City Cinemas Village East

181 2nd Avenue,
New York, NY 10003

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Showing 26 - 50 of 111 comments

dave-bronx™ on April 4, 2013 at 10:24 pm

As I recall, the original projection/sound package we bought for the new 7-plex included Simplex 35/70mm machines in the main house and the largest house in the cellar, along with the 6-channel mag stereo Dolby processors, I don’t think digital had made its debut yet. The other 5 screens had Simplex 35mm machines and 4-channel Dolby processors. Plus, we got one professional grade 16mm machine with xenon lamp, I don’t recall the brand, that was set up to interface with the automation and audio systems in at least 2, if not all the screens in the cellar. Ralph Donnelly was booking the place at the time, and he made the rounds at Cannes and other prominent film festivals, and several times came back with a low-budget independent film that he thought was promising but had only 16mm prints.

techman707 on April 4, 2013 at 8:02 pm

I worked as a projectionist there in 1968 and 1969. They had strip shows and ran porn films in between the stage shows. They filmed “The Night They Raided Minsky’s” in 1968. In 1969, the play “Oh Calcutta” opened.

The theatre also went under the name of the Murray Schwartz Theater.

LouRugani on October 30, 2012 at 5:28 pm

This was the location for the film-theatre sequence in “Unfaithful” (2002). (“Mr. Hulot’s Holiday” was the feature in the storyline.)

Macalincag on September 14, 2012 at 6:38 am

They have installed two 70mm projectors for PTA’s ‘The Master’. One of them for theater 1.

They’ve had to get a lot of parts to get these projectors up and running as they haven’t been used in 20 years.

HowardBHaas on September 1, 2012 at 5:36 am

The balconies shown in the website’s photos are still open?

We will delete the “1200 seats” from the Intro.

Edward Havens
Edward Havens on August 31, 2012 at 10:56 pm

The Village East Cinemas website used to have a rental pricing chart which listed the seating capacity of each theatre. According to that chart, the main house has (or had, in 2003) 444 seats.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 31, 2012 at 5:32 am

The theater’s official website has a few photographic glimpses of the original auditorium.

I’m sure this must have been mentioned elsewhere in this thread, but it appears that the main room no longer seats 1200. In fact, that capacity seems to have been greatly reduced, due not only to the installation of wider, high-back seats, but the conversion of the orchestra level to stadium-style seating sloping steeply from the base of the stage right up to the facing of the old balcony.

The site notes that auditoriums range in capacity from 70 to 370 seats, and nowhere does it mention anything about having 70mm projection equipment (likely due to a general lack of demand for that kind of facility).

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 30, 2012 at 4:48 am

So, it seems Paul Thomas Anderson’s new film, “The Master,” has been scheduled here for a 70mm engagement. Please tell me that the 70mm projectors are for the original 1200 seat auditorium?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on August 14, 2011 at 1:22 pm

By the way, the Mayfair theatre listed in the same ad later became the Mayfair Yiddish theatre and is NOT the Embassy 1, 2, 3.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on August 14, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Advert as the Gayety in 1966.

Michael D. Jackson
Michael D. Jackson on September 18, 2010 at 3:30 pm

I was just there in the main auditorium to see LEAVES OF GRASS. The place was clean, looked fresh, smelled good and the stars of the picture were doing a talk-back after the show. The main screen retains the decor and feeling of the 1920s while the smaller screens are simple modern screening rooms. I don’t much care for the smaller screens because they don’t have much in the way of character, but I prefer them to any screen at the Angelika—those long shoebox rooms with small screens are unappealing. I very much like going to this theatre—especially if I can sit in the main auditorium. Also the lobby is beautiful.

TLSLOEWS on July 6, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Man this theatre has had a lot of A.K.A. names.

dave-bronx™ on May 3, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Not for nothin', but isn’t that Rocky stuff getting a little old? Thirty years ago it was sort of an amusing way to spend one or two uneventful Saturday nights, but time marches on and most people grow up. Are the same ‘performers’ still ‘performing’ along with the film? Do their walkers and canes get in the way?

randytheicon on May 3, 2010 at 6:47 pm

The big theatre here was the most PERFECT location for “Rocky Horror”!! The famous NYC cast made great use of the old boxes flanking the proscenium. I have numerous pics of the Halloween 1996 show, and someday I’ll scan them and post them on the web.

Unfortunately, “Rocky” was usually relegated to one of the teensy houses…

dave-bronx™ on February 19, 2010 at 3:50 pm

The stonework looks very good. It had been covered with paint long before City Cinemas renovated it into a plex. The question is: How long will it remain unpainted? The lower portions of the building were always a canvas for the local graffiti artists. Before the renovation was complete in 1990, the security shutters on the windows on the n.e. corner and the 3 storefronts on the south end were completely covered with the work of the neighborhood “artists” less than 24 hours after they were installed. At that time the neighborhood was in the process of being yuppified, but is it much better now?

