Tuesday, April 21, 2009

☞ ARCHITECTURE: The United Palace Theatre

North of Harlem's boundaries exists one of the only landmarked movie palaces remaining in Manhattan with a complete exterior and interior: the grand United Palace Theater, one of Loew's Wonder Theatres from 1930. Channel Thirteen's (www.thirteen.org) series, "The City Concealed," allows us to imagine what lost theatres such as The Victoria and the Harlem Opera House might have looked like today if properly restored (in the former case) or still standing (in the latter case). The Opera House was converted to a moviehouse in the mid-20th century but ultimately closed up shop due to a faltering economy. However, the United Palace, which started as a vaudeville house and then showed films, reinvented itself once more as a live music venue and has recently hosted the likes of Bob Dylan and Beck, proving that adaptive reuse can indeed work for these cultural treasures. See the previous post on the Harlem Opera House for more.

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