Showing 1 - 25 of 99 comments
Added some pictures today. Long long quest to see anything of this theater. Partial satisfaction. However, Ed Solero was right, there are 2 balcaonies.
Sorry Manhattan Marty, it was not Gerber’s. There is this long lived myth that not only did she draw the Gerber baby but Bogart is the baby. Although Bogart was a cute baby, he ain’t the Gerber Baby and that is not her work. There was another baby food company that she did do work for, but I cannot remember the name.
How is the work going for your retrospective? Hope you are well.
When Bogart was a kid, from the time he was born until his late teens or early 20’s, he lived at 245 West 103. That was his parents brownstone. His father was a surgeon and his mother was a suffragist and illustrator.
I am not clear when he actually moved out as he used the 245 W. 103 address on his marriage license when he married the actress Helen Menken, his first wife. He had this license for a while, almost 2 years if I remember this right. Anyway, Bogart lived at Pomander Walk with his first wife.
Thank you Manhattan Marty, I am very happy that you got “Fred” to work and I am more than touched by your response. Any comments you have are always more than welcome.
Hello Manhattan Marty,
cut and paste this into your browser:
This is my blog and I finally finished my piece about our Beloved Riverside and Riviera Theaters.
Enjoy Manhattan Marty, let me know what you think.
I am putting together from a bunch of old posts, one post about the theaters. I am almost done editing it. There are a large number of people who miss those theaters. We have memories but you where there, your access to what was behind the screen, you should feel lucky. I will let you know when I am finished. i have pictures. Take care Manhattan Marty, talk to you soon.
When is your birthday visit going to take place, Manhattan Marty? I am a professional New York City Guide, historical tours and all that. I do a tour of the neighborhood; political, criminal and entertainment history. If I could be of any assistance in your tour, please do not hesitate to call on me. If you have time, I have a blog that covers a good deal of our neighborhood. Lots of pictures: newyorktoursbygary.com
I absolutely understand how you responded to the demolition of these theaters. The loss was profound. I used to dream about them, that they were either rebuilt or had not been torn down at all. I was 12 or 13 when they closed, and my memories have certainly faded.
Do you remember the mural over the proscenium at the Riverside? To me it looks like Christopher Columbus “discovering America”. What was your take on it?
Do you recall the orchestra pit in either theater not being covered? Some of the other postings indicated various organ installations over the years. Do you recall a working Mighty Wurlitzer (or any other brand)?
Did you take any pictures of the theaters? Was there really a connector tunnel in the basements of the Riverside and Riviera? Did you ever explore the backstage areas? There are so many questions. I am incredibly obsessed with these theaters and Thomas Lamb (the architect of these palaces).
The chase goes by twice. Many is the time I framed by framed on the VHS release of this picture. Thank god for DVDs. A bit of geographic cheating going on. But hills are almost obligatory in a car chase (thanks Steve McQueen)and there is a hill starting at Amsterdam Avenue.
There was an article related to this show rehearsing there. There was no heat in the space, something that David Merrick had not noticed as he had looked at the space in late summer. Also I do not think that there was any real mention of what the space had been once upon a time.
We are losing, by degrees, the structures that make New York City special. Pretty soon this town will look like every other city. When will we learn, that almost every real estate investor is only looking for the fast return? How will a condo on the site of the Hamilton contribute to the history and to what makes New York special? It won’t, but it will make this developer some money.
Is Harry Cipriani the only group that sees potential in these beautiful old spaces? Look at the old Bowery Bank branch across from Grand Central Terminal or the Cipriani Ballroom on Wall Street. The idea is not copy protected, so why isn’t any other developer trying to use what is there. Why do we have to lose the old Loew’s Victoria and potentially the Hamilton?
