PlayStation Theater

1515 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 226 - 250 of 554 comments

YMike on August 2, 2004 at 2:00 pm

You would think they could have booked something special if they were only going to be open for the weekend. Or at least announce that they were closing on Sunday. I had planned to go on Thursday even know I did not really want to see the “Village.” Lets hope the Ziegfeld stays open but I always felt the Astor was a better theatre.

theatrefan on August 2, 2004 at 1:53 pm

It’s no suprise to me that they were ripping the place apart right after the 10:15 showing of the Village. When I was here Friday nignt I spoke with the manager, whom I remember from the Kips Bay, he said that they have to be totaly cleared out from this space by Thur. From what Shade said they were probably working all night to take out all the theatre equipment.

You guys are right the Loew’s Jersey is an terrific place to see movie, they turn 75 in September so I hope something special is planned.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on August 2, 2004 at 12:45 pm

The Loew’s Jersey City shows classic movies about one weekend a month starting in September and ending in May (it has no air conditioning so it’s not open in summer). This year is their 75th anniversary, so I’m sure they’ll have something special planned when they reopen in the fall.

Thanks, Shade, for posting every detail (sad though they were) of the final night of the Astor Plaza. We can only hope that someday there will be a big single-screen theater in Times Square once again.

Mikeoaklandpark on August 2, 2004 at 12:10 pm

I wrote Loews and blasted them. I can’t beleive they tore the theater apart on the last night. Ialso didn’t know they were showing movies again at the Loews Jersey City.

Shade on August 2, 2004 at 12:04 pm

Sorry, those who didn’t know, I had posted this statement “I’ll be there Sunday, for the last show of The Village at 10:15 pm” on the 30th, but I guess that wasn’t enough time for it to be read.

I had heard August 5th from the theater itself, then when I went online I saw that they were closing on the 1st.

I also wanted to get there a little earlier to take some pictures. I did get a few, but didn’t do the ‘four corners’ thing I wanted to do showing the vast space and many seats.

We arrived via 44th so we could walk up to the large marquee one last time, bought our tickets, were given the coupon sheet for a free entry to 34th Street and a free upgrade to Reserved Seating at the 34th. This was ‘Loews’ gift' for 30 years of service.

The guy taking tickets was cool. He was talking with one of the people from the Cinemaniacs documentary and laughing and said, This is it! The last night!

Got some popcorn and a final hot dog, said hi to staff worker Noble who I had been talking to since I learned of the end, he mentioned he was moving over to the Loews State, and I went to sit down. There were a 150 people maybe. Took one pic and someone noticed my Cinerama shirt and it turned out to be some guy who works at Film Forum.

Watch the movie, and it was really dull. Completely boggles my mind that Loew’s would not only book a big opening film for only three days, have the studio make up brand-new marquee image tiles that will only fit this one marquee for three days, but that if they knew they were closing and didn’t want to just end the run with Spider-Man 2 (which really would’ve been a much more wonderful note to go out with), then why not rent some print like Titanic or some big event movie that people might actually clap at and let us have a go? They obviously knew people were upset enough to print up these coupons, even though they really just want us to completely bypass the 42nd Street Loews and head to 34th, which is bland bland bland bland. Nice, but bland.

Top of the screen had the same old projection problem they’ve had for years (just slightly fuzzy at the top and not completely full). I’ve been going to the Astor Plaza for 12 years and it’s always had that. A couple of times I actually went to other theaters just because I needed the better projection. Still, glad I saw Lord of the Rings 3 there on opening day, Christmas Day 2003, as it was completely and entirely sold out. So much fun!

So the Village is ending, I grab my video camera and go all the way to the last row in the center, just over that back exit, to shoot the final closing curtain. I almost wondered if they were going to do it. There were some workmen looking at the black masking cloth. The curtain closes, one guy up front stands up and claps and I do the same. There were only 12 people in the theater at this point. A few were walking around looking at the various vantage points, much as I’d been doing since I learned of the imminent demise of the space.

I saw each film here since I learned the news: Van Helsing, Shrek 2, Harry Potter 3, Spider-Man 2, the Village. I kinda wanted to catch Spider-Man 2 again on the big screen, but the week got busy.

