Superior Theatre

443 3rd Avenue,
New York, NY 10002

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Associated Prudential Theaters Inc., Yost Theater Circuit

Architects: Alfred Chamberlain

Previous Names: Hitchcock's Third Avenue Theatre, Jacob's Third Avenue Theatre, Keaney's Third Avenue Theatre

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Superior Theatre

Opened in 1875 as a live theatre named Hitchcock’s Third Avenue Theatre. It was renamed Jacob’s Third Avenue Theatre and was badly damaged in a 1895 fire. In 1909 it became a vaudeville theatre known as Keaney’s Third Avenue Theatre. Motion pictures were being exhibited at this site from 1910 and it was renamed Superior Theatre from 1921. It was equipped with a Moller 2 manual 7 ranks organ. By 1926 it was operated by the Yost Theater Circuit. In August 1943 the Superior Theatre was badly damaged by a fire which occurred in the second balcony. It was repaired and operated until around 1954 and was demolished in 1957.

The site became a parking lot for many years, and in 1980 a 19-story apartment building was constructed on the site.

Contributed by Damien Farley

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on August 29, 2005 at 10:46 am

Listed in Film Daily Yearbook;1926 and 1927 editins as having a seating capacity of 1,000. The 1930 edition of F.D.Y. gives a seating capacity of 835 and it’s 880 in the 1941 and 1943 editions

In the 1950 edition of Film Daily Yearbook it is listed with 846 seats.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 29, 2010 at 2:30 pm

A chain called Associated Prudential Theatres, Inc. ran this in 1953 along with the 34th Street (Murray Hill) and the 28th street Regent.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on February 9, 2010 at 6:28 pm

Shows up in a 1919 Paramount Week ad.

Demolition is announced in August 1957 though it is unclear whether it was still operating at the time.

AndrewBarrett on December 28, 2014 at 12:56 am

Does anybody know how to create a new page for a theatre on this website? Or could somebody do this, or direct me to the theatre’s page if it already exists? (I can’t find it).

I am looking for a page for a “Superior Theatre” which was located at the corner of 81st Street and First Avenue in New York City. The only “Superior” I can find is this one (different address), and when I zoom in on the Google map with different colored “pins” showing locations of theatres in New York City, nothing comes up for 81st and 1st! Anyway, here’s the entry:

In “The Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ”, pg. 630, author Mr. David L. Junchen lists a Smith organ having been installed at the “Superior Th.” which was “Located at 81st Street and First Avenue.” No other details, such as size of the organ, blower info, install date, nameplate (Seeburg-Smith, Smith, etc) are given in the book for this entry, meaning they weren’t known at publication time.

If anyone knows any more about this theatre, and/or this organ and where it (or its parts) is/are today, I’d be much obliged. Thanks a lot!

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 28, 2014 at 9:10 am

AndrewBarrett: I have now added a page for the Superior Theatre on E. 81st Street.

Texas2step on August 1, 2017 at 8:08 pm

Uploaded a 1943 photo showing the fire at the Superior Theatre mentioned in the article above.

Jack Theakston
Jack Theakston on November 13, 2023 at 8:37 pm

The basis of the Superior goes back to a legit house, when it opened as Hitchcock’s Third Avenue Theatre in 1875. The theater’s architect was Alfred Chamberlain. A fire in 1895 gutted most of the building when it was known as Jacob’s Third Avenue, but the remains were restored a year later. It continued to be a legit house, and supposedly Mary Pickford made her stage debut in a play there.Frank Keeney took it over as a vaudeville house, Keeney’s Third Avenue, in 1909. By the following year, the theater was showing films, and was renamed the Superior around 1921. In 1923, a Moller Op 3746 2/7 was installed. The neighborhood must have been getting rough by the late ‘40s, because a number of robberies took place at the theater. The Superior closed around 1954, and was demolished in February 1957, where it stayed a parking lot for many years. A 19-storey apartment building built in 1980 stands on its site, although you can see the ghost of the theater’s roofline on the side of 447 Third.

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