623 8th Avenue,
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Previously operated by: Consolidated Amusement Company
Firms: Eisendrath & Horwitz
Previous Names: Arena Cinema Verdi
This late-run movie theatre on the west side of 8th Avenue near W. 41st Street depended partially on spillovers from the nearby Loew’s American Theatre. Very little information about the Arena Theatre’s history seems to be available, but it opened in 1918 and was operated by the Consolidated Amusement Company. Various Film Daily Year Books from 1926 list its seating capacity in the 800 to 1,000 range, though the most often cited figure is 953.
In 1944, an Italian-American group that had been running vintage Italian films at the Park Theatre (originally Majestic Theatre) in Columbus Circle under the name of Cinema Verdi switched to the Arena Theatre when the Park Theatre went legit as the re-christened International Theatre. Now known as the Arena Cinema Verdi, the 8th Avenue house operated until 1948-49, when it was demolished to make way for construction of the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
The Cinema Verdi policy was then moved to the Princess Theatre, where it remained until that closed for demolition around 1954-55.
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