CSWalczak on February 19, 2010 at 12:54 pm

The theater facade got a bit of a facelift recently; this article has a picture and a link to another one showing what it looked like before the recent work began: View link

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 1, 2010 at 1:10 pm

As Ludwig Satz Yiddish Folks Theatre:

View link

dave-bronx™ on August 27, 2009 at 12:14 pm

John Averitt, around 1991, drew up plans for City Cinemas for a three-screen cinema to be located on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors of the former Liberty Storage Warehouse building at 43 W. 64th St. (the building that used to have the small Statue of Liberty on the roof). As I recall, 2 of the theatres were to have around 200 seats each and the third was to have around 300 to 350 seats. The name of the project was Liberty Walk. The landlord was intending to put in a passageway through to 65th Street on the ground floor, lined with restaurants and clubs, and the theatre upstairs. I don’t remember what the plan was for the upper floors of the building were. While the landlord was having studies done in regard to altering the buildings structural system to accommodate the theatre, Loews announced they had signed for a substantial number of square feet in a mixed-use high-rise development to be built on the site of a nearby post office. They were planning 10 screens for what they were, at the time, calling Loews Lincoln Metroplex. This announcement effectively put the kabash on City Cinemas 64th Street project, and the drawings just sat in the drawer at the home office for years.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 26, 2009 at 11:37 pm

Averitt died of cancer in 2004. Here’s an obituary.

dave-bronx™ on August 26, 2009 at 11:15 pm

John Averitt was also responsible for the catastrophic twinning of the Sutton. I didn’t know he was dead. What happened to him?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 26, 2009 at 10:02 pm

The conversion of this theater into a seven-screen multiplex was the work of the late John W. Averitt, Averitt Associates, an architect who designed at least two other projects for City Cinemas: the East 86th Street Cinemas and the Murray Hill Cinemas. Averitt was best known for his designs for live performance spaces.

An article about the conversion of the Village East appeared in the June, 1991, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. The article mentioned one of the theater’s aka’s that is not yet listed above, the Molly Picon.

ttrentham on July 16, 2009 at 12:00 pm

I lived a few blocks from the theater in the mid-90s. I remember seeing Son of the Shark and Crimson Tide there.

jluzaich on May 12, 2009 at 2:51 pm

There are some good comments on this post and a lot of information that is not correct. I was the manager of the venue when it was a legit theatre called The Entermedia Theatre. We were there from 1977 through 1984. There were actually as many film shoots and TV commercials shot there as there was legit live performance theatre. The movie “The Fan” shot there for 6 weeks with Lauren Bacall, James Garner and Michael Biehn. Early music videos were shot there, as well as numerous commercials that included an AT & T commercial with Raul Julia and several Dr. Pepper spots with Mickey Rooney. The ghost light was set on stage each night for Bert Lahr. Yes, he passed away during the filming of “The Night They Raided the Minskies” in the building in ‘68. The venue had numerous stars perform live on stage in various shows over the years. When it was The Phoenix Theatre '53 – '61, Marcel Marceau performed for the first time in the United States in 1955. Montgomery Clift appeared in “The Sea Gull” in 1956 and Carol Burnnett in “Once Upon A Mattress” in 1959. “Grease” ran for 12 weeks in 1971 and almost closed in trying to outrun mixed reviews before moving to Broadway and running for more than 8 years. Don Murray (the movie “Bus Stop” with Marilyn Monroe) starred in the ill-fated musical “Smith” also at the Eden Theatre (late 60’s early 70’s). Don’s son, Chris, is an actor friend of mine on LA.

During our time at the Entermedia we had many stage plays with performers that had ties to TV & movies. Kurt Vonnegut’s “God Bless You Mr. Rosewater” with music by Alan Menken (multiple award winner including great work on Disney films), “El Bravo” (choreographer – Patty Birch – “grease” fame), Milton Berle in the show “Goodnight Grandpa” (not successful show, but Milty was gracious, had a million one liners, and very funny off stage), “Taking My Turn” – the musical about aging – with Tiger Haynes (original Tin Man in “The Wiz”) singer Margaret Whiting, singer Marni Nixon (the female lead singing voice of Natalie Wood in “West Side Story”, Deborah Kerr in “The King & I”, Audrey Hepburn in “My Fair Lady”). Then, of course we had Joes Coat (“Joseph and the …..”)in which Margaret Hamilton (wicked witch of the west) was in ill-health and came to see the show and went back stage to talk with the cast and had them in tears – including female narrator Laurie Beechman who passed away in ‘98. That building and venue is full of such a rich history and so many great stories……

Music too, lots of music. We had the great Wilson Pickett come back concert in 1980… incredible. And the concert called Solid Gold which was groups or bands from New York that only had 1 or 2 hits. So we had Vito and the Salutations, Johnny Meistro and the Brooklyn Bridge, the Angels (“My Boyfiend’s Back”) and a ton of others.

edblank on April 16, 2009 at 6:33 am

That stage production of “The Chosen” surprisingly lasted for just six performances, Jan. 6-10, 1988, although the marquee signage probably was in place for the final month or two of 1987 and may have stayed up for many weeks after the play closed