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'Hollywood Theatre,' Abandoned Atop New York Bodega, Photographed By Kevin Shea Adams (PHOTOS)

First Posted: 01/25/2012 4:45 pm   Updated: 03/26/2012 5:12 am

EV Grieve learned from Doug Quint a couple weeks ago that East Village Farms, a bodega on Avenue A between 6th and 7th, was closing. (Times are tough for bodegas in the East Village.)

Doubly sad, it looks like the building that houses East Village Farms might be wrecked by the landlord.

Hearing the news, Kevin Shea Adams, a photographer and musician living in New York City and a regular of East Village Farms, asked the store's owners if he could venture upstairs and photograph the abandoned, ornate theater there before it possibly vanishes forever. What he discovered:

A giant windowless brick shell traversed only by an old, warped fire escape juts up some 40ft directly above the store front, a giant black box. I learned from people in the neighborhood that this was once the old Hollywood Theatre which shut down in 1959, but what was more surprising was when I found out it wasn't just another dusty, gutted empty space, but that it was the functional store room for my dearest bodega! If the store was my sparkling spring, this was its cavernous aquifer. I began asking regularly about going upstairs at every two-dollar hydration visit. I wanted to photograph it and at one point late at night did receive permission, only to return the following day to be met with language barriers and gestures of denial. Eventually, I found my friend working again and received an invitation to return "after midnight." So I showed up with my camera and tripod, he warned me there was only one light, but it was plenty. Walking through the back past all the things you would expect and up a small staircase deposits you stage-left in this little store's swollen subconscious.

Check out Kevin's photos below. The Hollywood Theatre opened in 1926. Owned and operated by RKO, and then by Loew's Inc., the space was closed in 1959, according to Cinema Treasures.

For more American theater "ruin porn," Buzzfeed has a great collection here.


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Filed by Christopher Mathias  |