Saturday, May 3, 2008

Theatre History and Theatres’ History

In the course of writing the organ blog entry, Dr. Stephen Hamilton sent me an url with information about the organs specifications. It’s the New York City chapter of the American Guild of Organists. It is totally addictive. There’s a section of the site about organs, new and old, in New York City. Not only in churches and synagogues, but department stores, hospitals and theatres.

Last Saturday afternoon I spent too much time on the site, playing with places in Manhattan. I started on Brooklyn this morning, could not figure out what the name of the theatre was on 86th Street in Brooklyn where Modell’s is now. In that store, the second floor has remnants of what was the balcony. So with this site, a walk to 86th Street and a chat with an old guy at the bus stop who overheard us talking, two mysteries have been solved. Where the new NY Sports Club in now (86th between 4th and 5th Avenues) was the RKO Shore Road Theatre. Where Modell’s is now was the RKO Dyker Theatre. Years ago, I had to make several business trips to Wichita and spend time in their convention center. The highlight of the convention center is the “Mighty Wurlitzer” from the Paramount Theatre, which was in that building in Times Square that’s shaped like a wedding cake with a glass ball on the top. This photo is of the organ that used to be in the Rainbow Room.

But don’t go to the AGO site unless you’ve got the time:

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