Loew's Victoria Theatre
233 W. 125th Street,
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The Loew’s Victoria Theatre opened on October 5, 1917, almost adjacent to the east of the famed Apollo Theatre in New York’s Harlem neighborhood. It was a vaudeville and movie theatre and had a seating capacity of 2,446. It was equipped with a Moller 3 manual 17 ranks theatre organ. This was later replaced by a Robert-Morton 3 manual organ. It closed as a Loew’s house in 1978.
In 1986 it was reopened as a five-plex and renamed the Movie Center 5 on 125th Street. It was only open for a little over four years, closing in 1990. Someone did screen some African-American art films occasionally in 1992 in one of the auditoriums and it was known as the Harlem Victoria 5, but these had ceased by 1994.
The theatre was sometimes used for church services for a time, but in recent years, it has sat unused. Several plans have been put forward for reuse, but have not been met with sympathetic ears so far.
The exterior is still in good shape; the marquee still said ‘Movie Center 5’ and the building sported a new roof. The Apollo Theatre’s auditorium goes off to the right of the lobby, and the Victoria Theatre’s auditorium goes off to the left of its lobby, so the back ends of their respective stage houses back up against each other. Several buildings down, near the eastern end of the block is the site of the now demolished Harlem Opera House.
In August 2016 the interior of the building was being gutted in preparation for its demolition. The auditorium was demolished in April 2017, with the façade and entrance lobby retained. An apartment tower block has been built on the site of the auditorium.
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