20 November 2008

Hey, That Ain't No Deli


I was walking up Avenue A toward Tompkins Square, a span of sidewalk I've trod a million times, when for some reason my eye latched on an enclosed fire escape which climbed up the side of a large building on the east side of the street. "Wait a minute," I thought. "That's doesn't look like an East Village building. It's looks like something out of Times Square." The fire escape, the height, the bulk, the slightly fussy brickwork, the grey stone section that looked like some sort of elaborate entryway. That was a theatre!

Sure enough, a little research revealed that 100 Avenue A was once of film palace. According to DOB records, it was showing movies at least by the 1920s, and seated in its orchestra, mezzanine, and balcony more than 1,300 people. By 1959, it had been converted into its present use as a supermarket. I bet the upstairs storage space in that deli that's there now is pretty fascinating.

7 comments:

Ken Mac said...

time for reconnaissance. I am game for the break in if you are....!

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Sure. Find a second-story man and we'll talk. Hey--you're Bogart again.

Dan M said...

It's just a small bodega in there. I've seen current photos of the interior- the stage is used for some storage but the entire theater is still there, and usable. I've been saying for years that if I had several million expandable dollars, I would buy the building and convert it back into a theater, preferably to showcase up-and coming bands as well as book some big acts, a la the Nokia or Beacon. anyone with me in bringing a live music scene back to the East Village?

Signed D.C. said...

I've always wondered about its past. Were you able to track down the name of the theater? I can't seem to find an entry on cinematreasures.org

Brooks of Sheffield said...

The Avenue A Theatre, as far as I can tell. I don't know why Cinema Treasure doesn't have it listed. That was one of the first places I looked.

Mykola Dementiuk said...

When I was a kid in the 50s the place was a burned out shell that we crawled into one Saturday. I remember I was scared as hell, the big guys laughed at me.

Mick

Mykola Dementiuk

davec737 said...

There is a similar funky building by the beginning of Ludlow Street, near Canal. Long funky fire escape, closed forever, cemented up windows. Does anyone know anything about it? Was it a theater or factory?