Ziegfeld Theatre

141 W. 54th Street,
New York, NY 10019

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br91975 on March 20, 2004 at 12:15 pm

We might be looking at the destiny of the Ziegfeld from this point on. Much like the El Capitan in LA – which isn’t open at all times, but instead is ‘closed for renovations’, sometimes for weeks-plus stretches – with the exception of not showing exclusively Disney product (unlike the Mouse House-owned El Capitan), maybe the Ziegfeld will only be open for special engagements (say, a three-week run of ‘The Alamo’ come April 9th, and then closing or moving directly onto the next appropriate big-screen-type film).

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on March 20, 2004 at 11:59 am

What great experiences I had watching APOCALYPSE NOW and the revival of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA in that empyrean. At the Ziegfeld on Sunday, October 15, 1972, I was the first person in line for the opening of FELLINI’S ROMA; so I bought the first ticket sold in America for that film! The night before I had seen the world premiere of Bertolucci’s LAST TANGO IN PARIS (untrimmed)at the New York Film Festival. After the Fellini film I went to Truffaut’s TWO ENGLISH GIRLS at the Fine Arts on 58th Street. Good weekend!

Peter on March 20, 2004 at 11:13 am

I just spoke to someone at the Theatre and she said there are no “renovations” going on.She said people come but not enough to cover their operating expences.

It made me feel very sad.It may not be a “movie palace” like the Roxy,Paramount or Loews Paradise,but it is one the best places to see a movie in the city.Sitting in the balcony area with a full hosue as the rich heavy gold curtian parts and the movie magic begins. I have enjoyed many movies there.There is an atmosphere in a large one screen house that can’t be mached even in the largest screening room in a multi-plex.

We will soon loose the Astor Plaza,which has the best sound system I have ever herd.If the Zig goes we will all be loosing the last great theatre in the greatest City in the world.

joemasher on March 20, 2004 at 8:38 am

The Ziegfeld will reopen on 4/9 with “The Alamo”.

RobertR on March 11, 2004 at 1:15 pm

Some of the Manhattan theatres in more fringe areas like The Metro and Olympia when they were Cineplex theatres did have bargain matinees. I susupect you are right about the unwritten laws about cutting prices. It would take a chain like Clearview to make a statement by doing so.

Orlando on March 11, 2004 at 10:46 am

The problem with most Manhattan Theatres is that they charge the full admission prices right from the time they open their doors. In older days and up until the late 1970’s, There was a matinee price that changed at 5 P.M. to the evening price. Theatres that opened prior to 12 noon usually had an early bird special that changed to the matinee price at noon. This encouraged people to attend matinees since they could save a buck or so. Manhattan Theatres don’t offer the so-called bargain matinee where usually shows starting before 2 P.M. are at the children’s/senior price. It would make sense to do this since the theatres are empty anyway. This is why the corporate executives who run these chains have no idea of the art of running theatres and are not the showman and entrepeneurs of executives from past decades. After all, if there were a reduced admission for matinees, they would be able to sell more the over-priced concession items that they offer. How about it Clearview Cinemas in Manhattan, be the leader, not just a cable operator with theatres to sell home cable to customers.

zoetmb on March 10, 2004 at 11:15 pm

It’s unfair to compare the Ziegfeld, built in the 1960s, with the movie palaces built in the 1920s and 30s. The fact is, plaster ornamentation, fancy carpeting, hidden basketball courts and cloud ceilings aside, those old theaters would be terrible places to see modern films with digital 5.1 channel soundtracks today, in spite of the fact that many of them played 70mm 6-track films.

Those old theaters were built with long reverberation times because amplifiers were very low powered in those days. Today, you want just the opposite: very short reverberation times to increase dialogue intelligibility and perceived channel separation within a broad sound field.

The Ziegfeld remains (IMHO) the best place to see a movie in NYC. My understanding is that it’s not profitable, but it is used for many premiers and it’s great that Clearview elects to keep it open as a single-screener. The single-screen Astor Plaza is closing soon and that is also a big loss.

Mike326 on February 26, 2004 at 9:30 pm

Great to hear !!! Thank you for the good news, even I was getting a little worried..
Thanks again.

joemasher on February 26, 2004 at 9:16 pm

I am the Division Manager for Clearview—-the Zieg is reopening on 3/5 with “Hidalgo”….not to worry, the Ziegfeld is here to stay!

Mike326 on February 26, 2004 at 8:32 pm

The ZIEGFELD should return to it’s policy from back in the 1980’s and maybe earlier, which is that whichever movie was playing there, could not show at another theater in Manhattan.
The last few times I went, the place was pretty filled up, so hopefully they are just doing some basic renovations, and keeping it as a single house.
When I saw CHICAGO there, there was not an empty seat to be found, and when we left, the line went down 54 st, up 6th av, and back up 55 street.
I/m cautiosly optimistic !

Patrick Crowley
Patrick Crowley on February 26, 2004 at 3:35 pm

I couldn’t agree more. It’d be a real shame to lose the Ziegfeld.

