Ziegfeld Theatre

141 West 54th Street,
New York, NY 10019

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bigjoe59 on September 20, 2015 at 3:06 pm


I have enjoyed reading the recent posts on this page. a few comments.

  1. the Castro Theater in S.F. is indeed a grand old quite beautiful film house but it was built from the get go in Sept. 1922 as a 2nd/3rd run neighborhood house. it would be interesting to find how many grand old movie theaters built in the heyday of 1914- 1941 that were built from the get go as 1st run venues have continue to operate as such since the day they opened. so the fact a theater as grand and large as the Ziegfeld has continued to operate as a single screen
    1st run venue since the day it opened it Dec. of 1969 is a miracle. this is especially true considering Manhattan real estate mania.

  2. also as grand and gorgeous a theater as the EL Capitan in Hollywood is it was not built as a movie theater. in opened in 1925 as a venue for live performances and only became a movie theater in 1941 when it was the only house in L.A. willing to play Citizen Kane.

pnelson on September 16, 2015 at 7:05 pm

I forgot to mention another superior theatre in Seattle. The Cinerama. Built in the 60’s and restored and the best technology. Huge curved cinerama screen and stars in the curved ceiling. Truly unique. Not a megaplex look here and a single screen in downtown Seattle where the real estate is quite expensive. Check it out. A true treasure. I think one should treasure all single screen movie theatres though. The Zeigfeld especially in that valuable real estate market.

Movieholic on September 16, 2015 at 6:55 pm

xbs2034 you are absolutely correct. Thanks for pointing that out. I should have mentioned it. HowardBHaas I haven’t been to the others theatres you mentioned but want to, particularly the El Capitan in Hollywood.

pnelson on September 16, 2015 at 6:55 pm

This theatre is attractive but a little dull. Red velvet does not impress me. Yes the restored movie palaces of Los Angeles do. Like the Million Dollar-etc. Seattle has a recent smaller theatre called the Majestic Bay that is lovely with a working blue waterfall curtain and crystal lighting now. The best sound and screen too. Know the Ziegfeld is unique in that so many theatres in that city have been torn down. The original Ziegfeld was wonderful. Yes be glad a single screen theatre still exists there. Oh Check out the restored Kings. Now there is the best! Cheers!

xbs2034 on September 16, 2015 at 4:59 pm

Movieholic: probably the reason why the screen didn’t seem as big with Apes is that is a 1.85 movie, so not as much of the screen space is being used as with the 2.35 films which make up the majority of the Ziegfeld presentations.

HowardBHaas on September 16, 2015 at 3:21 pm

The Ziegfeld is pretty but not the nation’s prettiest single screen movie house. San Francisco’s Castro. El Capitan & others in LA. Suffern NY’s Lafayette. And, so forth. But the Ziegfeld is the most impressive place for NYC to host a movie premiere! And, it is a tremendous moviehouse for all of us to cherish & see more movies for as long as it remains open!

Movieholic on September 16, 2015 at 1:42 pm

The Ziegfeld is arguably the most beautiful, magnificent single screen movie house in the nation. I’m amazed it is still open, considering there are very few single screen cinemas left in the country. Seeing “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” here last year brought back so many memories. The screen wasn’t as big as I remembered but that may be because the movie was shown in Digital 3D. The other films I saw:

Roman Polanski’s Pirates Cry Freedom Lawrence of Arabia – the 1989 reissue in truly stunning 70MM; this was a totally mesmerizing experience, a real treat Edward Scissorhands Strange Days

NYer on September 16, 2015 at 5:50 am

Have you been there pnelson, or are you basing your opinion on photos? I can assure you The Ziegfeld is nothing like a large megaplex auditorium. The walls are red velvet, the lighting, crystal chandeliers and warm. Is it an opulent Roxy or Capitol? No, it was built in the late 60’s with a modern flair but still far and above anything you see in the black boxes of today and a true Cinema Treasure.

pnelson on September 15, 2015 at 7:43 pm

My opinion here is that the colors are good and nice to have a curtain if it is used but the whole place looks like a large megaplex auditorium. Compare it to a classic theatre from the 30’s. Not possible. Zero unique qualities. Forget it.

Giles on September 15, 2015 at 7:35 pm

personally I think it was foolish to release a 70mm movie against a Star Wars movie… but, meh. that’s just an opinion on my part.

xbs2034 on September 15, 2015 at 7:20 pm

That’s a tough call for a theater to make between Star Wars and Hateful Eight, but I do think Star Wars may be the right way to go (obviously it will be massive, question is if SW will bring more business there when it will be all over the place, vs H8 which would probably only be in one or two other NYC theaters with the 70mm exclusive window). I suppose they could run SW for three weeks, and then the DCP of Hateful Eight when it goes wide Jan 8, 2016, but that seems kinda unfitting for such a location.

