Monday, September 14, 2009

☞ ARCHITECTURE: The Alhambra Theatre

At the turn of the century, one of the new premier theaters on 125th street was to be called the Harlem Auditorium but soon would go through many changes. At 2110 ACP/7th Avenue, on the corner of 126th Street, the classic red brick and limestone building was designed by John B. McElfatrick and switched ownership after the original owners went bankrupt in 1903. Theater proprietor B.F. Keith took it over in 1905 and renamed it the Alhambra, which featured mostly Vaudeville shows until 1913 when it turned to movies through 1967. The dance hall on the top floor was originally called Paradis de Danse and soon featured such famed performers as Jelly Roll Morton and Billie Holliday.

Today, after many incarnations, one of the most popular venues to be found in the building is Harlem Lanes, which provides a space for bowling rarely seen north of 42nd Street. Niece and aunt duo Sharon Joseph and Gail Richards are reportedly the first African-American women to own a bowling alley in the United States. The top photo is of a postcard from 1913 with the theater in the foreground and the iconic Hotel Theresa in the background. Click the top photo to enlarge. The closest subways are the 2,3 or A,B,C,D on 125th street. To learn more about Harlem Lanes, go to their website:

1 comment: