The Real Deal New York

Small theaters becoming scarce in Manhattan amid high rents

May 29, 2012 10:30AM

Manhattan’s small theaters are having a particularly hard time staying afloat amid record rents in the borough, as landlords opt to convert their spaces into residential or retail, the Wall Street Journal reported.

For instance, the Living Theater, an experimental theater that has been operating for more than 20 years and has been at their current home, at 21 Clinton Street, on the Lower East Side, since 2007, is facing eviction after missing its rent for four months.

While the Living Theater was saved at the last minute due to an online fundraising campaign, the statistics are dire — 50 of New York City’s 200 performance venues with 99 seats or fewer have disappeared between 2003 and 2010, according to figures from the New York Innovative Theatre Foundation, a non-profit.

“It’s the classic gentrification story,” Shay Gines, executive director at New York Innovative told the Journal. “As is often the case, artists can “no longer afford to keep their space in a neighborhood that they had helped to revitalize.” [WSJ]