Showing 26 - 35 of 35 comments
I happened to drive past this theater today. I lived in Binghamton from 1981 to 1985 and I hadn’t seen this theater since then. Binghamton used to have a number of old, single screen theaters. Now, the movies in Binghamton are basically just two large, modern multiplexes without any character or charm.
Although this theater has been closed since 2002, it appeared (at least from the outside) to still be in fine shape — no deterioration or vandalism were noticeable. It is a shame that it is just sitting there and not used for any purpose. It was a real neighborhood theater. It is surrounded by houses, with a few commercial buildings across the street and there is no parking lot. Two of the other three single screen houses in the area have been demolished (Crest, Cinema Endicott) for commercial development (did we really need another chain pharmacy?). Luckily the Towne in Endicott survives as a performing arts center. I only wish someone could find a fitting use for the Cameo before it is too late to save.
I would bet that En-Joie is the correct spelling. Everything in the area with an E-J in the name is named after the Endicott Johnson shoe company. It was a company town way back when and Endicott Johnson built many things for the workers, this theater included. They also built schools, parks, and other recreational and community facilities. The golf course in Endicott (neighboring village) is named the En-Joie, the same name as this theater had.
I believe the site is now a chain drug store or the parking lot for a chain drug store — I’m not sure that is what the neighborhood needed. I remember this as a nice single screener. I remember when “An Officer and A Gentleman” played here for 5 months straight — every day the marque said the same thing when I passed by.
A great article on the Loew’s Kings appears in the New York Times of November 26, 2006. The link for it is below. FYI, links from the Times only work for a short period of time unless you are a member of their Time Select program.
In response to the last comment, I saw what remains of the theater two days ago. The front entrance, which would have been the lobby, is still standing. The auditorium is completely gone. Given that this is Yonkers, I wouldn’t be surprised if it stays this way for some time to come.
It’s sad that this theater was destroyed by fire. I was a college student in Binghamton from 1981 to 1985 and never visited the theater because it was a porno theater at the time, but in its later life, it showed some wonderful films, films that otherwise would not have found a commercial run in Binghamton.
Many of the small (less than 10 screen) theaters mentioned as surviving in Westchester were originally single screen houses. Bedford has gone from 1 screen to 2 over the years, Bronxville and Larchmont have gone from 1 to 3, Mamaroneck has gone from 1 to 4, and Mount Kisco has gone first from 1 to 2 and then from 2 to 5. I kind of decribe being in one of the 5 theaters in Mount Kisco as watching a movie in a 737 airplane.
I lived in thie area from 1973-74 and saw many films there with my grandmothers, who both lived in the area. For some reason, my most vivid memory is of Barbra Streisand in “What’s Up Doc?” My schoolbus used to pass the theater on my way to school (5th grade, 1973-74) and I always used to look out the window on Wednesday morning to see what the new movie for the week was.
This is an interesting setup — the original entrance with the marquee is closed and you enter in the rear through what is really the original basement. All the theaters are therefore upstairs. Two are carved back to back in the original stage space and the other three are created out of what was the original auditorium. Although it is unusual, at least this old, downtown theater is still standing and still showing movies.
It is a shame that NYC will be losing it’s largest movie venue. With the Astor Plaza gone, the only large theater left will be the Ziegfield with 1200 seats, though it will still be 300 seats less than the Astor Plaza. Personally, I hate to see a movie in a tiny theater, though there isn’t much choice left these days.