Tuesday, September 18, 2007

"The Ideal" to Be Demolished by Tishman Realty

IMG_7786Caught 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.

IMG_7776Of 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)


citygirl15 said...

we have lots of those off-off Broadway theaters here...why don't you move downtown....hehe

Steven & Joey said...

would love to see this facade saved, like the Henry Miller THeater...


Ming_the_Merciless said...

Personally, I think it's ugly. But then again, I don't like pastel colored art deco buildings. :-)

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Mark said...

This is sad.

It was also a shame to lose this theatre's bigger brother which was located up the Avenue at 50th Street. The theatre that was formerly the Adonis was torn down at the vehement behest of a closeted partner of a well-heeled law firm moving into Worldwide Plaza. He was later murdered by an angry hustler. That theatre featured an Adams-style block long facade.

This one is a pretty little thing, and it's a shame we seem to have no room in NY for our most charming and/or buildings anymore.