Manhattan Theatre Provides for Horses

The Moving Picture News, July 22, 1911:


“Last week when New York’s dumb animals as well as the human portion of its population were sweltering in the heat, William J. Gane, of the Manhattan Theater, gave water to a thirsty horse in front of his theater on the corner of Broadway and 31st street.  While the horse drank he took the hose and sprinkled it with the fresh cool water; for his pains he was fined ten dollars.

“However, Mr. Gane, seeing the comfort the horse derived from its shower, in the kindness of his heart, immediately installed a couple of real shower baths at the edge of the pavement directly in front of the Manhattan, and here hundreds of our dumb friends reveled, during the recent hot wave, in the refreshing spray so thoughtfully  provided for them by the big-hearted manager.”


Since 1997 theatre historian,  Cezar Del Valle, has conducted a popular series of  theatre talks and walks, available for  historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

Walks also available at Local Expeditions

Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres.

The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.

Editing and updating the third edition of the Brooklyn Theatre Index.






Airdome, 109th Street and Manhattan Aveue, New York, NY

The first of our summer series.

Many early movie houses  moved to an outdoor space during the sweltering summer months.  The owner may have started outdoors and proving  successful constructed a theatre building.

Known as airdromes (sometimes spelled airdome), these outdoor venues were part of the silent era of movie going.


The Moving Picture World, July  15, 1911:

airdrome_pe (Large)

“Rarely, though sometimes, a newcomer in the amusement world will make old timers sit up, take notice and also to some extent a rear seat.

Such it seems, is our friend Frank G. Cook, who three months ago knew nothing at all about the show business, but to-day has what is, in some ways, the best appointed airdome in all New York City.

Mr. Cook planned and built the airdome himself. It is situated at 109th Street and Manhattan Avenue. The ground lies several feet above the street, sloping gently back, thus forming a natural ampitheater.

Mr. Cook has several attendants, illuminated program announcer, a large clock over the entrance, in plain sight of the audience, and the projection is excellent.”

Cezar Del Valle is available for theatre talks and walks in 2013.

He is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, chosen 2010 Best Book of the Year by the Theatre Historical Society.