Loew's Victoria Theatre

233 West 125th Street,
New York, NY 10027

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Loew's Victoria Theatre exterior

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Loew’s Victoria Theatre opened on October 5, 1917, adjacent to the east of the famed Apollo Theatre in New York’s Harlem neighborhood. It had a seating capacity of 2,446. It closed as a Loew’s house in 1978.

In 1986 it was reopened as a five-plex and renamed the Movie Center 5. 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 theater 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 says ‘Movie Center 5’ and the building sports 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.

Contributed by RobertR, William Gabel, Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 86 comments)

markp
markp on August 27, 2012 at 3:21 am

Ed, somewhere here on CT, I saw an old studio ad someone posted for another theatre from the early/mid 70’s. Under Manhattan I remember was listed Loews Victoria 125th St. Maybe thats how the photographer meant to refer to it?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 28, 2012 at 4:28 am

Possibly, markp… I was just curious if anyone knew for sure that the ticket booth depicted in that photo is actually the Victoria’s.

Nicholas Vargelis
Nicholas Vargelis on September 24, 2012 at 3:34 pm

What sad news, it looks like the re-development plan that has been approved will demolish the auditorium and stage house !

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/harlem-victoria-theater-hub-arts-cultural-center-article-1.1117287

“The Victoria’s cavernous auditorium will be demolished, but its ornate lobby, signature fountain, original marquee, grand stairway and gilded chandeliers will be preserved.”

AND BEHIND the multiplexing is a carefully preserved mostly intact single screen auditorium ! (see photos in link below)

http://newyorktoursbygary.blogspot.fr/2011_11_08_archive.html

“Mr. Blake, sensitive to the historical and irreplaceable aspects of this theater, had partitions put in to create 5 auditoriums that would leave no scars and could be easily removed.”

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on September 25, 2012 at 8:57 am

Nice photos in your link, Nick.

Movieplace
Movieplace on September 25, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Thank you Nicholas for the credit. I have been posting this all over the place.

I read an article yesterday from the New York Daily News and I can’t believe it. The State of New York has cleared a final hurdle for the development of the the site upon which sits my beloved Loew’s Victoria. This treasure designed by the great Thomas Lamb will become part of a hotel and apartment tower which will be built on the site and the lobby and foyer of the Victoria will be preserved and used as part of a ballroom conference and convention venue in the new space.

However the auditorium will have to be demolished the developer says. Why is there not one thought about saving the auditorium? That is the space that could serve as a convention center, even a ballroom. The theater is not in such horrible shape, it can be saved. Harry Macklowe tried to demolish the Hudson Theater but was stopped. His plans thwarted, he accepted defeat and restored the theater and uses it as a conference room / convention space. Why not the Victoria?

Instead of being excited by this, I hope Harlem wakes up before all of it’s too late, before all the treasures are gone and the “white hot” 125th street corridor is just another mall that could be any where in this country.

To paraphrase the New York Times, it’s the buildings that make a city special and we will be judged not by what we have built but what we have destroyed. To paraphrase another New Yorker “enough already”. When will we learn that we live in the most special city in the world and it got that way through it’s buildings, whether a tenement, a mansion or a theater and the people who built them and those who use them.

Movieplace
Movieplace on September 25, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Also, Ed Solero, that is the box office but it is not a free standing one. It is still there though. The entry is rather small for such a large theater.

Movieplace
Movieplace on October 23, 2012 at 11:15 am

SAVE LOEW’S VICTORIA page on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-Loews-Victoria/446620328709389

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on November 23, 2012 at 7:47 am

Your link needs to be “activated.” And do you really mean “Loew’s Victory” (not Loew’s Victoria)? Loew’s Victory was in the Bronx and has its own listing at Cinema Treasures.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on November 23, 2012 at 11:22 am

It’s working for me and it is the Victoria.

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