Palace Theatre (Albany, New York)

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For other theaters of the same name, see Palace Theatre (disambiguation).
Palace Theatre
PalaceTheater.JPG
Theater marquee and entrance, 2009
Location 19 Clinton Avenue, Albany, New York, USA
Coordinates 42°39′16″N 73°45′2″W / 42.65444°N 73.75056°W / 42.65444; -73.75056
Owner City of Albany, New York
Type RKO movie palace
Capacity 2,844
Construction
Built June 1930 - October 1931
Opened October 1931
Renovated 1960, 2002-03
Website
http://www.palacealbany.com
Palace Theatre
Built 1931
Architect John Eberson
Architectural style Art Deco
Governing body City of Albany
NRHP Reference # 79003235[1]
Added to NRHP October 4, 1979
75th anniversary logo

The Palace Theatre is an entertainment venue, in downtown Albany, New York, located on the corner of Clinton Avenue (US 9) and North Pearl Street (NY 32). The 2,844 seat theater is owned by the City of Albany and run by the Palace Performing Arts Center, Inc - a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The Palace Theatre hosts more than 150 events annually, from public performances such as concerts, plays, educational programs, live comedy and a classic movie series to private events such as weddings, dance competitions, corporate events and graduations. It is also the annual home of the Albany Symphony Orchestra.

The Palace was designed by John Eberson, a theatre architect noted for his atmospheric designs. Although the Palace includes some atmospheric features in its design it is not considered an atmospheric theatre. In 1979 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Nine years later it was declared a contributing property to the Clinton Avenue Historic District.

Building[edit]

The theater is on a small lot at the northwest corner of the intersection, just north of downtown. It is a brick and stone steel frame building in two sections.[2]

The front two stories, facing the corner and including the marquee with a modern scrolling LED display, are faced in tan brick with some stone ornamentation. The windows have carved brackets. There are open pediments with cartouches and brick parapets with molded stone coping.[2]

The taller auditorium, to the northwest, features a banded chimney and decorative brickwork facing the south. The east elevation, along Pearl, has circular arcading and banded pilasters.[2]

The interior is designed and decorated in the Austrian Baroque style. The foyer, between the lobby and main entrance, has red marble staircases decorated in scrollwork, cartouches, and garlands. The wrought iron railing is foliated. Murals by two Hungarian artists decorate the walls.[2]

The balcony level extends over two-thirds of the sloping main floor. The heavily decorated ceilings and walls include pilasters rising to complex entablatures, statuary, and arches framing the wall boxes. A Czech made crystal chandelier hangs from the ceiling. The orchestra pit can be raised and lowered by an elevator.[2]

History[edit]

The Palace Theatre was originally built as an RKO movie palace. Construction took place from June 1930 to October 1931. When it opened it was Albany's largest movie theater.[3]

In 1940, The Palace was sold to FAST Theatres, part of Fabian Enterprises, when RKO exited the theater business due to antitrust concerns.

The theater underwent a $250,000 renovation in 1960, seating capacity was reduced to allow for more comfortable seating. The Palace closed in September 1969, as it had become unprofitable.[3] Soon after its closure, the building was purchased by the City of Albany for $90,000 and reopened. During the first few years of the city's ownership, a new boiler and roof were installed, the limit of its renovations for decades.[2]

It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 4, 1979.

In 2002, an extensive restoration project began, completed in January 2003, at a cost of $3 million. Work was carried out by Conrad Schmitt Studios of New Berlin, WI. The local firm of Einhorn Yaffee Prescott were the architects for the project.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°39′16″N 73°45′02″W / 42.65444°N 73.75056°W / 42.65444; -73.75056