Gotham Theatre

165 E. 125th Street,
New York, NY 10035

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Gotham Theatre

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The Gotham Music Hall first opened in 1903, a time when Harlem was a predominatly affluent white section of uptown Manhattan. The Gotham Music Hall was built solely for plays and vaudeville, with a 1,750-seat auditorium and stage housing that occupied the better part of a square block. It would probably be forgotten today except for the fact that in 1904, owners Sullivan & Kraus hired a young architect named Thomas W. Lamb to do some minor alterations. It was Lamb’s first theatre-related commission, and he went on from there to become one of the masters.

The Gotham Music Hall was taken over by William Fox in 1908 and was operated as a vaudeville & movie theatre. Movies creeped in full-time and eventually replaced stage attractions, but the Gotham Theatre was too old-fashioned to keep up with newer theatres in the area. Over the years, it went through various name changes and reductions in seating capacity— the Odeon, Bon Ton, New 125th Street, and the 985-seat Triboro Theatre. In January/February 1967 it was briefly operating as the Latino Theatre showing sub-run movies and a circus. It was demolished soon afterwards.

Contributed by Warren G. Harris

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

pianoman on December 24, 2004 at 10:41 am

If this is in Times Square, my book says that it showed Zamba and Black Shadows-both thrillers. Am I correct about its location? I’m only 10 years old, so I’m……well…just not as smart as you older folks. I admit it. Please reply, somebody!

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 8, 2005 at 11:27 am

The 1941 and 1943 editions of Film Daily Yearbook have this theatre listed as the Triboro Theatre, 165 E. 125th Street, Manhattan with a seating capacity of 571 (closed).

In the 1950 edition of F.D.Y. it is listed as open again (same seating capacity)

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on December 25, 2006 at 3:23 am

This theatre is mentioned in Rogelio Agrasanchez, Jr.’s excellent book MEXICAN MOVIES I N THE UNITED STATES.

bobmarshall on October 16, 2007 at 7:26 pm

In her bio, “Some of These Days,” Sophie Tucker mentions amateur nights “Up at the 125th Street Theater, corner of 3rd Avenue.” (she did play there.) There’s no doubt it was the latter day Tri-Boro. I grew up in the neighborhood in the 40s & 50s, and recall their showing Italian, then Spanish films, live theater (“Passion Play” an annual event), and a 3 films a day grind house. It was a fairly large theater, with two balconies, and an “island” box office outside.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on February 12, 2010 at 12:27 am

This theatre had a history of being raided by police for presenting scantily clad women (1930’s style) in live burlesque shows.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on March 2, 2010 at 7:50 pm

That sounds like the Boricua.


Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on August 15, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Does anyone know anything more about the Teatro Latino on 125th street?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 18, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Ruth Crosby Dimmick’s Our Theatres To-day and Yesterday,published in 1913, says that the Gotham Theatre was opened by Sullivan & Kraus in 1901, and operated as a variety theater. In 1908, it was taken over by William Fox who operated it as a combination vaudeville and movie house.

In 1906, Sullivan & Kraus paid $500 to the City of New York for a one-year license for the Gotham Music Hall, 163-167 E. 125th Street, according to The City Record of May 10 that year. Gotham Music Hall was apparently the theater’s name before Fox leased it.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on May 7, 2017 at 1:43 pm

This suddenly turned up with advertising in the weekly Amsterdam News in January, 1967, as the Latino Theatre (“Harlem’s Newest”). Bookings were sub-run double features, and included one stage presentation before advertising stopped in February of that same year.

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