Times Square of Yesteryear – Part 2

In Part 2 still more theatres that made Times Square a mecca for moviegoers.   

The New York  aka Globe Theater and the Big Apple 

As the Times Square district deteriorated, the theaters began to reflect the times. By the time the New York/Globe was renamed The Big Apple the theater was reduced to a porn house.

Rko Palace – 1962

The Roxy    – Called “The Cathedral of the Motion Picture”, The Roxy was THE theater on Broadway with a multi-tiered balconey and close to 6,000 seats!  

With the decline in movie attendance in the 1950’s The Roxy closed it doors in 1960.  Below is Gloria Swanson standing in the rubble of what was once The majestic Roxy Theater.

The Strand

 In the early 1950’s The Strand was renamed the Warner Theater and a few years later renamed the Warner Cinerama playing films like “Exodus” (see ad below). In 1963, the theater was equiped for 70MM films like “It’s A Mad, Mad , Mad, Mad World”, “The Greatest Story Ever Told” and “Camelot.” Another name change followed to the RKO Cinerama and then two screens were added turning the theater into a triplex with the names  the Penthouse and the  Orleans.  The theater closed and was demolished in 1987.

Criterion Theater

National Theater


8 comments on “Times Square of Yesteryear – Part 2

  1. Troy Olson says:

    Is that “Sex Fever” and “Orgy Girls” playing at the Apple or is it “Sex Orgy” and “Fever Girls” 😛 An interesting time in history and one I kind of wish I could have been around for, not for the porn theaters, but more just for the unique atmosphere.

    My one trip to NYC (4 years ago) was outstanding, but I found modern day Times Square to be so boring despite its hugeness. Just too many chain restaurants and tourists. We wanted to get out of there as fast as we could and explore the areas of the city with more personality.


    • John Greco says:

      Today, Times Square is close to being an “outdoor mall” which as you state with “too many chain restaurants and tourists.” Granted the area always attracted tourists (for theater, clubs and film) but no one goes to New York to eat at the “Macaroni Grill”, not with the multi-national restaurants the city is known for.

      In it glory days, Times Square had movie theaters, nightclubs, unique restaurants, and of course legit theater, which still fortunately survives. It was the home of the Brill Building where song publishers and song songwriters wrote hit after hit. Today, Times Square is the home of the largest M&M store!


  2. Sam Juliano says:

    Yes that M&M store is really something. Actually they are making some very interesting modifications to Times Square now that caters to the public and to tourism. The recent closing of the Virgin Megastore definitely took something away, but siting the cusp of the theatre district, it’s still a bustling intersection for the tourism crowd.
    Your pictures here John are priceless, and have the glorious power of time travel.


  3. Judy says:

    You won’t be surprised to hear that I especially love the picture of the cinema all done up to advertise Cagney’s ‘Something to Sing About’ – not his “greatest picture” in my book (though I do like it) but, wow. Talk about having your name up in lights.


  4. Tony D'Ambra says:

    Great collection of photos John. A really enjoyable virtual tour!


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