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Strolling Back Into the Golden Age of Yiddish Theater

Jewish Rialto - Cinema Village EastKevin McLaughlin

This past weekend, the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative hosted a walking tour of the long-gone Jewish Rialto, formerly one of the preeminent theater districts outside of Broadway. The marquees touting lively music, comedy, and burlesque acts are no longer aglow, but during the three-hour stroll, theater historian Cezar Del Valle noted architectural remnants of the Yiddish theater era’s early-1900s heyday.

The district was ample, stretching from Second Avenue to Avenue B, and from Houston Street to 14th Street. Smaller stages nestled on side streets also hosted Jewish, Shakespearean, and original plays, as well as vaudeville, burlesque and musical shows.

Beginning at 143 Houston Street, Del Valle opened the tour with the story of the Houston Hippodrome, which was “a wooden ‘worm eaten building'” and a German evangelical church in the late 1800s until the General Slocum steamboat disaster in 1904. The Minksy family of real estate investors funded a reconstruction and in 1909 the space reopened, “presenting movies and vaudeville. Short plays were added circa 1912,” said Mr. Del Valle. It’s now the home of the Landmark Sunshine Cinema. Read more…

Ippudo Expands Uptown

Ippudo NY, hakata style

The Bean isn’t the only local enterprise in expansion mode; Crain’s discovers that Ippudo, the oft-mobbed ramen joint, will open a Theater District location (its first outside of the East Village, not counting the Japanese originals) at 321-323 W. 51st Street in January.