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.

In August 2016 the interior of the building was being gutted in preparation for its demolition.

Contributed by RobertR, William Gabel, Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 81 comments)

markp on March 5, 2015 at 6:23 pm

Matt, it was posted earlier the auditorium is demolishede. Are you saying it still there? Or just the lobby as has been previously posted.

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on March 6, 2015 at 7:59 am

I’m saying that person is wrong, and the auditorium is still there. You can see it clearly on google maps (dated September 2014) or just look up the job permits on the New York City Department of Building’s website. There are demolition permits, but they have not been approved yet, so nothing has been demolished yet.

markp on March 6, 2015 at 3:01 pm

Thank goodness. Still hope it can be saved.

optimist008 on March 6, 2015 at 4:39 pm

This theater’s exterior is briefly shown in “Cotton Comes to Harlem” which was on Bounce TV Channel 41.3 a few weeks back and will likely be repeated a few more times as with all their films…

DavidZornig on September 4, 2015 at 2:23 pm

1941 photo added credit Walter Payton.

spectrum on June 8, 2016 at 7:26 am

I’m happy to see that my comment above was wrong and that the theatre is still standing. I had not recognized the back wall of the Apollo and confused that with the Victoria when I was checking last time. According to the 2016 aerial view and the street views of the front (2015) and back (2014) the theatre is indeed still standing.

Orlando on August 18, 2016 at 10:01 am

Interior demolition continues, a worker told me historic ledgers from Loew’s, marquee letters, seats (aisle standards from balcony were trashed into the dumpsters behind the building. NYCB permits show full demolition, however new photos of facade show a vertical sign saying Hotel Victoria (nice). A man walking by cried and I asked if he was OK. He said his mother brought him to the Loew’s Victoria in the 1950’s and he was sad that it was being demolished. Very, very sad! The hotel could have been built between 2nd & 3rd Avenue where a empty Pathmark sits. Who’s running the show, “Big pockets” who don’t care about history! The Victoria should have been saved on this three theatre block. It Could have beeb “the Kings” of Harlem.

markp on August 18, 2016 at 2:23 pm

Another one into the dumpster. Really really sad

Orlando on August 19, 2016 at 8:25 am

The two murals have been pulvarized. Demo inside first, then outside.

Orlando on August 25, 2016 at 8:46 am

I went to the Loew’s Victoria and the tryphons are still atop the facade. While this one goes, the Apollo next door is more stunning than ever. All new neon and other innovations. A beauty at night in neon. The Alahambra is also being fixed up (the Ballroom) and other amenities as stores, etc. etc. Lobby has been gutted and who knows what the auditorium looks like. 125th Street is getting a major overhaul (unlike Flatbush Avenue between Empire Blvd. to the Junction). Alas, only Thomas White Lambs Victoria Theatre will be gone. Money Talks and the monolith tower that will rise there is most unfitting to this block.

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