These places, so much part of the fabric of this city, are irreplaceable on many levels. No one does that kind of plasterwork anymore for one thing. Another aspect of the possible destruction of the Hamilton is, to quote Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, “Is it not cruel to let our city die by degrees, stripped of all her proud monuments, until there will be nothing left of all her history and beauty to inspire our children? If they are not inspired by the past of our city, where will they find the strength to fight for her future? Americans care about their past, but for short term gain they ignore it and tear down everything that matters. Maybe… this is the time to take a stand, to reverse the tide, so that we won’t all end up in a uniform world of steel and glass boxes.” We will be judged no by what we have built, but by what we have destroyed.
I am wrong again, I actually can see the multiplex that put the Showboat out of business. The Showboat is now a Trader Joe’s. It shared the parking lot with a restaurant on a retired ferry boat, The Binghampton. The restaurant closed and the Binghampton is half sunk and it looks as if it is collapsing.
That always bugged me too. I think I can see it from my apartment over there in Jersey. Why “Showboat”? I know it’s by the river but there is nothing showboatesque about it.
I am wrong in my post from 2009. The theater would be in what is now the field next to the new building that houses a school. P.S. 179 is what is was called when I was a kid, then it was home to West Side High School.
Ed, sorry it took nearly a year to answer you. The 116th street entrance was totally altered at some point. I think that KenRoe’s May 8th 2006 post has a link to his picture of the new 116th street entrance. As always, the larger part of the structure is on the cheaper land, in this case 115th street. I am dying to get in there as I would not be surprised if the the interior has a great deal of original detail.
SAVE LOEW’S VICTORIA page on Facebook:
Also, Ed Solero, that is the box office but it is not a free standing one. It is still there though. The entry is rather small for such a large theater.
Thank you Nicholas for the credit. I have been posting this all over the place.
I read an article yesterday from the New York Daily News and I can’t believe it. The State of New York has cleared a final hurdle for the development of the the site upon which sits my beloved Loew’s Victoria. This treasure designed by the great Thomas Lamb will become part of a hotel and apartment tower which will be built on the site and the lobby and foyer of the Victoria will be preserved and used as part of a ballroom conference and convention venue in the new space.
However the auditorium will have to be demolished the developer says. Why is there not one thought about saving the auditorium? That is the space that could serve as a convention center, even a ballroom. The theater is not in such horrible shape, it can be saved. Harry Macklowe tried to demolish the Hudson Theater but was stopped. His plans thwarted, he accepted defeat and restored the theater and uses it as a conference room / convention space. Why not the Victoria?
Instead of being excited by this, I hope Harlem wakes up before all of it’s too late, before all the treasures are gone and the “white hot” 125th street corridor is just another mall that could be any where in this country.
To paraphrase the New York Times, it’s the buildings that make a city special and we will be judged not by what we have built but what we have destroyed. To paraphrase another New Yorker “enough already”. When will we learn that we live in the most special city in the world and it got that way through it’s buildings, whether a tenement, a mansion or a theater and the people who built them and those who use them.
Ed, I put some pictures on the Riverside Theater page as well.
The Midtown, later called the Metro, then the Metro Twin, was gutted some point over the last 5 years. The facade was Landmarked but the interior was not. Urban Outfitters was going to move in there but instead took a space in the sore thumb of Broadway on the Upper West Side, the Ariel West. Sephora was rumored to be interested but again nothing happen. I would not be surprised if there are / were structural issues that would be expensive to correct. This would explain why two big chains passed on the site. The facade needs a cleaning and the marquee is still there (albeit shored up with support columns).
To DJM78: That fifth theater with the separate entrance was the last theater to be carved out of the Kingsway which had been twinned then quaded. That fifth theater had to have been the stage once upon a time, given the way it was situated to the rest of the theater. If my memory serves and it has been over 20 years, the theater ran parallel to Coney Island Avenue but the fifth theater ran perpendicular to Coney Island Avenue. The old Strand on 47th street & Broadway had a similar conversion as the stage was used as a theater with a separate entrance on 47th Street.
I too am sorry to be off topic. I wish I got into the Harlem Opera House. What a loss. It was a bowling alley at the end. Did you get any pictures?
I have been trying to get into the Victoria for years.