Nova Theatre

3589 Broadway,
New York, NY 10031

Unfavorite 8 people favorited this theater

Showing 1 - 25 of 94 comments

eddie5959 on January 26, 2023 at 12:15 pm

I was suppose to had went to see Boyz N The Hood at the Bunny back in 1991 I was in a cab with my girlfriend at the time and we had a argument and we never made it to the theater we ended up watching it on a VHS tape.

ridethectrain on October 11, 2021 at 9:23 pm

How was this theater divided into 3 screens

Ace on October 10, 2021 at 11:41 am

@ridethectrain Having lived in the neighborhood the same summer it was closed, I recall the Nova closing in late August 2002, just before Labor Day. “XXX” (released 8/9/2002) was one of the last movies that premiered there.

The lobby photos I’d uploaded are from July 2002 however.

ridethectrain on July 4, 2021 at 11:14 am

Please update, theatre closed July 18, 2002

Ace on July 16, 2019 at 5:55 pm

As of July 2019, the 99-cent store that has occupied the former Nova Theater’s space has closed. This entire side of 147th/Broadway has been extensively leveled and re-developed at the behest of Columbia University (which owns the real estate), with the former theater space being the only remnant of what once were a collection of low-rise buildings.

Wonder if the space will get a new tenant or face the wrecking ball?

Ace on April 5, 2019 at 3:02 pm

@ Al Alvarez: The Nova topped out as a three-screen theater; your theories may be right.

On another note, have been doing some research on Upper Manhattan theaters and stumbled upon a February 19, 1979 issue of New York Magazine. They wrote a one-page article on what was then NYC’s longest-standing movie theaters, one of which was the Nova. They mentioned the Nova family taking over the (former Tapia) theater the previous year (1978) and spending eight months and thousands of dollars refurbishing it. Should the overview be updated?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on August 5, 2018 at 8:50 am

By late 1996 this theatre was clearly listing four titles with full schedules in the NYT Weekend Movie Clock. Does anyone know if it was really ever a quad or were the show times simply a smoke screen for double-booked screens?

StevenOtero on July 2, 2017 at 3:48 am

Article about The Tapia Theater.

jordanlage on June 21, 2016 at 7:38 am

This theater was apparently known as the Tapia for a while, at least in the 1970s. Anyone know why it was named that and then changed to the Nova? Simply new management renaming it?

dallasmovietheaters on January 23, 2016 at 2:00 pm

When Bradberry and Brandon opened the Bunny Theatre in 1913, the seating capacity was 1,300 but also housed a roof garden fanned by the Hudson River where patrons could also watch features using the very same Powers projectors 88' away from the screen as in the indoor theater. An 88 note Photoplayer was in the orchestra pit to entertain the gathering crowds. And in less than a year, the Bunny Program Guide had 1,500 subscribers to keep potential patrons up to date on forthcoming shows

Gonzo on July 13, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Recent Jim Kelly obit published @ Roger talks about The Tapia.

jrock on March 27, 2012 at 9:58 am

Ed….i will try to get permission to upload some of the photos, they are now part of the collection of the Film Study Center at MoMA. Good news is that right now they are projecting many of them in the Titus galleries at MoMA which are outside the Titus 1 theatre. They opened this on Thursday and it should run for a while….

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 28, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Jrock, if you ever decide to upload those images here, I’m sure they would be greatly appreciated!

jrock on January 26, 2012 at 1:04 pm

great stuff. having worked on a photo project in early 2000’s I have a nice continuation of photos that show: the old nova marquee (with an announcement of a wyclef concert and its last movie posters…Undisputed and fear dot com); the marquees removal revealing more bunny ornamentation; then the removal of that stone ornamentation and finally the whitewashing of the exterior and placement of 99cent sign; and eventual removal of the uppermost bunnies and bunny name. made barely recognizable in less than ten years after standing so many.