The end was pretty awful. After the screen closed I panned the camera around, and they were reopening it. Then these burly gristly guys who drink beer started pulling at the black curtains. Then a guy was walking around with a flashlight. Then ladders and other tools and ropes came in. I asked one of the guys, Is it possible this space might be used for movies again? He said, Well, we’re taking the speakers now, so those will be gone. I’m cutting the screen open to get to the speakers in back. The projectors are going, so they’d have to replace those. So I don’t think they’re going to show movies here again.

I wanted to get a nice shot standing in front of the Broadway bulb overhead as you entered, and I did, but the guys are in the background on their ladder, already taking the place apart moments after the credits were over.

The theater staff just wanted us gone. As we were taking pics they kept telling us the theater was closing. I took a couple pics of the mammoth stairs, one of the eternally closed back exit where the theater manager had a little open-air ‘office,’ opened up the video camera for one last ride up that long escalator to the street, and exited out the front.

Had to walk down the long corridor hallway that also has the entrance for the Minskoff, just because it was always so fun to walk down that hallway to catch a flick in the Square.

And that’s it for the Astor Plaza, the last witness to Times Square’s over-the-top motion picture swelling. There’s one mute witness, waiting for a renter, but at one million a year it seems unlikely. The Loews State is a very dim memory, having a hey day for a few short years until the two megaplexes opened on 42nd. Once that dim light is extinguished, there will be nothing but memories of what movie-going was like in Times Square. Or that Times Square even had movie theaters.

VincentParisi on August 2, 2004 at 11:48 am

You guys get yourselves over to the Loew’s Jersey and prepare to be really awed. The movies are better too.

sdoerr on August 2, 2004 at 11:20 am

Confirmed, I called…oddly enough there is still someone there “When is the last day the theater will be open”.. replied with “Were already closed”. Such a shame.

Mikeoaklandpark on August 2, 2004 at 10:53 am

I think that really stinks Bill. They couldn’t put an exclusive film in there for a week. I think I ma going to e mail Loews and everybody should do the same.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on August 2, 2004 at 9:20 am

So much for my final trip to the Astor Plaza on closing day, August 5th. They closed yesterday. To all the Astor Plaza naysayers, I know it ain’t the Roxy and never came close, but I had so many good times there and I’m going to miss it.

StephenJohansen on July 31, 2004 at 12:32 pm

A fine farewell and parting to the Astor Plaza. It is a shame.
But, the greatest movie theater of all times anywhere in the world was the Radio City Music Hall and it is still standing. It shows a premiere movie every now and then, but at least it is still here, and now the New York Liberty is currently taking over for the Rockettes. I think all movie palace fans should plan a big party and rent out the Music Hall! And the contour curtain still remains.

br91975 on July 30, 2004 at 11:16 pm

My Astor Plaza memories are limited to having seen only two films there – ‘Runaway Bride’ and ‘Signs’. Both were disappointments; I hoofed it out after 20 minutes of ‘Bride’, to the gasps of what had to have been an auditorium full of tourists who, by dint of their bellylaughing at some of the lamest ‘humor’ ever committed to film AND some of their murmurings of, ‘Oh! He’s walking out!’, I’m convinced to this day got SERIOUSLY lost on their way to Branson and a Wayne Newton ‘extravaganza’, and ‘Signs’ was a bit too heavy-handed for my tastes. The theatre itself, though, was a singular experience – that curved screen, those seemingly endless rows of seats… wow! I feared from the time the double-booking of the Astor Plaza and 42nd Street E-Walk begain in the spring of 2002 that the Astor’s days were numbered and, sure enough, those fears have now been realized. You (and the Ziegfeld) are the closest things to a movie palace this 28-year-old film buff has ever had the privilege of experiencing and I’ll miss you terribly…

theatrefan on July 30, 2004 at 9:05 pm

Taken from the Loews Cineplex 1999 Annual Report: “1975 Funny Lady premiers at Loews Astor Plaza, Still the largest auditorium in New York City with over 1,400 seats”

Was there tonight to see “The Village” quite a turn out for the 9:15 Show.It was really something to be in that giant auditorium and see those huge red velvet drapes closed over the movie screen. I sat in the back balcony section to get the full effect of vast expanse of grey seats in front of me. The Village is in the flat screen format, so I didn’t get the full effect of the huge 61' sceen, but I stayed till the end of the credits to see the drapes close, it was a sad sight. I agree with you guys, its our hole in the ground. Farewell Loews Astor Plaza, some of us will really miss you!

