City Cinemas Cinema 1, 2, and 3

1001 3rd Avenue,
New York, NY 10021

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Showing 226 - 250 of 282 comments

friends on March 21, 2005 at 10:11 am

All concerned people should contact the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission to express outrage over the potential loss of Cinemas I II as well as the loss of significant artwork. Request the LPC to designate the Cinemas I II as a New York City landmark. Landmark status will prevent further demolition of the building. Every letter or email helps.

Robert B. Tierney, Chair
NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission
1 Centre Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10007
F: 212-669-7955

Please contact Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts for more information.

Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts
20 East 60th Street, #4B
NY, NY 10021

jurayj on March 21, 2005 at 8:57 am

could dave-bronx please contact me about what is happening with this theater. I amongst others have been lobbying to have it protected

my email is

dave-bronx™ on March 1, 2005 at 4:12 am

The artwork has been put into storage (knowing City Cinemas, that means the $500,000 Bolotowski painting was probably thrown on the floor of a self-storage unit in Queens), and will not be re-installed in the theatre. “Major repairs” have been defined as some painting and ceiling panel replacement. What a bunch of hairbags……

Astyanax on February 24, 2005 at 11:01 am

Good to hear of the reprieve, but it appears obvious that City Cinemas/Reading is more interested in real estate, and not movie exhibition. What became of the suggestion that Harvey Weinstein might offer to purchase & operate both the Beekman & Cinema 1,2,3 – saving them from the wrecking ball?

Mikeoaklandpark on February 24, 2005 at 10:18 am

Great news. At least one theater got a reprieve. Was city cinemas going to operate the theater in the new high rise?

RobertR on February 24, 2005 at 10:11 am

I won’t give City Cinemas a dime of my movie going money.

dave-bronx™ on February 24, 2005 at 9:05 am

According to a source that I was finally able to get in touch with today, the artwork and other elements were removed from the interior and the exterior was altered specifically to prevent landmarking. It was their intention to demolish the building and put up a highrise, supposedly with new theatres in the bottom. The demolition was to occur this spring, but whatever the deal was fell through. I’m told that two days ago they found out the building won’t come down for at least another 5 years. Certain major repairs are going to be made, I’m trying to find out what kind of repairs, though I doubt it will include restoration of the artwork or the exterior.

StephenJohansen on January 17, 2005 at 1:45 pm

What great theaters in the 1960s. Great competition for the fading movie palaces… But neither of the venues lasted… The hoi polloi today are only happy with those horrible multiplexes… I guess TV and the plasma screens have taken over…. They have, as far as I am concerned.

RobertR on January 17, 2005 at 10:40 am

As much as I loved the old Cinema 1 & 2, this place has gone down and might as well close. The sad this is there is nothing being built to replace it.

Movieguy718 on January 17, 2005 at 10:34 am

Cinema 1 put up curtains in 1989 for the addition of Cinema “3."
It’s been downhill ever since.

Mikeoaklandpark on January 17, 2005 at 5:06 am

When I lived in NYC, they never had curtains. When did they install drapes. Was it during the addition of theater 3? For many years they didn’t have masking. In the late 70’s Cinema 1 had masking. When I went back several years and saw Prince Of The City, they had that dumb strip.

Shade on January 16, 2005 at 10:20 pm

Cinema 1, 2, 3 is just in sad shape. I love the back wall but on Friday’s screenings, which were packed, they had ONE person serving concessions and TWO people guiding people into Cinema 1 and 3 upstairs. I set my coat down in Cinema 1’s upper section, went down to the long concessions line, and got back to find the film had already started. I sat back with my popcorn and the seat back fell out from behind her. I moved over one seat to the aisle, but the intense bright lights under the handrails leading to the upper section had me moving another row back. Luckily the legroom is good, but…

When the lights came up I saw the horror that was adding the hallways to Cinema 3. It’s just completely awkward. And sadly I noticed the curtains did not move before or after the show. I asked the ushers and they said that the curtains go up once before the first show and down only at the end of the last show.

It’s just too simple to create a nice experience. It really causes more problems to have bad management than to just spend a few hours figuring out a better scenario.

