Venus Theater

728 8th Avenue,
New York, NY 10036

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Additional Info

Functions: Restaurant

Previous Names: Eros 2 Theater

Nearby Theaters

Around 1985.

The Venus Theater was the last of three adult mini-cinemas to be opened by Chelly Wilson on the eastern block front of 8th Avenue between W. 45th Street and W. 46th Street. The first two were the Capri Theater and Eros Theater, just a few doors from each other and opened in 1969.

The Venus Theater opened in early-1970 as the Eros 2 Theater, during a time when sexploitation ‘skin flicks’ were making the transition from explicitly simulated sex scenes to the genuine hardcore XXX action that would cause increasing furor as the decade progressed. This was also a boon-time for the so called “mini cinemas' (theaters with seating capacities in the 100 - 300 range) during which the Times Square area would see a proliferation of similar store-front conversions to handle the growing demand for sexually explicit material. The Venus Theater, though relatively small, offered balcony seating and advertised itself as "New York’s Most Unique Adult Theater” playing a rotation of “3 Hit Porn Flicks” on a continuous grind for some 25 years.

Many attempts would be made by a succession of mayoral administrations to clean up Midtown Manhattan and rid Times Square of its myriad porn establishments (from book shops and peep-shows to pleasure palaces and porn pits). Along about 1996, the Giuliani administration finally pulled off what Lindsay, Beame, Koch and Dinkins only dared to dream about, when all three theaters were shuttered and renovated into trendy theater-crowd eateries.

The space has been completely gutted and is now a restaurant called Trattoria Daniela.

Contributed by Ed Solero

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 6, 2006 at 3:29 am

Here’s a shot of the Venus marquee, probably from some time in the early ‘90’s.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 12, 2006 at 5:13 pm

Here’s a current shot that depicts the buildings that formerly housed the three theaters that comprised Chelly Wilson’s porn monopoly of this block. The Venus was located in the light colored building on the right, which currently houses Daniela Trattoria. Skip a building to the left and you’ll see the former Eros Theater site, now occupied by Playwright Tavern and opposite the small parking lot is the Euro Diner in the building once occupied by the Capri Theater.

Props to Lost Memory, who posted some photos from this site on other pages here (including the Eros) and got me browsing for more. I’m also posting this on the Capri page.

woody on September 15, 2007 at 8:26 am

heres an early 90’s shot that i took of all three theatres
View link

woody on May 7, 2009 at 6:11 am

here is a better higher res scan of the previous posting showing all three theatres
View link

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