City Cinemas Cinema 1, 2, and 3

1001 3rd Avenue,
New York, NY 10021

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Showing 226 - 250 of 271 comments

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?

br91975 on December 1, 2004 at 9:00 am

With apologies to Sheryl Crow, apropos of nothing, the Cinema 1-2-3, located, of course, diagonally from the former Alexander’s site on the southeast corner of 3rd and 60th, is currently showing ‘Alexander’. (Weird, little, ‘fun’ useless fact for the day…)

irajoel on November 28, 2004 at 10:14 am

I vividly remember these two cinemas, it was a big deal, think they were the first to be built from scratch in a long time. As a teenager when they opened I loved the look of them, so modern looking and comfortable. What stands out for me is the large display case that would have 3-D and quite nice displays for the film showing. Don’t think this kind of display retailing had ever been done before, but I could be wrong. Also felt very sophisticated going there to see a movie.

dave-bronx™ on November 27, 2004 at 6:57 pm

BTW, they also changed the marquee signage (but thats a minor problem) – the Cinema 1 Cinema 2 Cinema 3 along the side is gone and replaced with Cinema 1, 2, 3 along the top edge in thin letters that you can barely see from across the street. The Cinema 1 2 3 is the last owned property City Cinemas has in New York – the other 3 are leased. And the primo location on Third Ave. opposite Bloomingdales will command huge bucks if it were to come on the market. I wonder if it is possible to get it landmarked as it is now and then order them to restore it?

RobertR on November 27, 2004 at 11:26 am

These people are a bunch of greedy low lifes, this is a sure sign the cinemas are goners. Not that they have many locations left, but I stopped attending any of their theatres after the Sutton fiasco. I guess they dont care, they can laugh all the way to the bank with the millions they will get from putting another skyscraper there. Any class the cinemas had anyways were destroed with the triplexing and their bookings are no better then a Long Island UA.

stukgh on November 27, 2004 at 9:37 am

It’s very sad to read of the progressive degradation of these once fine theaters. My relationship with these theaters got off to a rocky start though. On Christmas 1965 I was lured from Queens to my first Manhattan movie because that was the only way to see “Thunderball”, and I was a James-Bond-crazed 13-year-old kid. After a childhood of movie houses that ranged from generous to grand, I was shocked at the size and minimalism of the Cinema II. There was no curtain! And I has never seen a movie screen so small, or a theater so narrow. The fact that the screen was recessed into a slot in the wall made everything seem even punier. The dad of a frind of mine regularly showed 35 mm slides of his trips in the basement of his house, and I vividly remember the feeling that this theater felt just like that basement. (And the experience wasn’t helped by the fact that Thunderball was the first Bond film that left me badly disappointed.)
As I grew up, though, I learned to appreciate the wonderful selection of films that the Cinemas showed, and the clean, modern feel of the theater. The Saturday night ritual of standing in a long line with my girlfriend, patiently and eagerly anticipating a film treat, along with hundreds of like-minded fans, is something I’ll always remember. Even when it was cold, it was fun.

br91975 on November 27, 2004 at 9:29 am

Perhaps City Cinemas has caught wind of a possible renewed attempt to landmark the property. The last thing the neighborhood needs is to lose another movie theatre, even one that’s lost a bit of its luster over the years…

dave-bronx™ on November 27, 2004 at 8:53 am

Well, City Cinemas is at it again – they are destroying the Cinemas. I went past there last night and the blue tile area above the windows (see the photo above) has been plastered/stuccoed/cemented over – it is now just plain white and no evidence of the columns rising to the roofline. Also, from outside it appears that the copper ‘artichoke’ chandeliers in the upper lobby are missing – God knows what these clowns are doing to the place and what other horrors they may have committed on that building.

I am trying to get in contact with an insider I know to find out what the hell they are doing….

dave-bronx™ on October 23, 2004 at 5:40 pm

I think it was the fall of 1993 that he left to start his own booking service. I’m not sure when he retired from that and went to Florida. His wife was another very nice person, and would come to premieres and company events. Mr. D. seemed to know everybody in the business. I don’t recall meeting his children, they were grown up and married during the time I was around there.

alex345 on October 23, 2004 at 12:27 pm

Why did he leave? Or did he just retire? Did you know his wife and family? If so, what happened to them?

dave-bronx™ on October 23, 2004 at 9:20 am

Yup, he was (is) a class act. When I met him there I was impressed that the president of the company came in and stopped to chat with the staff – he knew their names, inquired about members of their families (by name) and was very pleasant and personable. It was a surprise because I had come there from General Cinema where the company executives who came around barely acknowledged the manager and the staff was just furniture in the lobby.

longislandmovies on October 23, 2004 at 4:40 am

Ralph Donnely allways a class act.