The back curved wall is nice, the odd ‘gallery’ is interesting, the scultpure down to Cinema 2 could be cooler, but it’s great to be in that upper lobby and imagine how great it must have been to go to a premiere exclusive film and look out over east side New York in front of Bloomingdale’s.

As it is now, Cinema 1, 2, 3 is one of the lesser filmgoing experiences in town. It just doesn’t have to be this poor. Especially with audiences filling the seats.

Movieguy718 on January 8, 2005 at 2:11 pm

Hey Guys. Not for nothing, but the Cinema I has been a s#thole for YEARS. Small screens, uncomfortable seating, bad sound, clueless employees – good riddance.
Ditto for the Beekman – yes, it was nicely kept up since the renovation, BUT,,,they had (might still have – don’t go there anymore) a focus problem w/their scope lens, had a busted speaker for over a year and they LOVE to run the movies at a volume level that is just above inaudible. Really, if you’re gonna play a movie on level 4.0, what’s the point of going to a theatre? $10.50 for television sound? No thanks.

jeffg718 on January 7, 2005 at 4:44 pm

I think it is very vicious and sneaky to deface buildings to prevent their being landmarked. I recently walked past Cinemas 1,2,3, saw the stuccoing over the beautiful blue tiles, and wondered what was going on. Not too long before that, I had passed by the Sutton Theatre and was perplexed to see that the columns on the facade had been hacked at. Later that theatre was demolished. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the Beekman Theatre similarly defaced, in advance of its demolition, to prevent it from being landmarked. This is the mentality of our time.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on January 6, 2005 at 1:36 pm

I saw the original Rocky here at a 2:00am showing, with the usher crying, Don’t you know you won’t be out until after 4am? I guess he wanted to go home a little earlier. We smoked some weed, right in our seats, and had a great time.

I also saw The Elephant Man here…the movie took pains to carefully show the sight of him bit by bit. Well, by the time he was fully revealed we were sort of prepared for it, and we watched in quiet amazement. However, some ladies had arrived late and hadn’t been prepared, so when he came on screen again they started shouting and carrying on at the top of their voices, much to the annoyance of the upper eastside types that otherwise filled the theater. I had to laugh because I felt like I was across town on 42nd Street. Those Deuce audiences always expressed their opinions loud and clear, unlike their staid eastside counterparts!

Paul Noble
Paul Noble on January 6, 2005 at 1:03 pm

Speaking of “Heaven’s Gate,” I went to the final showing of that epic at Cinema One on a rainy Thursday night. I was seated in the front row of the raised rear section, and next to me was Pauline Kael, who chortled throughout the film, took notes, while eating danish pastries and sipping on miniature bottles of whiskey.

Mikeoaklandpark on January 6, 2005 at 10:16 am

I think it sucks that this theater is also going to close. There are no theaters left on the east side except the New York Twin which has never been a great theater. There are no multiplexes on the east side. Why would someone go all the way across town when they have tow beautiful theaters as the Beekman and Cinema 1,2,3. I know Cinema 1 & 2 were nice when I went there in the 70’s and 80’s b 4 the split of theater 2.The one thing didn’t like was that strip that they used in place of masking. Did City Cinemas ever put in reasl masking?

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 6, 2005 at 10:11 am

I saw “Heaven’s Gate” there during that week because it became must-see movie among many serious film buffs. Although I have some reservations about the picture, it is in many aspects quite extraordinary. Since then the “director’s cut” has become a bit of a cult movie and is available on DVD.

ErikH on January 6, 2005 at 8:40 am

Here’s hoping that the back-to-back announcements of the closings of the Beekman and Cinema 1-2-3 will prove to be a catalyst in improving the quality of filmgoing on the Upper East Side.

