Thursday, January 13, 2022

Raising the Palace

An effort is currently underway to raise the historic Palace Theatre in New York's Times Square 30 feet above the street. This is to make way for more retail space at ground level. Not sure I'm in love with the idea of changing this iconic theater, but I do love the quote on the construction sign currently hanging in front of the theater.

This certainly isn't the first time Houdini's name has graced the Palace marquee. Built in 1913, the Palace Theatre was the brain child of Martin Beck and became the premier theater for Keith's vaudeville in New York City. Houdini played at the Palace in 1914, 1915, 1916 (2x), 1922, as well as making numerous appearances for special events. On January 5, 1922, he performed a suspended straitjacket escape from the theater's facade.

The logistics of this raising effort, which will take six to eight weeks, makes for an interesting read HERE. As to whether this should or shouldn't be done, Trav S.D. has his own take at his terrific blog Travalanche.

Below is a wonderful pic of the Palace as it appeared in Houdini's day.



  1. The Palace Theatre Wikipedia page makes no mention of Houdini, even in the list of performers. I intend to fix that, but that section seems thoroughly referenced. Do you have a good source with date to hand? I'm having a bit of a problem finding one.

    1. Wonderful idea!

      Try sourcing the newspaper article: "Houdini, Handcuff King, Reappears at Palace", The New York Herald, Sunday, Jan. 1, 1922. Page 8.

      If they accept online sources you can link to my post "Houdini Hangs at the Palace" which includes newspaper clippings with dates.

    2. Wikipedia is a reader-sourced website and it's information is often incomplete and/or inaccurate.

  2. The idea of raising The Palace is inherently off-putting, but I'm hoping it might at least alleviate the "trauma" of just entering the theater. It's right near one of the busiest corners in Times Square and the entrance can be overwhelming due to the constant convergence of traffic, theatre goers, and pedestrians. I imagine it was probably just as intense when Houdini played there. I'm hoping the new ground level space the elevation creates will get theatre goers off the street faster and more efficiently. At least I hope it turns out that way.