Heights Theater

150 Wadsworth Avenue,
New York, NY 10033

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Showing 26 - 36 of 36 comments

faberfranz on April 15, 2007 at 12:35 am


I recalled this theater during a discussion of another theater which was in the midst of a change from “ethnic” movies to “XXX” movies (or vice versa, or worse vice):


Reminds me of an ambiguous message on a marquee on a theater in what used to be a Greek neighborhood, just east of the GW bridge or maybe up near 181st street (not the theater at 181st & Broadway). It had begun to show porn movies, but still catered to remnants of the ethnic community, so the sign said:

“Only on Sundays, Greek movies”

Knowing the way different populations might interpret “Greek”, I imagined disparate people lining up at the box office, eyeing each other suspiciously. A wholesome, conservative family group alongside a furtive guy in a raincoat, each wondering what the other was doing there.

Maybe the Fair will show Indian porn. Men and women kissing each other openly, on the mouth?

posted by faberfranz on Mar 31, 2007 at 3:48pm

I subsequently posted a link to photo (a view from above as it is now):


Regarding my earlier reference (March 31) to “only on Sunday: Greek movies”: happened to pass by that area and think I spotted that long-lost theater. Anybody know its name and history (it’s a low-scale women’s clothing store now).

Visible if one knows what to look for on Live Search:

2nd building south of SW corner, Wadsworth Avenue and 181st
street. One bus parallel to it, the other almost aimed at
its front entrance.

View link

Identifiable by a frieze of Tragedy & Comedy masques near
top, a mask at each side of wall beneath, and what appear
to be supports for now-missing marquee.

posted by faberfranz on Apr 14, 2007 at 12:58pm

And somebody responded by sending me here, for exterior photos you’ve probably already seen:

faberfranz….There was a Heights Theater located at 150 Wadsworth Avenue (near West 181st St.) That might be the building that you saw. The Heights Theater is listed on Cinema Treasures here.

posted by Lost Memory on Apr 14, 2007 at 4:12pm
Yeah, that’s it! Just the way it looks today. Or three days ago, anyway.

From Lost Memory’s link (/theaters/11135/),
posted by KenRoe on Jul 18, 2006 at 12:39pm:

posted by faberfranz on Apr 14, 2007 at 7:22pm

But I guess you want photos of how it was ‘way back THEN, when it was still a movie theater…

lacamacho559 on January 3, 2007 at 5:06 pm

please does any body have pics of heights

OnslowKUA on October 20, 2006 at 10:54 pm

I lived in the area from the mid 1950’s through the 1960’s. During that time I would describe the Heights as being an “art” theater. Most of the pictures shown there were foreign films. This is probably why it could compete with nearby theaters like the RKO Colisuem, Loews 175th Street, Lane and Empress (aka Astral).

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on July 18, 2006 at 6:02 pm

Here’s a 1980 listing for the theater in the Post’s Neighborhood Movie Guide:
NY Post 12/11/80

Still grinding the triple X triple bills in 1982:
NY Post 3/10/82

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 18, 2006 at 5:39 pm

Here are a couple of photographs I took in May 2006. Nothing has changed on the exterior apart from the removal of the marquee. Inside everything has either been gutted or covered over:

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 18, 2006 at 5:31 pm

The Heights Theatre opened in October 1913 according to The Movie Lovers Guide to New York (1987 edition). There is a photograph in the book with the Heights playing ‘3 Big Adult Hits XXX’

RobertR on September 12, 2005 at 8:56 pm

Opera playing on 181st Street :)
View link

RobertR on July 24, 2005 at 9:52 pm

In July of 1970 “Oliver” came out on a discount run. In Manhattan it’s playing the Heights and the Jade. Is the Jade a Chinatown theatre? Seems like an odd booking.
View link

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 6, 2005 at 9:10 pm

It was still operating in 1987 according to the original edition of the book ‘The Movie Lovers Guide to New York’ by Richard Alleman.

cjdv on April 7, 2005 at 2:01 pm

It is listed in the the 1957 FDYB