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.