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The Unofficial

Columbia Ranch


New York Street

O riginally constructed in early 1935, the entire original New York street set (officially called New York Business street) consisted of a Hotel, the Gas & Electric building, a corner Drug store (Star Drug), an Apartment building (Parkway Arms), a Nightclub and corner store, a corner of Brownstone Buildings, a Restaurant and a high end office structure (The Kirby Building) on one side. The other side housed a large Department Store, an alley way, a Movie Theater, a News & Orange Juice stand, a Bank/Office and a high-rise apartment building, (Park Blvd. Apartments), with shops.

A view of New York Street in its early years. To the left in the distance, the Gas & Electric Building, The Parkway Arms, the Night Club and Corner Store. Not visible here is the Brownstone building corner and the Kirby Building.

The right side of the New York Street with the original Bank Building at the Corner. The News Stand and Alvin Theater. The Alley Way and the Department Store.

Many of Columbia's early Serials (2 Reelers) made great use of New York Street and its companions. Shorts like, Tom Kennedy-Monte Collins,  Charley Chase, The Three Stooges, Joe Smith and Charles Dale, Harry Langdon and Buster Keaton, to name a few, all utilized these streets quite often in the Ranch's early years.

A very rare view of New York Street at its inception in 1935. Only the lower section of the Theater and the original location of what became the Parkway Arms facade. The tall tower structure was a 'concrete staircase' with a camera elevator for single shot takes.

New York Street a few years later. (In a still from Harrold Lloyd's 1938)

The original Bank building is seen on the left. The Theater now has a second story, the Alley Way (not visible) and the Department Store all have taken residence on the street.

A Fire on May 26th 1950, consumed and destroyed a quarter of the facades on New York Street. Almost the entire West side of the street was gone (See details here ). Fortunately Columbia decided to rebuild the entire set, but modernize it to suit the needs of film and television for future productions.

After the fire it was decided that the alley was no longer needed and the Department Store was moved over. A Court House structure was built across from the Kirby façade (the front of the original Stage 31) and the Movie Theater was relocated on Modern Place. 

Another fire (Read about that here ) occurred in 1953 and destroyed the corner of New York Street and Park Blvd., where the apartment building (Park Blvd. Apartments) stood. (Today the current Bank building stands there). All was rebuilt although this time with a heavy steel peer and beam construction and with an updated look. The only structures that remained the same until the devastating fire of '74, were the Kirby Building , the Brownstones and the Parkway Arms building.

N ew York Street was originally longer before 1958. It extended into what became part of the Park, and it included the original Gas & Electric Building and a Hotel at what later became the corner of the Boston Row-homes (seen and used well in 'The Last Hurrah' in 1958) and referred to as Boston Street.

A seldom seen angle of the intersection of New York street and Park Blvd. The median in front of the Setton home (not visible) can barely be seen in the top left of this picture. The original Park Blvd. Apartment building is on the right. Down left is the intersection of Modern Street.

I n early 1958 the intersection was changed quite a bit, specifically for the movie 'The Last Hurrah', which was set in a Boston like city. The Gas & Electric building, along with the Hotel and the Setton Home were demolished to make way for a block of 9 Boston Row homes.

A s mentioned, one of the most unique façades on the New York street was the Star Drug Store, located across from the Gas & Electric building. Used in many of the serials and early movies, this was a perfect corner. It, along with many of the façades on the New York Street, had small interiors (called Practical Sets) that could be used to film inside when needed. This gave for a much more realistic look and feel and eliminated the need to recreate the set on a soundstage and paint and hang huge backdrops.

T he Parkway Arms Apartment façade as we know it, originally was just a large two window false wall next to the original Movie Theater on New York Street. It was relocated  next to the Star Drug store at the corner of New York & Modern Street in late 1935 and can be seen in the 1936 movie 'Adventure in Manhattan'. Used in many of the Screen Gems serials from the 1930's through the 1950's and stayed virtually unchanged throughout its existence. Only the right side Entrance was altered on occasion until the whole structure burned down, along with the rest of the New York set in the 1974 fire.

On the other side of the Parkway Arms building, nestled between it and the Corner Store, was  originally a small Cocktail Lounge. Many Serials of the time utilized it and it even was a main feature in the serial 'Brenda Starr Reporter' from 1945.

The Cocktail Lounge was removed in 1946 and became part of the non descript Corner Store at the intersection of Brownstone Street.

Across from it, on the other side of the intersection of New York and Brownstone, was  a section Brownstones. Although there was no entry way to the Brownstones on the New York Street side, there was another small shop/bar/restaurant  with a lower level entrance. It was there from the beginning and was frequently used in serials/movies and TV shows.  One of the last major appearance known is the TV series 'Circle of Fear' from 1972.

Next to the Brownstone corner was the last and largest structure on this side of New York Street. The Kirby Building. Named after Edward Arnold's character of Anthony P. Kirby in 'You Can't Take It With You' from 1938.

T he New York Street was used extensively throughout the entire time of its existence, both in its original configuration from 1935 to 1950 and its rebuilt, redesigned  form till its sad demise in 1974. It celebrated it's final day of existence on Saturday, Sept. 7th 1974, during the first Annual Burbank Community Fair. Lots of Visitors, Vendors, Rides and Attractions lined this majestic city 'Street' for the last time that day. Sadly, later that night it would go up in flames and never to be rebuilt.

Today, where the Corner Store, Flower Shop, Department Store and Court Building used to stand, is now a parking lot. The other side, where the Kirby Building, Brownstone corner, Parkway Arms Building,  and Corner Drug Store used to be, is now part of WB Animation and office Space.

A recent view of what used to be New York Street, as seen from the intersection of Park Blvd. and New York Street. No trace of the once Majestic Street that used to be here is left, other than the Bank Building.