AndyT on February 26, 2004 at 3:26 pm

Thanks Patrick —– I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the best. With so few single-screeners left (and the recent news about the Astor), it’s hard not to worry.

Patrick Crowley
Patrick Crowley on February 26, 2004 at 3:20 pm

Perhaps not, Andy. I just checked with the theater. The woman who answered the Ziegfeld’s box office hotline said the theater is closed until March 5 for renovations.

AndyT on February 26, 2004 at 3:07 pm

Tell me I’m not paranoid, but there is nothing listed for the Ziegfeld on either Clearview’s site or on Yahoo Movies. Has the grim reaper unexpectedly arrived???

VincentParisi on February 23, 2004 at 1:39 pm

The original facade is also visible in the Jack Lemmon movie How to Murder Your Wife. If memory serves he is walking along a girder on one of the skycrapers going up on 6th Av and you can see it in the background.

Mike326 on February 23, 2004 at 12:39 pm

As I’ve mentioned about Loew’s Kings, it is in the heart of probably the biggest West Indian community in this country, likewise, a renovated entertainment center for that community, and for that matter, everybody else, just seems so perfect. Especially with the municipal parking lot just behind it.
I realize that it would cost millions, buts its interesting, that the Kings just sits there, and has not been turned into a church, supermarket, or anything else.
I can only be hopeful that something positive will happen !

Marcus on February 23, 2004 at 11:45 am

The ironic thing is seeing the new Empire and the Loews on 42nd street, both of which try so hard to replicate the look of a genuine movie palace (well, at least on the outside—especially with the Loew’s gargantuan vertical marquee). Then around the corner is the old marquee for the Paramount, and the theaters in the Virgin Megastore are called “Loews State.” Just makes me sad, especially since the preservation movement was pretty much born here with the demolition of Penn Station.

Our ray of hope: the Loew’s Kings still sits in brooklyn, relatively intact. As the burough gentrifies at an amazing pace, no doubt soon the affluent will discover the old houses of Flatbush, and it will be econimically viable to open the Kings again. I mean…did you ever think the Loew’s Jersey in sketchy Jersey City (no offense) would actually ever be reopened?! It still amazes me.

Let’s hope NYC will get a genuine operating movie palace once again—I’m afraid the Ziegfeld just doesn’t cut it for me.

Patrick Crowley
Patrick Crowley on February 9, 2004 at 2:17 pm

Just wanted to mention that the upper portion of the original Ziegfeld is also visible in the classic Men on Girder, 1930 photograph of Empire State Building construction workers taking a lunch break — hundreds of feet in the air. (The theater can be seen at bottom center.)

geovhill on February 8, 2004 at 9:52 pm

We really need to protect our landmarks better.
A lot of old theaters around the country have either been closed or met with a worse fate.
Some of these theaters were classics!
The Ziegfeld not only belongs here, but it fits in well with everything around it.
I agree with Rubi.
Thank you.
George Vreeland Hill.

Mike326 on February 8, 2004 at 9:05 pm

I/m not surprised. Really pretty sickening.

Greenpoint on February 8, 2004 at 12:57 pm

The Astor Plaza is on its way out also.

Mike326 on February 8, 2004 at 11:43 am

It is very disturbing that the majority of the grand Times Square theaters have been demolished, with the exception of the Astor Plaza.
The Rivoli, Criterion, State, Cinerama, Forum, Embassy, Victoria and even the more modern National, are GONE !
Instead, there are those bizaare 10 or 20 story multiplexs on 42 street. As far as New York theaters, the Astor Plaza, Ziegfeld and the Beekman are truly the last of single screens that I/m aware of.

Greenpoint on February 7, 2004 at 4:16 pm

I seen Oliver Stones “The Doors” here in 1991. I was like 16 and snuck in the side exit. I walked in backwards and then reversed myself for the ultimate walk up the stairs against the crowd and managed to get into the theatre for the next showing.That was a fun memory from a fun time in life.

Vito on February 7, 2004 at 7:42 am

I worked as a projectionist at the D-150 in Syosset. We had been hearing for years that the landloard wanted UA out in order to redevelop the valuable property the theater stood on. We were told the rent was increased many times and finally to a point where UA could not operate the theater with a profit. It weas a sad time because we had already just recently lost the last of the major Long Island Roadshow theatres, the Syosset, which had been cut up into three theaters, or should we say screening rooms,and then torn down.While it may not have been a movie palace, the D-150 was still the best place on Long Island to see as well as hear a movie with it’s amasing sound system (thanks Joe Kelly)

bruceanthony on January 31, 2004 at 11:34 pm

I agree you have to put the Ziegfeld in perspective. It is not a Movie Palace but its the best house to see a movie in NYC.Its to bad NYC didn’t save any of there film palaces in Times Square with the exception of the Mark Hellinger(Warner Hollywood)which is now being used as a church. brucec