blocks along the beach.

Contributed by Robboehm-Joe Vogel-Walterk-Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

robboehm
robboehm on February 23, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Cost was reported $50,000 which, presumably, included the pier itself.

Across the boardwalk was the Arverne Pier Danse [sic] which was subsequently renamed the Boardwalk. See CT listing for that.

An aside. Fox’s lease was for five years. Ironic.

walterk
walterk on February 26, 2014 at 6:10 pm

Here is a link to a New York Times article about the storm that destroyed the Arverne Pier Theatre, the theatre’s destruction is featured in the headline and there is a bit more detail in the article, along with numerous other reports of damage.

When this theatre was being discussed recently on the Boardwalk Theatre page, I posted a link to a nighttime photograph of the APT from 1911 with a sign advertising “photo plays”, can’t upload it due to copyrights, but it can be viewed at this site.

I found another picture of the APT in one of the “Historical Views of the Rockaways” columns in the Wave, this 1913 photo showing a side view of the theatre looking from the west. The column points out the development along that stretch of boardwalk, including “an airdrome theater that showed the latest vitagraph movies accompanied by sound recordings. The pictures and songs were changed daily”. You can see that theatre on the left. I’m thinking this is the Boardwalk Theatre or where the Boardwalk would be, or is it something else?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on March 1, 2014 at 5:30 am

I’m not so sure, walterk. The sign for the Airdrome looks like it has a hand pointing towards the theater, next to the word “open.” Hard to tell from the photo, but the hand might be directing boardwalk traffic to take the ramp, shown on the left, down to street level to get to the Airdrome. The buildings on the left side of the boardwalk in the photo look like they might just be retail storefronts. On the closest corner, the sign along the side, partially obscured by the lamppost, might read “druggist,” I think I see a sign for a “cafe” just beyond that, and it appears there was also a bath house along that row.

Of course, I’m just drawing conclusions here, but seems to me, that if the Airdrome were actually ON the boardwalk, there wouldn’t need to be the additional sign pointing passersby in the theater’s direction. I would suggest the Airdrome might have been out of frame here, perhaps just a few steps from the boardwalk itself.

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