Variety Arts Theatre
110 3rd Avenue (between 13th / 14th Street)
The Variety Arts Theatre was built in 1911 as a nickelodeon and later became a first-run movie theatre. After a long period of dormancy, producer Ben Sprecher took it over in 1991 and converted it to a 499-seat Off-Broadway theatre, leading the movement of a number of theatre companies to the Union Square area.
Exploding real estate values in the neighborhood lead to the theatre's replacement with another generic glass tower in 2006 and, unfortunately, I didn't make it down to photograph the theatre until after it was gone. Sprechter also controlled the Promenade Theatre on the Upper West Side, which was closed and replaced with retail.
Next: Webster Hall