Shade on July 30, 2004 at 2:19 pm

I remember Titanic playing there for a week or so recently. It was a little jarring to walk down the street and see Titanic up there again several years after it had opened. Kinda wish I saw it again, just for that large effect. My first Titanic screening was in one of the little boxes at the Chelsea 23. Not as cool. Did see it once at the Astor.

Now I really wish I saw 2001 twice. I remember how they just dumped that thing out there. I remember it was a supergreat experience and people did clap and cheer when it played.

I know W——– likes to rag on all of us young people for the crime of not being old enough to be alive to visit New York’s grand old movie palaces, but the Astor Plaza was my first big giant theater experience in New York, and no matter how much he wants to put on his jackboots and stomp all over my pleasant memories, I’ll have them.

I’ll miss my event movies in Times Square. I loved standing in a line in TIMES SQUARE to see a movie in a giant theater with a big crowd. I loved leaving a movie in TIMES SQUARE and seeing everyone bustling around, and the long lines outside even recent features like Lord of the Rings. I loved seeing the Grindhouse logo and Shaw Brothers logo in a TIMES SQUARE theater during Kill Bill. As a little kid I used to dream about seeing movies in Times Square. I moved here in 1992 and 42nd was already boarded up. I think there was one multiplex operating on the Deuce. Never made it in there that I remember. Visited the Embassy a couple times for crap like Judge Dredd. Ran into a couple of the porno places right before they went away, but the movie-theater New York I used to dream about was long gone by the time I got here.

I got one night at the Bleecker Street Cinema before it was gone. Saw The Kingdom at the Anjelika 57. The nondescript and bland Art Greenwich was at least a neighborhood theater for me. I saw Donnie Darko last night in a modern box on 42nd.

As crappy as the projection had been for years, as terrible as those faded posters for King Kong and Superman II were all those years, going down into that ‘hole in the ground’ was always a great experience for me. It felt pretty wild to go down such a long escalator to experience a new film. And that huge lobby and the standees all around. Especially before the two 42nd Street theaters closed, back when the Astor was THE place to go, and lines would form and huge audiences would show up.

I’d prefer not to have my heart stomped on during the final days of the bare tendrils of memory I can drag out of today’s soulless New York. But it’s a “free country,” which means we can pee on each other’s tears all we want.

Me, I’m going to remember the Astor Plaza fondly.

I’ll be there Sunday, for the last show of The Village at 10:15 pm. Watching the curtains close, and holding back a sob. That ‘hole in the ground’ is leaving a hole in my heart.

YMike on July 30, 2004 at 11:11 am

I saw Titanic there on April 15,1998. It was the late show and the theatre was fairly empty but what a great theatre to see that film in. Sound and picture were great. It’s too bad they couldn’t bring back some classic films like Star Wars or Titanic for the Astor’s last week instead of the village. I bet more people would have come for those films.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on July 30, 2004 at 8:29 am

“2001” had a fine presentation at the Astor Plaza, good and loud! The only thing they did wrong was leave out the intermission, but they played the overture over closed curtains, and there were no commercials or previews to spoil the show. It was like 1968 all over again. At the end of one show they left the theater lights off when the credits were over while the exit music played, so you had to find your way to the exit doors in the dark. Whether it was a mistake or not, I don’t know, but it was effective. One of the Friday night shows had a fairly big crowd with the center section almost completely full, amazing in spite of practically no advertising (one tiny ad in the New York Times was all I could find). It was total word of mouth, and the faithful fans came. I also saw it there on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve 2001, for obvious reasons.

umbaba on July 30, 2004 at 6:59 am

ASTOR MEMORIES??…The first movie I saw there was 1492…a beat flick made better by the presentation (I believe it was 70MM)

I really enjoyed seeing The Godfather there in 97, on the big screen and I did see 2001 re-issue in Dec. 2001. I had forgotton it was 70MM. It was great although they never publicized it and there were maybe 20 people there. A damn shame. I just saw Spiderman 2 and I might venture in to see The Village. Yes, it’s a hole in the ground, but the fact that it’s a big screen, great sound and picture AND the last of the single screens does make these tributes more nostalgic.

