9. The Apollo Began Life as a Burlesque Theater

Designed by architect George Keister in 1914, the building now known as The Apollo Theater began life as a burlesque hall. Hurting & Seamon New Burlesque Theater was opened by Sidney Cohen to an all-white audience. The club, with its racy performances, was one of many popular burlesque establishments that soon became the target of an anti-burlesque sentiment, and the watchful eye of Fiorello La Guardia, who would become Mayor of New York City in 1934. La Guardia’s war on burlesque took center stage because of his concern that these establishments were corrupting the morals of the city – or so he said. He was part of a powerful censorship group that won its battle by simply denying the renewal of burlesque theater licenses. The Hurting & Seamon New Burlesque Theater closed its doors in 1933.