Saturn5Dad on January 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Mr. Nova, thank you for the memories of the Bunny/Nova! Are you still involved with the Coliseum on 181st Street? If so, please contact me at:

jnova on August 31, 2011 at 1:21 pm

thank you, everyone. i am honored :] when we first opened, the doors were the original brass, the concession stand was an island connected to the ticket booth at the top of the hill. there were huge doors leading into the inner theater and a long counter that spanned across the top, behind the last row. the seats were old red velvet and the original curtains were still there. the screen was HUUUUGGGEE!! it was beautiful and the first time i saw “the fog” at the tender age of 9 i can tell you i was in shock! lol that first night there was a huge fight afterwards (my brother, jesus was the projectionist in those first days and boy did he need to learn a few tricks! lol) and yes, my mom and dad (Adriana and Ramon) bought the theater with the money they had saved from all the jobs they held (simulataneously, sometimes) and then bought a few others. we also had the alpine theater, then located on broadway and dyckman, we sold it to mcdonalds and that’s how my parents got the money to move back to santo domingo when my dad fell ill. he entrusted the Nova to my brother, jesus, and that’s how it went…my brother was fresh out of college when they bought the Nova and i was 15 when we moved to santo domingo, 17 when i returned and worked there on and off until it closed. there were other theaters we bought and sold but it was a family business. i worked alongside everyone and i wouldn’t change that for the world :]

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 31, 2011 at 12:46 pm

A shame that the historic facade was not allowed to survive the building’s repurposing. Welcome to the site, jnova. Should the introductory comments be corrected to reflect that Adriana and Ramon were the purchasers of this theater in the 1980’s, not Jesus?

br91975 on August 31, 2011 at 8:12 am

I’m really glad you joined the Cinema Treasures community, jnova; welcome aboard!

One question I asked a few years ago which, if anyone here can answer, it’s you: what was the layout of the interior of the Nova? I never had the privilege of seeing a film there but remember the downward floor just inside the entrance and the one-sheet cases along each wall.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on August 31, 2011 at 7:08 am

I know the neighborhood was wild but in many ways that kept the competition out and audiences loyal. I ran similar theatres for Cineplex Odeon but Loews ran away from those neighborhoods in the 80’s.

jnova on August 31, 2011 at 6:58 am

it feels great to be part of a wonderful history, but at the time you don’t realize it. my mom and dad ran it like a mom and pop store: lots of love and dedication. i am the youngest of the Nova clan, so i saw things from the “bottom”, so to speak. my mom and dad came to America to work hard and raise their children with opportunities, and the Nova was the beginning of that dream so alot of hard work went into it. it was sad to see what went on under cover of cinema darkness and we tried to control as much as we could…but how do you stop a tornado? lol you can’t! so we rode the winds as best we could.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on August 31, 2011 at 6:40 am

Jnova, please tell us more. This theatre is historic part of NYC.

jnova on August 31, 2011 at 6:26 am

The theater was purchased in the 1980’s by my mom and dad, Adriana and Ramon Nova. The very first movie we played was “The Fog” to a huge crowd. Later, we showed tons of kung-fu flicks and then split the theaters. One of my fondest memories is watching “Rocky” before we minimized the space and shadow boxing in the back with the ushers :] I miss the theater dearly…

leocri on August 18, 2011 at 8:27 am

I lived in this neighborhood from around 1947 to 1963. In the 50s this was the Dorset Theatre. It had one screen and was cooled by two big fans (no AC). Admission was 20 cents for cartoons (on Saturday morning), a newsreel, and a movie (maybe even a double bill—I don’t recall). First my brother and then I worked in the candy store that was about 2 doors to the left of the theatre entrance.

Ace on June 19, 2011 at 10:14 am

AlAlvarez, where did you find out that tidbit of info? Any other info about the theater’s history you’ve been able to find out?

hajii on November 1, 2010 at 8:45 pm

The Nova theater was one of my greatests chilhood memories of the 80’s.
I actually remember when it only cost $1.50 to see two movies. Thats when it was a single screen theater in the early 80’s. Yes it’s true that was a dangerous theater, but only cause at that time Harlem was Buckwild! And the neiborhood people who went there were wild. I remember one time when the projector operator messed up a movie that was playing, and everybody in the whole theater rushed the front box office demanding their money back! it was an unreal mob scene! But order was restored when the projector operator immediately got the movie going again. They used to show new movies and a lot of b- movies that are very rare and some are cult classics. And i do remember when they filmed ‘Death wish 3’ it was a few scenes right on the same block as the Nova. They actually blew up a car around the corner for one scene! Wow just so many memories, and i’m sad it’s gone. The last movie i saw there was ‘Black Rain’ in 1988 or 1989. I had moved to Philly by 1990 so i never knew about the changes it went through in the 90’s. But i was one of the original theater goers since it opened in the early 80’s and i have tons of memories!!!