RKO Radio Pictures Inc. opened its theater at 181st and Broadway in 1920. It boasted 3,500 seats, reportedly one of the largest theaters in the United States at the time. RKO was one of the nation's leading movie producers with films featuring top performers like Fred Astaire.
Today the theater functions as a triplex, sloppily diced up into awkward spaces. Its exterior is a mixed bag of awnings, billboards and graffiti. Beneath the layers of grime you can still see the elegant architecture.