Irving Place Theatre, 11 Irving Place, New York, N.Y. 10003

Close-up of postcard, dated April 1903, showing the Irving Place Theatre.  As Amberg’s German Theatre, it opened on December 1, 1888.

The New York Clipper, November 3, 1888:
“The new Amberg German Theatre, now in course of erection, is rapidly approaching completion. In a few weeks it will throw back its doors, giving to the German population something it has not possessed in years-a truly first class German playhouse. Besides it will have the distinction of being the only one of its kind in the city. On its boards German actors will appear, German plays be produced and everything therewith will bear the Teutonic stamp.”

Excerpts from the New York Times, December 1, 1888:
“The exterior of the building has become familiar to the public eye during its construction. It is extremely odd and unlike most playhouses, looks exactly what it is-a theatre. Its architectural style follows the line of the old Spanish moresques [sic].”

“Entrance to the outer lobby is had through two large double doors. The lobby is handsomely decorated in the Romanesque style with Celtic bands. The floor is of Italian white marble tiles. The work on the wall is mainly in bronze and gold.”

“The minor lobby is reached through three wide swinging doors, heavily carved. Here the decorations are of greenish bronze, bordered with friezes of deep red.”

“The seating capacity of the orchestra and two balconies is upward to 1,100. There are five boxes on either side, draped with ashes of rose draperies, lined with old gold. The decorations of the auditorium throughout suggest warmth, the main walls, seats, and carpets being of red. The walls begin in a deep red, over which is a pattern in lighter shades of red and gold, ending in a deep frieze under a cornice of Romanesque style.”

“The curtain, painted by Carl Gieger for the Karl Theatre in Vienna at a cost of about $2,300, represents the triumphal entry of the muses. The house will be lighted by electricity. The ceiling is more richly decorated than any other part of the house. It is divided up into panels connected by bands and streamers. The prevailing colors are yellow, red, and greenish bronze. The proscenium is decorated in a similar manner.  The stage is 40 feet wide and 70 feet deep, and the proscenium opening is 34 by 38 feet.”

New York Herald, September 3, 1893:
“Manager Heinrich Conried, the new lessee of the Irving Place Theatre, formerly the Amberg Theatre, is now busily engaged with the opening of the house, which will take place on Saturday 30. The theatre has been entirely renovated and redecorated, a new electric light plant has been put in and a good many other improvements and when the theatre opens its doors it will almost be a new house in every detail. The first play to be produced is Blumenthal and Kadelburg’s comedy, ‘Grosstadtluft,’ which has met with success in Berlin and other cities on the Continent.”

The New York Times, January 21, 1962:
“One of New York’s old playhouses, dating to a time when Union Square was a theatrical district, is extending a varied career. It is being converted into a warehouse.”

Demolished in 1982 with the site becoming part of the Zeckendorf Towers


Postcard the collection of Theatre Talks LLC

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, chosen 2010 Best Book of the Year by the Theatre Historical Society.



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