Azteca Theatre

1490 Madison Avenue,
New York, NY 10029

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The Madison Theatre was a small, late-run movie theatre on Manhattan’s Upper East Side at 102nd Street and Madison Avenue. Circa 1940, the Madison Theatre had four changes of double features per week, on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. By the 1950’s, it had been re-named the Azteca Theatre and was showing Spanish-language imports.

The former theater today houses a restaurant.

Contributed by Warren G. Harris

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on January 5, 2005 at 5:23 pm

This theater is also shown on a 1925 silent theater list.

cjdv on January 5, 2005 at 9:27 pm

There is a Madison Theatre listed at the “cor. Madison and 102nd Street” in “The American Motion Picture Directory : a Cyclopedic Directory of the Motion Picture Industry 1914-15”. It is not in Trow’s for 1911. Don’t have 1912 Trow’s Manhattan listings on hand.

michaelappell on February 7, 2005 at 9:49 pm

My father, Bernard Appell, owned and operated the Madison Theatre from some time before I was born in 1937 until the late 1940’s when he was unable to renew his lease. I remember the house as always being packed. Sets of dishes were given away on weekends when serials were shown and contests were held. More and more Spanish Language films were shown during weekdays in the later years.He then operated the Hispanic on 115 St. & Fifth (now a church) and the Triboro on 125th (I think near the Apollo) later called the Victoria.
Dad brought live entertainment in from Cuba.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on April 7, 2005 at 5:04 pm

The status of this theater should be “Closed”. The building still exists. It has a build date of 1925 which is probably the year that this theater opened. If there was another theater located here prior to this one, then this Madison Theater replaced it. This building is currently listed under restaurants as the Beezee Deli Ltd.

1490 Madison Avenue, East Harlem, New York 10029

Block & Lot #: 01608 – 0017
Building Class: Store Building, Two-Story Or Store/Office (K2)
School District: 4 map/schools
City Council District: 8
Police Precinct: 23 (Crime Statistics)
Political Contributions: search
Zoning R7-2
Building Size (F x D): 100.00ft x 120.00ft
Lot Size (F x D): 100.92ft x 120.00ft
Building Height: –
Total Gross Area of Building:
Year Built: 1925
Historic District?: No
Corner Lot?: No
Has Garage?: No
Number of Floors: 2

Units: 0

FAR as built: 1.44
Allowable FAR: 3.44

AlAlvarez on December 25, 2006 at 8:40 am

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

The Azteca was an East Harlem house managed by Jeane Ansell, a 1940’s exhibitor with a chain of over ten local theatres who was financially destroyed by a tax scandal in the fifties.

kencmcintyre on November 27, 2008 at 12:18 am

Listed as the Azteca Theatre at 1492 Madison in the 1960 yellow pages. A Duane Reade pharmacy is now at the corner of Madison and 102nd.

drgitlow on July 12, 2009 at 12:11 am

The Azteca was closed by 1960, when my family moved a block away. From then until the late 1970s, the marquee with its big neon signs presided over a closed building. Next door, at the corner of Madison & 102nd, was a Met supermarket. It burned in the late 70s and Red Apple took over that building as well as the Azteca building. The Azteca signage came down and Red Apple signs went up on the marquee.

When Red Apple moved out in the 90s, the original marquee finally came down, leaving no remaining evidence of any movie theater at all.

AlAlvarez on January 29, 2010 at 7:25 pm

This should be listed as the Azteca with Madison as an aka.

AlAlvarez on August 14, 2011 at 1:42 am

Still advertised in the Spanish newspapers in 1963 as the Azteca.

AlAlvarez on August 14, 2011 at 4:40 pm

I found another ad. Still open in 1968.

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