62 East 4th Street | Block : 459 | Lot #17
Description & Building Alterations
62 East 4th Street has been standing since 1889, when owner Victor Eckstein hired the architect Max Schroff to design what was originally a hotel, and which later became the meeting hall Astoria Hall. The building had a restaurant on the ground floor and meeting rooms on the second and third floors. Eckstein himself made his home on the fourth and fifth floors. Many refer to this building today as the “oddest” building with an Andy Warhol past in the East Village.
The building was also home to the first musicians’ union (established by John Philip Sousa) in New York City as well as the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union’s organizational meetings. It was later converted to a multipurpose theater that is still in operation today. A stage was added and the original murals can still be seen. Many Yiddish productions were held on the site and it was also home to television studios where several early television shows were filmed. In 1969, Andy Warhol rented the second floor theater, which was known as the Fortune Theater. The theater was used to show viewings of gay hardcore male porn films which Andy Warhol called “Boys to Adore Galore.” In 1973, The Godfather: Part II was filmed in the second floor studio. The building today is known as the Duo Theater and was recently renovated. Its stairwell is encased in a metal grille exposed on the center of the facade. The window enframements feature different forms and decoration on each story, with an ornamented loggia on the fourth floor. The cornice is a replication. In 2005, the City of New York sold this and seven other properties on Fourth Street between the Bowery and Second Avenue for $1 each to the Fourth Arts Block nonprofit organization, founded in 2001. The city had acquired the properties in the 1950s in anticipation of an urban renewal project that never occurred.
Block : 459 / Lot : 017 / Building Date : 1889 / Original Owner : Victor Eckstein / Original Use : Commercial/Institutional / Original Architect : Max Schroff