Loew's Commodore Theater

105 Second Avenue,
New York, NY 10003

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Rare shot of the interior's ornamentation from the stage

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Originally opened in 1926 as the independently operated Commodore Theater. This movie house theater was taken over by Loew’s Inc. and opened as the Loew’s Commodore Theater on September 1, 1927. It became a Yiddish theatre in 1963, showing Yiddish movies and vaudeville, and was known as the Village Theater. It can credit Lenny Bruce as appearing on its stage.

In March 1968 it became the Fillmore East concert venue. Over three years, innumerable bands played here including Santana and Chicago. The Fillmore East finally closed in June 1971. On December 7, 1974 it became the N.F.E. (New Fillmore East) operated by Barry Stuart, with the group Bachman Turner Overdrive playing on opening night. This closed in 1975. It then became the Village East.

In the fall of 1980, it was converted into what was to become New York City’s best and most celebrated gay disco ‘The Saint’, which became famous world-wide. This continued until May 2, 1988 when the doors closed following a non-stop 48 hours party. The building was used spasmodically for a couple of years for live events, then stood empty for a few years until the auditorium was demolished in around 1996.

Today the narrow facade remains and the lobby is now remodeled as an Emigrant Savings Bank. Apartments/condos called Hudson East were constructed on the site of the auditorium. In the lobby of the bank are pictures of the Fillmore, Village Theater and Loews Commodore Theatre as well as some posters from the Fillmore East days.

Contributed by Peter Holowczyk, William Gabel, Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 170 comments)

jonbarone
jonbarone on November 17, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Correction: Barry Stein used his middle name as his last name hence; “Barry Stuart” is listed as promotor. Also, the head of security was Kim Yarborough and the dates of operation were 1974-1975. – Jonny B

michaelkaplan
michaelkaplan on September 17, 2011 at 2:55 am

The PBS American Masters documentary on Elia Kazan (mentioned above) was shown again tonight. There was a nice exterior view of the Commodore marquee.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on December 26, 2011 at 1:46 pm

A few older posts (2006) on this site refer to the post-Loews brief incarnation of this as the Yiddish Village Theatre as a result of this 1966 photo of Timothy Leary from Ed Solero’s photobucket:

http://s18.photobucket.com/albums/b110/GuanoReturns/Manhattan%20Movie%20Theaters/Loews%20Commodore%20aka%20Fillmore%20East/?action=view&current=LoewsCommodoreLeary.jpg&sort=ascending.

I found an ad for this period hiding in plain sight in the New York Times.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/25725093@N07/6574751901/lightbox/

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on December 26, 2011 at 2:28 pm

On August 11th, 1949, Al Jolson performed on stage at Loew’s Commodore during the second night of his three-day tour of 18 Loew’s nabes to promote the soon-to-be-released “Jolson Sings Again.” That night, Jolson appeared at four Loew’s houses in Brooklyn— Coney Island, Oriental, Kings, and Metropolitan— then zoomed with police escort to Manhattan for the Commodore and finally the Orpheum on East 86th Street.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on December 26, 2011 at 6:54 pm

Great stories to read.I think Al Jolson must have played every theatre in the USA at one timeor real close too.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on December 27, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Even though the theatres were air-conditioned, Jolson always worked up a sweat during performances and usually stripped down to his T-shirt by the time of his last song. At one theatre, he even performed bare-chested, causing a woman in the front row to express amazement that he had hair on his chest. “What did you expect,” he shouted back. “Dollar bills stapled to my skin?”

bicyclereporter
bicyclereporter on March 19, 2012 at 7:53 pm

If you go inside the bank, they have a select # of pix of the theater’s interiors and exteriors, but none show the ornamentation as we’d like. There are a few Youtube videos of bands playing there, but only with shots of the columns and the proscenium.

Until today. Thanx to the Gothamist, this picture of The Doors shows a shot looking up and amazing detail! A rare shot!

http://gothamist.com/2012/03/19/flashbacks.php#photo-3

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on March 20, 2012 at 1:43 am

Here’s a clickable version of the link posted by bicyclereporter. An amazing image.

There’s also a link below that photo with three more shots from the same Doors show, starting with this image. Just click on the thumbnail pics below the photo to see the other shots in the series.

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