Monday, November 2, 2009

I could study this film for hours.......

I came across this historic video some weeks ago when I was doing research for Old Postcard Wednesday and a postcard featuring the Claremont Inn. It appears that the former inn and The Claremont Theatre featured in this film are related only by name (I do wonder about the background of the name Claremont in New York City history) but I loved the film so much I saved it in drafts. What astonishing footage it is.

Uploaded at youtube by TigerRocket, with the following information (I highlighted a key part):
1915 Edison Manufacturing Co.
The Claremont Theatre
3320-3338 Broadway (a.k.a. 536-540 West 135th Street) in Manhattanville.

The village of Manhattanville was established in 1806 in a valley at the crossroads of Bloomingdale Road and Manhattan Street (Broadway and 125th Street).

The community was the site of churches, a grade school, and Manhattan College (1853). A ferry terminus on the Hudson River, a mill, and a brewery contributed to a thriving enclave that had about five hundred residents at mid century.
- (excerpt) Karen E. Markoe / Encyclopedia of New York City - Edited by Kenneth T. Jackson

''The Claremont Theater is one of the oldest structures in New York City planned specifically to exhibit motion pictures, originally called ''photoplays.'' Located in north Manhattanville, at the southeast corner of Broadway and 135th Street, the theater opened in November 1914. Commissioned by Arlington C. Hall and Harvey M. Hall of the Wayside Realty Company, it was designed in the neo-Renaissance style by Gaetano Ajello, an architect best known for apartment buildings on Manhattan's Upper West Side. The building has three distinct fronts, including a clipped corner façade where the auditorium's entrance was originally located. This distinctive arrangement enhanced the theater's visibility and increased the amount of retail space. The corner, consequently, received the most elaborate decorative treatment and is embellished with an elegant low relief depicting an early motion picture camera set on a tripod. In 1915 Thomas Edison produced a short film (seen here) in which the theater's entrance is prominently featured. Filmed from across Broadway, it depicts groups of men, women, and children exiting the building. The second floor accommodated a large restaurant and ballroom, known under such names as the Broadway-Claremont or Clarendon Restaurant, and later, the Royal Palms Ballroom and Roof Garden. Until the early years of the Depression, area residents gathered here to eat, drink, and dance. Beginning in the late 1920s, the storefronts were leased to automobile-related businesses and by 1933 the theater closed and the interior was converted to an automobile showroom. Despite such changes, the exterior is well-preserved and remains a symbol of the growing popularity of the motion picture in the early twentieth century.''
- Designation List 375, Landmarks Preservation Commission / June 6, 2006

New York City in 1915:
On January 11, Colonel Jacob Ruppert and Colonel Tillinghast L'Hommedieu Huston purchased the Yankees for $460,000. The team wore their legendary pinstripes for the first time on April 22 / The elevated line to Metropolitan Avenue in Ridgewood opened on February 22 / The Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Japanese Garden opened, designed by Takeo Shiota / On June 22 the first subway ran through the Queensboro tunnel (originally the Steinway, then the Belmont Tunnel) between Grand Central and Queens. Service reached Queensboro Plaza on November 5, 1916 / The city's official flag and seal, designed by Paul Manship, were unveiled before Mayor Mitchel and Governor Whitman on June 24 / The Coast Guard took over the Arverne Lifesaving Station in the Rockaways (established in the 1840s). The station closed in 1929; a firehouse rose on the site.



Indigo said...

I loved this. It embodied the rich history of that time period. It was amusing to see boys will be boys and the antics of several trying to keep themselves in the film. (Hugs)Indigo

~ Tabitha ~ said...

What Indigo said!

Jason said...

This is a great blog you have here. I can't wait to check out some more of your posts! I just wanted to inform you about my site, We are a relatively new site that provides inspiration and guidance to people around the world. We're trying to get the word out about it, because we feel that it can be very useful to people for their every day lives.

I was wondering if you wanted to exchange links so we can spread some traffic around. Please let me know if this is possible.


Lydia said...

@Indigo- Exactly! Aren't those boys just what you'd see in front of a news crew reporting on a scene today?!

@Tabitha- That, and also did you notice the woman in the first 40 sec. or so with the huge muff with the long tail? Values have changed a lot...

@Jason- Hello...again. I appreciate another visit from you with compliments for my blog and an introduction to your blog. I wrote in previous comments that I do not exchange links here. That doesn't mean that your blog will or will not become a part of my blogroll, however. Best of luck with your new blog; I enjoyed my visit!



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