AMC Empire 25

234 W. 42nd Street,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 251 - 275 of 443 comments

LuisV
LuisV on April 19, 2007 at 9:47 am

I don’t know where all of the negative comments above are coming from. I used to be a frequent patron of the theater before Chelsea Cinemas upgraded their theater on 23rd St. I still come to this theater periodically and have never had an unpleasant experience here and I will continue to patronize this theater when the movies I want to see are not playing in Chelsea. The only theater that I refuse to go to in Manhattan is the god awful Regal Union Square where I have never had a pleasant experience, but that’s for anothere theater site! :–)

William
William on April 17, 2007 at 2:52 pm

I guess it’s return to what the area once was known for.

“AMC Empire Grindhouse 25”

All the above for the price of $11.00 a ticket.

Forrest136
Forrest136 on April 17, 2007 at 2:27 pm

The management is not interested in comments about this dump. Keep away if possible!

Forrest136
Forrest136 on April 7, 2007 at 12:31 am

What a dump this place has become! I suspect poor management and uninterested workers are the cause. The seats are becoming worn out, the movies do not start on time, house lights remain on, and nasty and stupid workers take your money. Wish there were alternatives, but as you know , theatre choices are getting less and less!

Ian
Ian on March 15, 2007 at 1:28 pm

A photo just before opening here:–

View link

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 18, 2006 at 5:30 pm

A few more images I took the other night while on the Duece with my camera:

The face in the window
Standard shot
Blade sign

I guess I never noticed before that the long time Duece retailer from the good ole-bad ole days, Modell’s, was back on the block – relocated across the street from it’s old spot just down from the Harem XXX theater.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on November 5, 2006 at 2:27 am

AMC has these movie money cards that debit the amount at each use. I suspect homeless people get these from charities who fear giving out cash to alcoholics and drug addicts.

Every time I have been to this theatre I have found bag ladies and eccentrics around (one brought had a cat in a bag) although they were probably not homeless.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on November 4, 2006 at 6:13 pm

Ha… That sounds like the Duece movie-going experience I remember from the 1980’s!!! Of course, back then, tickets were only a $2.50 and once nestled in a favorite seat in the rear corner of the auditorium, one could settle in long term without having to move from room to room!!!

Anyway, Fever Dog, I doubt any one homeless person plunks down the $10.75 per day. Spending whatever money they scrounge up on a movie ticket is just a rare treat to deluxe accommodations for them. I’ll bet this is more of an issue in the cold winter months than during the rest of the year.

FeverDog
FeverDog on November 3, 2006 at 8:52 am

I’ve encountered the problem of homeless people using this theater as a shelter in recent years. After getting fed up with snoring, talking to themselves and leaving bodily fluids behind (I won’t give details)I asked the staff about this and they said very nonchalantly.
“They buy a ticket and go from theater to thetaer and stay here all day.” Is this acceptable? Can I do the same, or will I be stopped? Should they have such an apathetic view about homeless people hanging out in the theater? And where do homeless people get $10.75 a day anyways?

William
William on November 3, 2006 at 6:22 am

It’s their art film select program. As they put it: “AMC SELECT Special Films for select tastes”. Most of the films are independent films from the big studios and smaller studios and film makers.

View link

hardbop
hardbop on November 3, 2006 at 5:27 am

Every week in the movie listings in the “Times” weekend guide there are words in the AMC listing under almost every film are the words “AMC SELECT; Special Engagement.” What does that mean?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 11, 2006 at 10:19 am

Here’s another shot from the same site but taken in 1994 when that “poetry project” was still adorning the marquees of the Duece’s vacant grind houses. That block was like a ghost-town during that time, except for the Grand Luncheonette still operating and the old Harris still showing double features. All it was missing were some tumbleweeds rolling around the place – and some Ennio Morricone music!

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 11, 2006 at 9:58 am

This page has a nice shot of the by-then long-closed Liberty and Empire Theaters in 1996, with their vacant marquees all lit up during a snow storm. You can see the “Pandora Theater” sheilds on the doors to the Empire as well as the faux lower facade elements that were left over set dressings for the location shoot of “The Last Action Hero” in ‘92.

When this photo was taken, the New Victory Theater had already been re-opened as a children’s theater the year before and Disney’s restoration of the New Amsterdam was well underway. Nineteen Ninety-Six would also see the last porno establishments on the block permanently closed to make way for redevelopment, including the entire stretch of storefronts across the street from Eighth Avenue to the Selwyn Theater building which housed a number of peep-shows, adult book shops and the XXX Harem Theater.

You can just make out the glow from the lit-up marquee of the Movieplex 42 at the right edge of the photo – which would also finish out its short life before the year was out.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 10, 2006 at 2:41 pm

I was thinking the same thing, longislandmovies.

longislandmovies
longislandmovies on October 10, 2006 at 2:25 pm

frankie —youcould have said the couple……….no need for black

42ndStreetMemories
42ndStreetMemories on October 10, 2006 at 11:03 am

Great shot, Ed. Classic image of the Deuce in general back then, especially the guy sleeping 2-3 rows from the top. Usually a relatively calm audience, except when the snoring started, most likely more than one guy at a time, with others screaming for them to “shut up”. Great stuff.

