Hippodrome Theatre

1120 Sixth Avenue,
New York, NY 10036

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Hippodrome Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Hippodrome Theatre opened on April 12, 1905 with “A Yankee Circus on Mars”. Built and operated by Fred Thompson & Skip Dundy, it was a massive 5,697-seat theatre presenting spectacular shows. It was taken over by Edward Franklin Albee in July 1923 and after a remdeling became a vaudeville and movie theatre, part of the Keith-Albee chain from December 17, 1923. On August 30, 1926 it began a policy playing first-run movies with stage shows, the first film to play was Bessie Love in “Young April”. The theatre was sold to property company in July 1930 with a view to demolition to built a large hotel. It was shuttered, and only used for occasional rallies and special events. The hotel scheme was never carried out.

It was reopened November 17, 1935 with Billy Rose’s circus musical “Jumbo” starring Jimmy Durante and featuring Paul Whitman’s Orchestra. The show ran for 233 performances (six months), then the theatre went dark forever. It was taken over by a sports promoter and used as a first-class basketball court. The building was closed on August 16, 1939, and was demolished. It remained an empty lot until and was used for a while as a bus depot. In 1952, a new building was erected on the site. Today, a plain office building named the ‘Hippodrome’ sits on the site where this massive theatre once delighted thousands.

The Hippodrome Theatre’s scale wouldn’t be replicated until the construction of the Roxy Theatre in 1927.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 37 comments)

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on May 10, 2010 at 6:42 am

Beautiful shot. Note the Hotel Algonquin in the background.

Bway
Bway on August 28, 2010 at 4:18 pm

Here is a photo of the Hippodrome in the 1930s

View link

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on September 29, 2010 at 9:43 am

Here’s a link to a batch of images and historical data: http://www.nyc-architecture.com/GON/GON027.htm

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on May 25, 2011 at 9:13 am

In its final decade, the Hippodrome was sometimes used for sporting events, such as this roller derby: http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=6934

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on April 16, 2012 at 10:19 am

Here’s a view of a Jewish religious event at the Hippodrome in October, 1910: octaman

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on June 11, 2012 at 10:50 am

The Hippodrome leads off this 1926 four-page trade announcement of “The Most Significant Development in the History of Motion Pictures”: archive

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on August 20, 2012 at 10:21 am

1926 photo at bottom of this page shows grand opening under Keith’s management with vaudeville and movies: Boxoffice

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on September 9, 2012 at 8:09 am

In 1915, the great John Philip Sousa composed the “New York Hippodrome March” in the theatre’s honor: nypl

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on September 9, 2012 at 8:12 am

Here’s a brief sound sample of Sousa’s musical tribute to the Hippodrome: amazon

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