"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Where & When: Game 42

We’re back home in the city for Where & When today.  I’m not going to say much this time; if you know me well enough, I’m sure you can pick up something from that.

Where & When Game 42b

Sorry about the low resolution, but it was something I had to finagle with first since it was small, and it was the most unique pic I could find through Google, though I’m sure others exist somewhere out of my current reach. Tell us where this is, and an approximation of when.  The bonus, well… tell us when it was built and by whom, any significant events and what is it’s current status, if any.

I’m afraid I will have to break from tradition today to serve another one; my treat for anyone who comes up with answers; a street vendor buffet for everyone. See you all on the flipside!

[Photo Credit: LaGaurdia & Wagner Archives]


1 RIYank   ~  Feb 21, 2014 3:09 pm

Oh, this is interesting, but I'm about to go off to a meeting! Damn.

2 Bronx Boy in NC   ~  Feb 21, 2014 3:44 pm

It marked the spot for X.

3 Alex Belth   ~  Feb 21, 2014 4:20 pm


4 Chyll Will   ~  Feb 21, 2014 5:12 pm

[2] Go on...

5 rbj   ~  Feb 21, 2014 5:19 pm



Don't want to cut and paste the whole thing, give that site some clicks.

Came up very quickly googling "san juan movie theater"

6 RIYank   ~  Feb 21, 2014 7:57 pm

Oh, it's the Audubon Ballroom!

It's in Washington Heights, not really Harlem.
Infamously: the site of Malcolm X's assassination.
Designed by: Thomas Lamb, who designed the Ziegfeld (and lots of prominent theaters).
Current status: mainly demolished, but the Terra-cotta facade remains.

As for the picture date: I'd say maybe 1951. It's grainy and there aren't many revealing details so I'm going by the cars. (Also, it wasn't called the "San Juan" for very long.)

7 Chyll Will   ~  Feb 21, 2014 8:13 pm

Well yes, this was the San Juan Movie Theater, aka the Audubon Ballroom, c. 1954. It served several different purposes in its original form until it was partially demolished by Columbia University to expand the Columbia Presbyterian Hospital facilities, but under a public and private partnership, they restored the original facade and built both the Audubon Business and Technology Center and the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center.

This was, of course, the location where Malcolm X, then known as El Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, was assassinated 49 years ago on this date. I'm sorry to bring up such an unpleasant moment in history, but since this building/location is forever tied to that moment, I wanted to take the time to honor the preservation and renewal that eventually developed from it.

Till next time, have a great weekend >;)

8 Chyll Will   ~  Feb 21, 2014 8:25 pm

[6] Good job. At the time the picture was taken, the San Juan Movie Theater was the operative name and they showed many Spanish-language movies, but it was still known by many as the Audubon. It was largely abandoned after Malcomlm X's death, but amazingly years later though the outside had pretty much gone to pot, the actual ballroom itself looked exactly the same as from that moment.

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