BUNNY THEATRE, Hamilton Heights

by Kevin Walsh

Always have a camera.

Lesson learned at Broadway and West 147th in Hamilton Heights, where the old Bunny Theater has been forver stripped of its rabbits.

The Bunny Theatre at Broadway and West 147th Street recollected early 20th Century comic actor and theatre impresario John Bunny (1863-1915). Bunny appeared in over 100 silents in a little over five years, including a filmed version of Winsor McCay’s “Little Nemo” (1911) and Charles Dickens’ “Pickwick Papers” (1913). Bunny’s exuberant style and 300-lb. girth made him a fan favorite; he was so well-known that many of his pictures billed him in the title.

In the Bunny Theatre’s later years, it was renamed the Nova; sadly, it closed in 2003. That year, it became a 99-cent store, with its marquee removed, but its stone rabbits remained for a time, along with the word “BUNNY” chiseled at the top. 

A couple of years later, even those reminders were gone.



sara May 15, 2013 - 11:36 pm

Oh my god!!! I was in this dump today to get random materials for my art students! I would really love to see inside the old Hamilton Theatre across the street on 146th… ever been inside that one, or know about it? It is currently for sale, and I have been seeing workers entering a side door and a few at work through a window above…

raypalermo May 16, 2013 - 5:24 am

Cinematreasures says otherwise. Regardless they have a nice photo of it before it was stripped down.

John T May 16, 2013 - 6:48 am

Wish I saw it – it looked amazing: http://www.flickr.com/photos/theatretalks/7632998130/

I think the NY Times had a write up about it about 10 years ago

Sergey Kadinsky May 17, 2013 - 9:33 am

I remember passing by Bunny Theater when I gave the tour of Hamilton Heights. A funny last name passes into obscurity.


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