The Salvation Army has bought the former Cotillion Terrace catering hall at 7309-7321 18th Avenue for $12.75 million, with plans to make it a large retail location.
The two-story building boasts 39,000 square feet, and was recently gutted. The Cotillion Terrace closed sometime in the last decade – we honestly can’t remember when – and reports in the Village Voice indicated that the owners planned to demolish the club to create condos and a smaller venue.
Those plans fell through, and the building has sat empty for several years, a haven for graffiti artists hitting up its boarded up doors.
The Cotillion itself opened up in 1958, but the real star tenant of this building was its predecessor, the Senate Theatre.
The Senate opened in 1926 at a ceremony attended by Mayor James Walker. The venue boasted 1,175 seats, including orchestra and balcony levels, and 1927 saw the installation of a Wurlizter 2 manual 10 rank theatre organ.
As the stage gave way to the screen, the Senate Theatre ran second-run movies until it closed.
Here’s how Forgotten NY‘s webmaster, who visited the theater as a child, remembered it:
It was a fairly spacious house with three blocks of seats seperated by four aisles. The interior was done in light green and white and featured columns and decorative plasterwork throughout the interior. … There was a seperate entrance from the lobby to the orchestra, and the screen was large. The theater also had a domed ceiling…This theater was 10 blocks away from the more opulent Walker and 9 blocks away from the dumpy Colony. it was also close to the little but neat Hollywood and the majestic Oriental. This theater had air conditioning and a sign over the entrance said “cooled by refrigeration”.
Rest in Peace, State and Cotillion. We may never see the likes of large catering halls or theaters in this neighborhood again, but at least we can soon buy some second-hand goods in your hallowed interior.