One of the most memorable experiences I had as a moviegoer took place in Cinema 1 on a Friday in the fall of 1980: the opening night showing of “Heaven’s Gate” (Cinema 1 was showing the film exclusively). A section of the auditorium was roped off for United Artists executives, who emerged ashen-faced after the screening ended (the audience booed as the credits rolled). The next day, United Artists announced that the film would be pulled from Cinema 1 the following week.

br91975 on January 6, 2005 at 7:42 am

Thanks also go out to Lou Lumenick, for breaking the Cinema 1-2-3 story and for bringing the potential plight of the Beekman to the attention of the public at-large, and for Fox-5 (owned by News Corporation, as is the Post) for covering the story of the Beekman in their news coverage last night. Excellent job and, again, thank you both.

br91975 on January 6, 2005 at 7:39 am

Not a damn surprise, I really, truly hate to say. With as vocal and as passionate an advocate as Harvey Weinstein getting involved, however, I think there’s a better than fair chance of the Cinema 1-2-3 and the Beekman being saved. (Meanwhile, I would have hoped for a more emotionally engaged response from Woddy Allen, but perhaps stronger words – and actions – will soon follow; below, for the record, is the NY Post article Paul first brought to our attention.)


By LOU LUMENICK Post Movie Critic

January 6, 2005 — A second historic Upper East Side movie theater, the Cinema 1, 2 & 3 behind Bloomingdale’s on Third Avenue, will close this spring and be converted to retail space, The Post has learned.
The latest shocker came as New Yorkers were stunned by The Post’s report yesterday that the prestigious Beekman Theatre, at Second Avenue and 66th Street, will close in June, be torn down and replaced by an outpatient-treatment center run by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital.

Miramax honcho Harvey Weinstein said he will fight to keep the theaters open.

“I spent my formative years as a teenager haunting these movie theaters,” Weinstein told The Post from Paris, where he was attending the European premiere of “The Aviator.”

“I used to take the train from my home in Flushing when movies like ‘Raging Bull,’ ‘Rocky’ and ‘Midnight Cowboy’ would open exclusively at the Cinema 1.”

Weinstein vowed to do “whatever I have to do, including financially” to save the endangered theaters.

“To me, they’re shrines of the ‘70s movie experience, and it would be a great loss to the city’s cultural life for them to close,” he said.

New York’s most famous filmmaker agreed.

“Of course I think it’s sad,” said Woody Allen, who shot a famous scene in “Annie Hall” at the Beekman. “It joins a long list of charming Manhattan landmarks I’ve filmed at over the years that have since vanished.”

Reading International, the parent company of City Cinemas, has filed for a permit with the city’s Buildings Department to demolish the interior.

The company’s executives did not return phone calls.

Seri Worden, executive director of the Friends of the Upper East Side Historic District, said the owners had recently applied a stucco facing over the blue tiles outside the theater â€" apparently to prevent the building from being placed on the landmark list.

Paul Noble
Paul Noble on January 6, 2005 at 7:05 am

See today’s New York Post (January 6) for story of forthcoming spring demolition of Cinema 1-2-3. With the Baronet/Coronet replaced next door by a high-rise, it was inevitable that developers would make the move on Cinema 1-2-3. The glory days of east side movie-going are over. Cinema One was where we saw “Tom Jones,” “A Clockwork Orange,” “The Exorcist.” And in the minds of New Yorkers, pictures like those will forever be associated with that theater.

peterdamian on December 2, 2004 at 12:11 pm

I had forgotten all about Alexander’s Department Store. Do you remember how it used to say “INCREDIBLE Alexander’s,” in humongous letters on the 60th Street side. Talk about an overstatement. Alexander’s was a poor cousin to “the other Korvettes.”

br91975 on December 2, 2004 at 9:29 am

Just a minor correction to my last post – and anyone familiar with Midtown East, at least until the time the site was cleared a few years ago to make room for the new Bloomberg tower, would know this so well – Alexander’s was actually located on the southwest corner, NOT the southeast corner, of 3rd and 60th.

stukgh on December 2, 2004 at 7:56 am

Thanks for the “woo woo” moment, Br549, I mean 91975, it brings back a memory of what I THINK is of the old Cinema I and II. I remember seeing some movie at one of the cinemas on a bleak winter day, probably 1966. I was in the upper lobby, waiting for — something — and staring idly out the window. I could see the marquee of what I’m pretty sure was the RKO 58th St. I think the RKO marquee had an unusual shape — triangular? And it listed “Juliet of the Spirits”. I was just a kid, had not yet heard of Fellini, and I remember wondering idly during my wait about what that movie might be about.
So, Cinema fans, does anyone remember — COULD you see the 58th St. marquee from Cinema I and II lobby, and did it actually have an unusual shape?