I wonder what was playing. jerry the k

frankie
frankie on October 10, 2006 at 10:33 am

I went here with a friend to see the horrible “All The King’s Men.” The black couple behind us wouldn’t shut up, so we had to change our seat.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 10, 2006 at 8:12 am

Mike… I just checked the Warner’s Theater page and there seems to be a “Manhattan” aka for that house. I don’t see one for the Hellinger/Hollywood. I also found this CT listing for the Stanley Theater on Seventh Ave.

RobertEndres
RobertEndres on October 10, 2006 at 8:03 am

Ed, that’s the Empire booth all right. That’s one of the steeper balconies (note the handrails at the end of each aisle). Also notice the light coming through what looks like a hole at the bottom of the booth on the right hand side of the picture. That hole (which I remember as being squared off and neater) is at floor level. You could stand in the rewind “room” at the bench which ran at right angles to the front wall just next to the entrance door at that end of the booth and ran to the back wall, and look through an opening in that “wall” at bench level, across the booth and through the floor level opening to see at least the top of the screen. It may not be the steepest angle booth I’ve ever been in, but it was close. Notice also the conduit run on the outside of the booth. Since it was an asbestos booth, the “walls” were just asbestos panels probably around an inch thick, thus there was no place to bury the conduit in the walls. A lot of the booths built in former legit theatres were of similar construction, just dumped in at the back of balconies, in this case on a platform built up over the seats a few rows out. It hadn’t changed any from 1958 when I was there in the 70’s, but the upper balcony wasn’t open and was kept locked up until the show was over, and the staff unlocked the gates to let me out. Great shot!

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on October 10, 2006 at 7:54 am

I beleive that it was the Mark Hellinger aka Times Square Church

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 10, 2006 at 7:11 am

While I’m harking back to old posts, RobertR posted this newspaper clipping back in May and I was wondering if anyone could identify the Manhattan Theater at 51st and B'way where “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is playing and the Stanley on 7th Ave near 42nd Street where the seemingly racist wartime propaganda film “Ravaged Earth” is playing. Would these be AKA’s for the old Warner and Rialto Theaters, respectively?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 10, 2006 at 7:05 am

This link features an early Diane Arbus photo entitled “42nd Street movie theater audience, NYC, 1958” which is part of a travelling Arbus exhibition (“Revelations” is the name of the exhibit and the accompanying book). If you click on the photo, you’ll get a larger image.

I first came across this image on another website, but it was very small and not expandable so I thought it might have been taken in the Liberty Theater. But then I found this larger image and a look at the ceiling ornamentation left no doubt in my mind that it is a shot of the old Empire’s 2nd balcony and projection booth. If Robert Endres checks into this page, maybe he can confirm that – harking back to his post of January 18th, 2006, about a relief gig he once pulled here. Notice how the projection booth was built out over a good portion of the shallow and steep upper balcony — there are seats up around the sides of the booth. I wonder if that was common in some of the taller and shallower playhouses that were converted to cinemas. The Liberty was very similar.

In any event, it is a great shot. And right from Jerry Kovar’s favorite period on the Duece!

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 15, 2006 at 3:31 pm

Here’s a 1993 article I found on the NY Times' online archives. The link should work indefinitely as the article is free – at worst you may have to register on the website which is free. Anyway, it’s an interesting piece about how the Empire’s facade was dressed up (and then distressed) for filming of the Schwarzenegger movie “The Last Action Hero.” The article was written at a time when re-development plans for the Duece had stalled for a couple of years and most of the old Duece grind houses sat empty in a state of advancing decay awaiting their fate.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on July 2, 2006 at 6:38 am

I have been to this location three times in the past week and the presentation and audiences were all good experiences. The concession stand and other staff members were excellent although I saw no sign of a manager.

That blinking red light must must be night vision CCTV and it is truly distracting. The bathrooms just need a good thorough cleaning. Daily staff appear to be doing a good job.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on June 30, 2006 at 2:29 pm

I remember all the hooplah when they had that giant inflated Lou Costello “tug” the Empire down the block to its present location. The process made it to segments on all the local news channels at the time as well as all the daily papers. I remember thinking back on my days seeing films on 42nd Street when I read the about the plans to have the shell of the theater used as an entrance to a large multiplex and how escalators would transport ticketholders through the old proscenium, thinking what a great idea that was. The original Empire was a pretty cozy place and had virtually no lobby space. Converting the old auditorium to one of the multiplex’s screens would have been impossible unless the complex’s lobby was built adjacent to the theater and one entered along the side wall of the auditorium. As far as returning it to legitimate use, it might have made a nice companion to the jewel box Victory at the other end of the Duece and surely would have been re-fitted to under 500 seats in order to expand the lobby and skirt the union demands of legit B'way houses. I wonder if it would have found a niche as the New Victory did.