IanJudge on July 29, 2004 at 2:38 pm

I believe that Loew’s became Loews sometime between 1968 and 1972. I am not really sure why… but it may have been related to the fact that the Tisch family (who conrolled Loew’s at the time) turned “Loew’s Theatres, Inc.” into “Loews Corporation” (with the theater company as a subsidiary). This new Loews Corp. (which still exists today as a conglomerate) is not to be confused with the original Loew’s, Inc. (M-G-M and Loew’s Theatres).

Loews Corporation spun off Loews Theatres in the 80’s. It was owned by TriStar Pictures, taken over in turn by Coca-Cola, sold to Sony. The name change from Loews to Sony Theatres was to reflect the fact that Sony was so supposedly advanced with technology that people would be convinced that a “Sony” theater would have to have superior equipment, etc. This would perhaps have worked if all the old and dreary Loews became amazing hi-tech Sony’s overnight, but clearly, the older theatres did not change much more than the marquee.

When Sony knew it was looking to spin off the theater chain once again (merging it with Cineplex Odeon) they changed the name back to Loews because 1) Loews is a familiar and historic brand name, and 2) they didn’t want a company they didn’t own to use the name Sony.

I would think that, since Loews Theatres is not related to Loews Corporation, they would bring the apostrophe back, to distinguish themselves from the conglomerate, but I would imagine, just as with all the other issues discussed on this page, they just plain don’t care.

VincentParisi on July 29, 2004 at 1:16 pm

Go Warren you said it like it is. As I’ve said many a time but never enough I remember when this was literally a hole in the ground in ‘68 and it’s always remained one. Now lets hope that Toys R Us goes bust and we can rebuild the great Criterion.(by the way it used to get the second runs after the Astor Plaza because the idiots that be never gave it the first runs. Superman looked so good on that screen.) New York is not the same without you Criterion.

William on July 29, 2004 at 1:15 pm

It’s not MTV thats taking over the theatre. And Viacom does not own the building, they are just a tenant.

theatrefan on July 29, 2004 at 12:55 pm

When you think of all the theatre chains in the NYC area that have come and gone such as: RKO, Fox Metropolitan, Century, Paramount, Skouras, Brandts, Interboro, Randforce, Golden, Stanley-Warner, I’m glad the name Loews still exists albeit as a very pale imitation of it’s former glorious past in the NYC metro area.

Mikeoaklandpark on July 29, 2004 at 12:43 pm

I agree. I thought Sony was also a stupid name for a theater chain.

theatrefan on July 29, 2004 at 12:40 pm

Sony Theatres was a silly name, when you think of the movies you think “LOEWS”. When I think of my tv set or walkman I think of Sony. I’m glad they got rid of the name Sony Theatres.

Mikeoaklandpark on July 29, 2004 at 12:34 pm

The first time I ever went to NYC was in 1975. Funny LAdy was playing at Loews State than in theater one and theater 2 had Dillinger. In the early 90’s Sony purchased Lowes and ran all the theaters under Sony. Even when the State reopen it was known as Sony State. I htink when they merged with Cineplex Odeon, they went back to using the Loews name. Loews also operated The Festival on 57th St breifly and the Paris. When they took over the PAris they changed the name to Loews Fine Arts. I don’t knoiw hwwat happened, but they didn’t run the theater very long.

theatrefan on July 29, 2004 at 12:30 pm

Back in 2000, when Loews Cineplex was still a publicly traded company they featured a vintage picture of the Loews Astor Plaza in their annual report. It was being used for the world premier of the film “Funny Lady” which came out in 1975, the theatre must have been around for a year at this point. The very front of the marquee said LOEWS Astor Plaza in big red letters. In what year did Loews drop the name Loew’s and start using just plain Loews?