Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Hudson Theatre

When I looked up the Hudson Theatre at an on-line database of old movie houses, it was listed as "demolished." In 2007, for that matter. Well, the database was wrong. The former Hudson Theater is still standing on the avenue of the same name, just west of the Empire State Plaza's Swan Street tunnel entrances and exits.

Of course, it's no longer a theatre. The days of movie theaters and vaudeville stages spread throughout Albany's downtown are long gone, with the exception of the historic Palace Theatre, of course...and there's the former Madison, a former silent-era theatre further uptown. The Hudson ceased operations as a theater in the 1950s and all the theatre fixtures and furnishing were torn out as the building was converted to a warehouse.

This building on the 200 block of Hudson Avenue was built in 1872 as the Albany Card & Paper Company factory. It wasn't until 1916 that it became a theatre. I don't know what films played there, but 1916 was the year of D.W. Griffith's controversial epic, Intolerance, starring a beautiful young Lilian Gish.

Movies came to an end at the Hudson in 1933, a time when my family lived just down the street. The building remained vacant for about twenty years before being turned into a warehouse. It was renovated some years ago and now contains apartments.

The former entrance with the letters HT above and the word HUDSON inlaid below are the last remnants of a theatrical past.

1 comment:

  1. I think that the theaters site defines demolished as meaning that the theater space no longer exists - not whether the building that housed it is there. Haven't been up that stretch of street in many years, glad to see the tile letters are still there.