Caught the story by Richard Pyle the Associated Press that a historic early 20th Century Hell's Kitchen Vaudeville Theater is about to be torn down...
First opened in 1916 as a vaudeville theater called The Ideal and closed a few weeks ago as the Playpen, "a seedy porno emporium on the ragged rim of Times Square".
There is a last ditch effort afoot to try and save it by a self-appointed preservationist named Michael Perlman who cites the building's Beaux Art facade - "with its curved central arch, pilasters, statues and other ornate features" - as reasons for incorporating it into a new building, or moving it to another location. The property also houses plaster cameo figures of goddesses that date to its early days. (Mr. Perlman was intsrumental in getting the Moondance Diner saved. Kudos to him!)
Tishman Realty Corp. acquired the property on 8th Avenue at 44th Street in July, reportedly for another new high-rise building. Like we need another.
What we DO need are more theater venues in this area!
The city's Landmarks Preservation Commission also studied the issue and decided the building "did not meet three necessary criteria - architectural features, history, and cultural contributions to the city" according to the agency's spokeswoman, Lisi de Bourbon.
Of course this same so-called Landmarks Preservation Commission is the same that has allowed holes to be punched into the facade of the acclaimed Modernist Building by Edward Durell Stone in Columbus Circle.
Mr. Pyle reports in his article: "During its near century of life, the brick-fronted theater operated under at least eight different names, including Esquire, Squire (twice), Cinecitta, New Cameo, Cameo and Adonis, each reflecting a particular kind of screen fare - from Italian and Russian language films to Hollywood B-movies, Scandinavian skin flicks and gay movies".
I ran by the other day to snap a few shots of it's exterior... (Click for a larger view and to be lead to my Flickr page).
Wouldn't it be quite respectful of the theater community and and kind to their Hell's Kitchen neighbors if the new owners were to tastefully and aesthetically incorporate this gem into their new design?
Would certainly make me think more highly of Tishman.
It just would...
(All Images on Todd HellsKitchen on Flickr)