RKO Jefferson Theatre

214 E. 14th Street,
New York, NY 10003

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: B.S. Moss Enterprises, RKO

Architects: George W. Keister, Thomas White Lamb

Styles: Adam

Previous Names: B.F. Keith's Jefferson Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Jefferson Theatre exterior

The Jefferson Theatre opened in 1913 as a B.F. Keith’s vaudeville theater in what is now known as the edge of the East Village. Later the RKO Jefferson Theatre, this theater was located at 214 E. 14th Street near 3rd Avenue. The entrance was a narrow space between two tenement houses with the bulk of the theatre (auditorium) located in E. 13th Street. By 1926 it was operated by B.S. Moss Enterprises.

The RKO Jefferson Theatre operated until at least 1977. It lay empty for over two decades and was demolished in 2000. The site lay unused filled with bricks and debris from the demolition for many years. In 2014 the CityMD medical center had been built on the site of the E. 14th Street entrance, and an apartment building was on the E. 13th Street site of the auditorium.

Contributed by John Chappell

Recent comments (view all 75 comments)

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on July 29, 2012 at 9:50 pm

George Burns mentions this theater many times — on his TV show, in his books, in his act. Apparently there was a real tough crowd in this house.

DougD on April 28, 2013 at 2:32 pm

The vacant lot will soon be apartments.


RickB on April 29, 2013 at 4:16 pm

I love how the apartments are in “North West East Village.” And that would be in the southern half of Manhattan…

bicyclereporter on May 11, 2013 at 2:04 pm

There was a brief mention of the theater in this week’s East Villager. Apartments are going up in its place and it said it was demolished 15 years ago.

robertpetrick on September 3, 2013 at 9:51 am

I just uploaded a photo I shot of the Jefferson shortly before it was demolished. I may have a better shot and will look for it to post. I would love to see a photo of the marquis in full bloom if somebody has one.

robboehm on September 3, 2013 at 5:54 pm

Go to the comments section with a posting by Warren G. Harris on May 4, 2008 which has links to photos of a functioning RKO Jefferson. Also read Warren’s comments elsewhere about the Billy Rose Collection.

Hamblin on June 23, 2014 at 1:47 am

An article in The New York Times of January 19, 1913, describes the Jefferson Theatre and Hamilton Theatre (http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/1353), which opened on the 23rd and 25th, respectively. Of the Jefferson, it reports: “A life-sized bust of Thomas Jefferson adorns the main entrance.…A large mural painting over the sounding board shows Thomas Jefferson addressing an assemblage of people of his time.”

“Two New Theatres,” col. 6, The New York Times, January 19, 1913. http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9E0DE1D6123BE633A2575AC1A9679C946296D6CF

Evillage74 on June 23, 2014 at 9:17 am

There must have been more than one “life-size bust” because the one that I have – here in my possession that I removed from the brick rubble back when it was demolished – is definitely not Thomas Jefferson. It might be Joseph Jefferson but it’s definitely not Thomas Jefferson. I’ll try to upload a pic today. Pretty fun conversation on this old theater! I miss the neighborhood.

DavidZornig on November 22, 2014 at 8:44 pm

This October 2011 link has several photos.


DavidZornig on June 15, 2017 at 7:15 am

1968 photo added credit Sepp Werkmeister. Jefferson Theatre in the background.

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