Broadway Theatre

131 Broadway,
Newburgh, NY 12550

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Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on August 9, 2011 at 4:41 am

Ad from Newburgh News, April 29, 1929, in connection with the opening of Lady of the Pavements with Lupe Vélez, directed by D. W. Griffith.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 29, 2011 at 5:18 pm

The building in the photo Warren linked to on April 15, 2009, has finally been identified. In a comment on the Bon Ton Theatre page, Bob Wilson says that it was the old Armory building, at Broadway and Johnston Street. It was not a theater.

RickB on April 1, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Google Books has a larger version of the Life fire picture here.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 1, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Patricia Favata’s book says that the damage to the theater from the 1943 fire that destroyed the building next door was primarily water damage. Apparently, the fire burned so hot that the fire department had to keep pouring water on the theater’s roof to prevent it from combusting. The 1943 fire took place on January 22.

The long delay in the restoration and reopening of the theater was probably due to the wartime shortages of materials, and the difficulty in getting permits. As Newburgh was then plentifully supplied with theaters, restoring the Broadway would not have been given a high priority by the Federal officials in charge of such matters.

kencmcintyre on April 1, 2011 at 9:51 am

Here is a 1975 article about the park that was supposed to replace the theater:

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 1, 2011 at 4:27 am

Warren is correct. The building in the photo he linked to might or might not be in Newburgh, but it certainly isn’t the Broadway Theatre. Not only was the Broadway, as restored after the 1943 fire, an Art Moderne building, but it was demolished following the second fire in 1965, so couldn’t have been there to be photographed in 1986.

It’s possible that the building in the photo was not a theater at all. The entrance was awfully narrow for a theater, plus it looks like the side walls had large, factory-style windows in them. It might have originally been a printing plant or some such thing. Whatever its original use, it certainly looks to have been built in the 19th century. The small, moderne marquee and the poster cases at the entrance suggest that it might have been used later as a dance hall, as those frequently had such features.

As for the Broadway Theatre, according to the book “Newburgh: The Heart of the City,” by Patricia A. Favata, the Broadway originally opened on February 28, 1914. The 1965 fire which ended its career took place on September 1.

BobWilson on May 7, 2006 at 3:31 am

Another fire on Broadway damaged the Broadway Theater back in 1943, I think it was. The fire started in an adjacent bowling alley, I believe. The theater was closed for about a year, and the Park Theater, on Upper Broadway, near Robinson Avenue, which had been inactive for several years, was cleaned up and reopened. I remember going to see “Yankee Doodle Dandy” there, for the first time. Since then, I’ve seen it probably close to 100 times. Corny as it is, I love that movie!!!!!

HaroldS on February 24, 2006 at 9:07 am

How well I remember The Broadway Theater in Newburgh. It has been one of my fondest childhood memories. Kid’s matinee admissions were 35 cents in the early 1960’s. Mr. Boyea let us bring snacks and drinks in with us as he knew most of us couldn’t afford the concession stand. Fishman’s just next door, sold a sleeve of popcorn for 10 cents! Mr. Boyea was great! I also remember him as the manager of The Ritz. At Christmas time the theater held a special cartoon showing to assist The Salvation Army, all we had to do was bring in a canned food item and we got in to see the cartoons.

I remember going to see “White Christmas” here, and coming out to see it snowing.

As a boy, the age of 11, I saw this fun place destroyed by fire. I remember well the front marquee with the large red letters H E L P this to advertise its current showing of The Beatles movie, “Help”. The Evening News had a photo of this the next day on the front page of the newspaper. Having a family connection, I got to see the inside view of The Broadway after the fire. The massive ceiling and roof had collapsed onto the seats, the screen was gone. Pretty much all that remained was the front of the building.

I remember being told that another fire occurred at The Broadway many years before. At that time the movie “A Night To Remember” was playing. Wow, talk about fate…2 fires, 2 movies, each with such traumatic titles. This time, however, the theater would not be rebuilt. The Broadway was gone.

What a great loss to Broadway and to Newburgh. Perhaps this loss was the beginning of Broadway’s demise. That of course is another long story.

The Newburgh Kiwanis Club made a great attempt to turn the empty lot into a park, but continual destruction prevented its growth.

Still today, 40 years later, you can still see a portion of the concrete on the front area that attached to the building next door, which then was Fishman’s.

If any readers have a photograph of the old Broadway, I’d sure like to get a copy.

Memories are great. We must treasure them all.

Harold Spellman
Saco, ME (formerly of Newburgh, NY)

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on October 12, 2005 at 4:44 am

The Broadway opened in 1914 and closed in 1965.