Anyway, hope they book something soon (Scott’s The Martian is getting very good early reviews and would fit the location IMO). Always a shame to see this theater closed for a period of time.

movieguy on September 11, 2015 at 10:07 am

The new Steve Jobs movie The new Steve job movie looks very good. Would be a good movie to open with on October 9. Or The Martian Directed by Ridley Scott. John the manager of the Ziegfeld told me that they were going to have a special all star private premier for Bridge Of Spies starring Tom Hanks, on October 13 or 14th. Not sure if he’ll be running that film When it opens on the 16th. I assume they probably will. I hope they can get the new James Bond film November 6

movieguy on September 11, 2015 at 9:39 am

Went to the Ziegfeld Sunday night 10 September. 8 PM showing the last screening of Mission impossible 5. IT had a 6 week run. I talked to the manager John. Asked him why they ran it for so long. As a single screen theater in Rockland the Lafayette held it only for two weeks. As I said to him it’s a good to turn over a movie within 2 to 3 weeks, especially being a single screen. He said they couldn’t really find anything good to book and figured with the star power of Tom Cruise it would just keep it. They will not be showing any movies until October 2 or October 9. As they have a fashion show bookEd and a few other special events. This is something that they have done in past September’s . I asked if they are leaning towards getting Star Wars or the hateful eight in December for a possible 70 mm special screening. He indicated nothing set in stone but they may be pushing to get Star Wars. Anyway I hope that the theater continues to stay open and show movies. The projection was great sound fantastic The screen the biggest in Manhattan if you don’t count IMAX screen.

bigjoe59 on August 25, 2015 at 2:22 pm


mhvbear’s comment made me think of something interesting. the Coronet was for many years the Ziegfeld of San Francisco. well known for its projection and sound it premiered many of the most anticipated action/sci-fic/fantasy films of the past several years. which brings to my point. though it was meeting its weekly “nut” to use the old show biz term the land the theater was on was wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy more valuable than any $$$ the theater could possibly bring in. so a few back the theater was torn down and a medical facility now occupies the site.

Logan5 on August 24, 2015 at 5:15 pm

According to the book “The Beatles: The Ultimate Recording Guide” by Allen J. Wiener, Paul McCartney and Wings' 1980 concert film “Rockshow” (filmed during their 1976 North American tour) premiered on Wednesday November 26, 1980 at the Ziegfeld Theatre.

mhvbear on August 6, 2015 at 4:35 pm

I remember reading at one point years ago that nothing larger could be built there because the air rights were used on the building next door.

bigjoe59 on August 6, 2015 at 3:09 pm


if I understand the problem so to speak its that no matter how beloved the Ziegfeld is and no matter how well received a film might be said film is probably at 10-12 other theaters in Manhattan so naturally people will got to the theater closest to them. therefore the Ziegfeld has had a problem for a while meeting its weekly nut to use the old show biz term.

my new thought is this- even if this theater was able to meet its weekly nut on a regular basis would that actually be enough? I can’t tell you the number stores I have been shopping in all my life that closed not because they weren’t paying the rent as it were but because the land or building was worth wayyyyyyyyyyy more the store could ever bring in. to which with the value of Manhattan real estate I am surprised as I am delighted that the Ziegfeld has lasted this long. it and the Paris are the only 1st run single screen theaters left in Manhattan.

LuisV on August 5, 2015 at 2:31 pm

YAY! The Fishers are loaded too. Hopefully, they have a heart and will work to save this special piece of New York’s cultural and cinematic architectural history.

HowardBHaas on August 5, 2015 at 9:04 am

Ah, had some time to ID the owners- http://nypost.com/2013/07/17/fisher-bros-take-a-stake/ not mobsters, a leading NYC family


Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on August 5, 2015 at 7:01 am

The Ziegfeld is owned by a conglomerate descendant of Kinney Parking that is tied to Time Warner and a myriad of mobsters.

HowardBHaas on August 5, 2015 at 6:39 am

Solow owns the Paris & does want to keep it as a cinema, though note that he’s in his 80s & I don’t know what happens after him. When years ago, I looked online for Ziegfeld owner, it is someone else, another individual who is a successful owner of Manhattan real estate.

LuisV on August 5, 2015 at 5:19 am

So, way back when I remember reading that Sheldon Solow, a Billionaire, owns the Ziegfeld AND the Paris Theatres and wanted to keep them as theaters. I was able to find proof that he definitely owns the Paris (he purchased it in the 90’s) but was not able to confirm that the owns the Ziegfeld. Wikipedia says that Cablesvision owns the Ziegfeld Building but I think that is incorrect. They just lease the property and they subleased it to Bow Tie for the remainder of their lease. What I don’t understand is why there is not a big movement to LANDMARK the Ziegfeld! It is old enough, it is architecturally and culturally important and is the land of the Movie Palaces to be constructed in the city. What more do we need?

HowardBHaas on August 4, 2015 at 3:28 pm





bigjoe59 on August 4, 2015 at 3:13 pm

Hello Again-

I hope markp’s comment is true. considering its beloved place in NYC moviegoing I can’t see this theater being torn down or repurposed. so again I wish posters would stop continuing to mention the theater’s eminent demise unless they have rock solid proof not some vague rumor.

markp on August 4, 2015 at 2:15 pm

I heard many years ago, and perhaps someone here can confirm it, that the owners of the building want a movie theatre here and years ago wouldnt let Cineplex (I believe) twin it or alter it. If this is the case, then theres hope another chain or operator will come along.