About The New 42nd Street
ABOUT THE NEW 42nd STREET
An independent, nonprofit organization, The New 42nd Street leads the dynamic evolution of the reinvented 42nd Street, cultivating a unique cultural and entertainment destination at the “Crossroads of the World.”
In the early 1980s, West 42nd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues was a neglected stretch of urban decay. New York residents and visitors avoided the area, and a growing public concern compelled New York State and City to join forces to eradicate the blight. The New 42nd Street was established by these public entities in late 1990 to assume long-term responsibility for the block’s seven historic theaters—The Victory, Times Square, Selwyn, Lyric, Liberty, Empire and Apollo. With this 99-year lease came the obligation to not only restore these theaters, but to create a new entertainment district for the 21st Century.
One of the first documents that the staff and board of The New 42nd Street published was the 1991 “Plan for The New Victory Theater” which began: “The mission of The New 42nd Street is clear: it must reinvent life for the seven wonderful theaters under its jurisdiction, and in so doing recreate them as places of popular art and entertainment for the 21st century and beyond. The theaters must serve as a magnet, providing affordable entertainment to New York City residents and visitors of all ages, races and classes, and they should resound with life both day and night. In order to reanimate the theaters and the street they occupy, imagination and tenacity must be brought to bear.”
Aware of the risks involved, The New 42nd Street bravely chose the least desirable property under its aegis—the double-balconied 499-seat Victory Theater—to restore and reinvent first. The staff and board conceived the revolutionary idea of inviting kids and families to 42nd Street, and—after eighteen months of design and construction—proudly reopened the doors to The New Victory Theater on December 11, 1995, dedicating the oldest operating theater in New York City to its youngest theatergoers.
Seventeen years later, The New Victory is renowned for presenting provocative and magical works that push artistic boundaries and cross cultural divides. The New 42nd Street—now a leader in the national and international arts communities—is devoted to operating and programming The New Victory, as well as The Duke on 42nd Street and the New 42nd Street Studios, and strives to find new ways to reach deepen, expand and develop our programs and services, and diversify our constituencies.
Gone is the blighted, hostile 42nd Street landscape of 1990. Today, The New 42nd Street is a thriving and spirited cultural institution, and this famous block at the Crossroads to the World is once more a vibrant destination for New Yorkers and visitors alike.