Sometimes, an entire block disappears. Like the west side of Third Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets. In the following two screenshots from Taxi Driver, we see the nondescript southern corner and then the lovely pink neon of the Variety Photo Plays theater.
The Variety was demolished to make room for the Toll Brothers' monster 110 Third and it was certainly the most tragic loss on this block. The nickelodeon opened in 1914 and that marquee was added in 1923--wrote the Times, "The lights buzzing on the underside of the marquee, when they were on, enveloped the passerby in a warm, glowing field. People going past the theater, even in the daytime, got a whiff of vintage celluloid, and at night it was intoxicating."
In the 1980s it showed gay porn then turned into an off-Broadway theater.
At the northern end of the block, on the 14th St. end, was Disco Donut, seen here in these screenshots from the film Downtown 81.
Above Disco Donut was a place called Carmelita's Reception House (click for pic). Lori Horvitz recalls Carmelita's as "a second floor establishment above Disco Donut on the corner of Fourteenth Street and Third Avenue. For some reason, I thought Carmelita's was a massage parlor that doubled as a house of prostitution. Only years later did I find out it was a legitimate bar that frequently held parties for gay women."
And climbing into the way, way back machine, here's another look at the same corner in 1934:
Of course, the city changes. A pawn shop becomes a 99-cent store, a taxi dance hall becomes a lesbian club, an ice-cream parlor becomes a donut shop. These are fluid alterations. And then there are irrevocable annihilations.
More on 14th and 3rd:
Grace & Hope