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Theater For the New City

About this listing

Off-off Broadway Theater known for political plays and community engagement

Place Details

Borough : Manhattan
Neighborhood : East Village
Market, Arts and Entertainment, Performance

Place Matters Profile

Written by Emily Rose Clayton for Place Matters and Professor Gwynneth Malins Fall 2019 NYU Local and Community History Course

On September 16, 1986, the Theater for the New City moved into a new home at the corner of First Avenue and Tenth Street. Almost fifty years prior, on December 1, 1938, the First Avenue Retail Market opened as the first indoor market under Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia’s initiative to clean up the streets of New York City. This simple stone building has served as an integral gathering point for the community for over eighty years, transitioning from an indoor market where neighborhood women shopped for the evening’s meal, to a bustling artistic center filled with experimental theater performances and artistic outreach programs.

In the 1930s, the streets of the Lower East Side were filled with pushcart peddlers, generally immigrants who lacked the capital to open a store front, but could scrounge...

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Anderson, Lincoln. “Feel the Burn! Theater for New City Pays Off Mortgage.” The Villager, February 7, 2013.

Blau, Eleanor. "Friends Help Theater for New City to Move." New York Times (1923-Current File), September 17, 1986.

-----. "Street Theater is Offering Satire." New York Times (1923-Current File), August 2, 1985.

Eder, Richard. "Stage: Sam Shepard Offers Buried Child: A Rootless Family." New York Times (1923-Current File), November 7, 1978.

“First Ave. Cleared of Pushcart Men.” New York Times (1923-Current File), December 2 1938.

Gerard, Jeremy. "Fresh Start for Troupe on 1st Ave." New York Times (1923-Current File), January 16, 1987.

"GOING OUT Guide." New York Times (1923-Current File), October 31, 1975.

Moskowitz, Sam. “Ralph Lee, 2018 Village Awardee.” Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. May 23, 2018.

Theater for the New City: A History From the West Village to the East Village with Founder Crystal Field. YouTube video, 1:32:59, from a lecture recorded at the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, October 12, 2015. Posted by Village Preservation, October 14, 2015.

Thompson, Howard. "Sidewalks: 2 Short Plays Amuse Village Residents." New York Times (1923-Current File), August 6, 1973.

“Volunteers Help Buyers on Points.” New York Times (1923-Current File), March 2, 1943.

Wallach, Allan. "Keepers of the Secret." Newsday (1940-1990), June 7, 1971.

Wasserman, Suzanne. "The Good Old Days Of Poverty: Merchants and the Battle Over Pushcart Peddling on the Lower East Side." Business and Economic History 27, no. 2 (1998): 330-39.

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