Gene Frankel Theatre

Art & Culture | History

A building with a historical celebrity cache and avant-garde art cred

gene frankel theatre exterior noho

About Gene Frankel Theatre

 & why it made the Carpe City list

24 Bond has been an artists’ haven since the 1960s when the painter Virginia Admiral (Mother of Robert De Niro) owned the building. She was instrumental in making sure it was devoted to creativity.

The building became the center of the avant-garde jazz scene in 1969 when the musician Sam Rivers made his loft at 24 Bond a meeting place for like-minded players.

In 1972, Robert Maplethorpe moved in. In his 5th floor studio, he photographed Patti Smith and other downtown denizens, inviting his subjects to “do drugs, have sex and then be photographed.”

The Gene Frankel Theater moved onto the ground floor of 24 Bond in 1989 and still offers theater and classes to this day.

24 Bond remains very similar to its original 1893 construction. However, Bruce Williams, an artist living within its confines, began decorating the building with his sculptures in 1998 and added more as recently as 2010. The additions are striking! 24 Bond is the only structure in the city where a series of golden dancing acrobats twirl across the façade. The figures are a beautiful testament to the ongoing artistic identity of the building.

Carpe City Trivia

Who was Virginia Admiral?

As noted above, she was Robert De Niro's mom, but Admiral was famous well before her son was.

Admiral was a modern painter and writer who worked for the Federal Arts Project and studied under Hans Hoffman at the Art Institute of Chicago.

She exhibited at Peggy Guggenheim's "Art of This Century Gallery" in Manhattan throughout the 1940s, and briefly wrote erotica for her friend Anais Nin.

Admiral was instrumental in establishing low-cost artists' housing in NoHo in the 1960s. Her work is in the permanent collections of both the Met and MoMA.

By: Lucie Levine

New York City Tours

Great Places Near Gene Frankel Theatre

Chuck Close - Lou Reed NYC Subway Art
Art & Culture

Chuck Close on Bond Street

Chuck Close's former home and studio

20 Bond Street, New York, NY 10012
Vic's Restaurant Noho


Great neighborhood spot for pasta and pizza

31 Great Jones St, New York, NY 10012
Atla restaurant noho


Sophisticated Mexican with a casual vibe by renowned chef Enrique Olvera

372 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012
Animal Hospital Showfields Noho History
Art & Culture

Animal Hospital & Showfields

The first free animal hospital in the United States

350 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012
Bond No 9 perfume noho shopping
Art & Culture

Bond No. 9 Perfumes

"Making Scents of New York"

9 Bond St, New York, NY 10012
Il Buco Alimentari dish noho dining

Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria

Consistently delicious Italian with warm and rustic vibes and a bonus market

53 Great Jones St, New York, NY 10012
Blick Art Supplies interior noho
Art & Culture

Blick Art Materials

Invigorate your artistic journey

1-5 Bond St, New York, NY 10012
Robbins & Appleton Building noho architecture
Art & Culture

Robbins & Appleton Building

A landmarked legacy of art and manufacturing

1 Bond Street, New York, NY 10012
The Schermerhorn Building exterior noho
Art & Culture

The Schermerhorn Building

It's almost The Plaza…

380 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10003

More Great Walking Tours


Sign up to our monthly e-mail about the latest and greatest places for food, wine art and history

Skip to content