New York’s theatres: Vintage seating charts (1922)
From The New York Times – October 15, 1922
The average New Yorker would find it difficult to estimate the number and combined seating capacity of New York’s theatres. The figures are much higher than is generally supposed.
No other city in the world has so many theatres in actual operation as New York. The number of theatre seats available in proportion to the population is also surprisingly high.
The groups of theatres in the general vicinity of Broadway in the forties has no counterpart in any other city. Their number, however, is but a fraction of the total scattered throughout the five boroughs.
There are few corners in the residential sections of Manhattan which are not within sight of a theatre sign. Most New Yorkers are in easy walking distance of several moving picture theatres at least.
The neighborhood theatre is a recent development. In less than one generation, the number of theatres in New York has increased more than 1,000 percent.
The regular theatres devoted to theatrical and musical entertainments number at present over 100 a considerable property of these is of course in the Broadway and Forty-Second street section. These theatres seat from a few hundred to nearly 5000.
Their number is also steadily increasing, but not so rapidly as are the distinctly moving picture house. It is interesting to find that, apart from the moving picture theatres, New York still leads the world in the number of its theatres.
An estimate of the total seating capacity of the theatres of all classes will be found interesting. The average seating capacity of the smallest theatre regularly licensed is about 450.
The maximum seating capacity of this group of 398 features is therefore about 200,000. The average theatre of the next class seats over 1,000, and since there are 200 of them, they will accommodate 350,000.
The average seating capacity of the regular theatres, including the large ones, may be taken as over 1000. The 100 theatres of this size, therefore, accommodate about 100,000. The grand total seating capacity of all these theatres in New York, including the smallest movies, the combination house, and the regular theatres, is about 500,000.