Gem Theatre

36 W. 135th Street,
New York, NY 10037

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Additional Info

Architects: Maximilian Zypkes

Previous Names: Crescent Theatre, New Crescent Theatre, New Gem Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Designed by architect Maximilian Zypkes, the Crescent Theatre opened December 16, 1909 with a program of vaudeville and motion pictures. It was a mixed-race movie theatre. It continued to exhibit films through at least 1922, by which time it was known as the New Crescent. In 1925 it was renamed Gem Theatre and operated as an African-American movie theatre. By 1930, as the New Gem Theatre and was closed around 1935. By 1937, the space was being used as a meeting hall.

Contributed by Damien Farley

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 12, 2005 at 8:19 am

The American Motion Picture Directory;1914-1915 has the Crescent Theatre listed at the address 38 West 135th Street.

The Film Daily Yearbook;1926 edition has this theatre listed as the New Gem Theatre with 300 seats. The 1930 edition of F.D.Y. has it listed as the Gem Theatre with 299 seats.

bamtino on December 12, 2005 at 6:34 pm

I neglected to properly list the theatre’s status as “Closed/Demolished.” Harlem Hospital Center now utilizes the land on which the theatre once stood.

bigjoe59 on July 31, 2013 at 4:18 pm


the Crescent/Gem was designed and built to showcase films as well as vaudeville and as such opened on the night of Dec. 16, 1909. so doesn’t that make it the 1st theater built brick by brick from the ground up in Manhattan for the purpose of showing movies?

for the next several years after the faithful night of April 23, 1896 at Koster and Bial’s Music Hall i should think any “movie theaters” that existed in Manhattan were simply music halls and vaudeville/legitimate theaters converted to show flickers as they were known.

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