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detail-rko-keiths-theater-queens-nyc-untapped citiesImage via After The Final Curtain

Once upon a time, opulent theaters built for the masses and the elite alike were the main destinations for entertainment. The theaters showed more than movies – it would be an all-day entertainment extravaganza from live music, dance performances, vaudeville, comedy to films. As we wrote in a previous exploration of the Loews Wonder Theatres, the most grand of them all in the New York City area, “in an era before television and with radio just a novelty, Americans could spend upwards of five hours or more in these theaters.”

Many theaters in New York City and New Jersey began as live performance theaters, and when vaudeville was on the decline, conversion into movie theaters became a more profitable option. But maintaining these grand film palaces was expensive and proved difficult to keep operational.

We bring you now 10 movie theaters in the New York City area that have stood abandoned for decades, falling into disarray as they became nothing more than warehouse spaces and retail store fronts.

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Nevins Street-Abandoned Platform-Art Gallery-Show-Exhibit-Phil America-Subway Station-Brooklyn-NYCPhoto by Phil America

“Getting into this exclusive art gallery could literally kill you,” proclaims the headline of the New York Post article on a guerrilla art exhibit by Phil America located in the abandoned level of the Nevins Street subway station in Brooklyn. Curbed New York got the scoop first with an interview with Phil America, who says the police are already investigating the installation. For us, this is particularly exciting because photographs of the lower level of Nevins Street have been difficult to come by, until now.

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“There’s one Babe Ruth in baseball, there was one Einstein in science, and one Nathan in the food business,” someone interviewed in the new documentary film Famous Nathan, about the Coney Island hot dog chain founder, says. This film is a personal journey for director Lloyd Handwerker, a grandson of founder Nathan Handwerker, who interviewed family members, Nathan’s workers, and put together archival film and audio and family home videos, to share this story on the centennial anniversary of the hot dog company.

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nyc-vintage-barber-shop-paul-moleImage via fashioniq

In recent years, vintage barber shops are making a comeback in New York City. The new generation of barber shops offer high quality cuts using traditional techniques and fancy products, but more often than not come with a hefty price tag. Nevertheless, many of these aspire to evoke a sense of the classic, old-world charm that still exists in the city. Some of these businesses are still going strong, but many are threatened by dwindling customers and gentrification. As a nod to those who have inspired the new breed of barbershops, here are 10 authentic vintage barber shops that have been serving customers for at least 50 years, and counting. (more…)

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Hugging a bend in the Prospect Expressway in South Slope, Brooklyn are a series of zig-zagging pocket parks, mostly hidden behind private row houses and accessed via only a few narrow entrances. They were planned during the construction of the sunken highway in the 1950s, out of condemned land that was too odd-shaped or inaccessible to remain as residential plots. (more…)

Spread across the five boroughs of New York City, the Fire Alarm Telegraph Stations stand in City parks as reminders of the City’s efforts decades ago to improve the efficiency of its fire fighting system. They are architecturally distinctive buildings set in bucolic park settings, with minimal signage to indicate their purpose. (more…)