If you could transport yourself to the corner of Eighth Avenue and 23rd Street in 1933, this is what you’d see. That’s the Grand Opera House, opened in 1868. Eventually the opera house began hosting vaudeville acts and showing movies until its demise in a fire in 1960.
When this photo was taken, Wallace Beery was starring in “Chinatown Nights,” and a night at the Cornish Arms Hotel costs a buck fifty!
Here’s the same corner today, with an unspectacular (okay, ugly) 1960s building taking the place of the gorgeous opera house.
The Cornish Arms Hotel is now the Broadmoor, an apartment building, and the Penn Station South Houses stretch up the block. These high-rises were built in the early 1960s by the International Ladies Garment Workers Union as affordable housing for union members.