Showing 501 - 525 of 541 comments
Question: does this theater do well? Do people come from outside the area to see movies here?
This place, the “New Community Cinema” when I lived on LI, should be one of the most highly praised theater venues in the NY area. Though the space was never luxurious, the films they showed were remarkable for their diversity. I miss this place so much since I moved out of the state.
I have two very interesting shots of the Roxy taken from the corner of 50th and Seventh (the SW corner). One shows “My Friend Flicka” showing while the other is for “Stormy Weather”. How do I get them onto this site for all to see? What is so interesting about the shots is that they clearly show where the entrance was. And the building is still there with a lot of the architectural details still intact to this day (the arches in the windows). What’s sicker is to consider what replaced the Roxy: this awful looking Sports Illustrated building. You can see exactly where the Roxy was.
What exactly “saved” Radio City from being demolished? I remember the hoopla back in 1977 (or 78?) when it looked like it was going the way of so many other theaters. It was in the papers EVERY SINGLE DAY. And I remember thinking, “no way…they can’t get rid of that.” And they didn’t. But I was too young to pay attention to the specifics as to how they managed to save it. Can someone fill me in?
Also, does anyone know how it’s doing these days, financially speaking? I work really close to this place and it’s almost always booked with something (HEY! Yanni’s coming on January 21st!!!!! Should be a sellout!!) so I assume it does OK at least.
Finally, (and this is such a stupid question) but…from looking at the theater from the outside (I work “above"it, so to speak) I just can’t seem to grasp "where” it is. From above, it just doesn’t seem that big but I know it is. Does the theater itself go into the ground or something? Because it just doesnt' seem that high from the outside. Please don’t think me stupid but it’s stumped me for years. It’s probably a question for an engineer.
You know…reading all about these old NY movie houses and stuff got me to thinking a lot about how areas rise and fall and such. It’s been a bit of a learning experience on this site and others as I’m fascinated by old buildings especially theaters. It comes mainly from my parents who grew up in Manhattan during the 1930’s and 40’s. Their recollections of midtown and especially of the glorious theaters instilled an interest in me that exists to this day. They spoke especaily fondly of The Roxy saying that it put Radio City Music Hall to shame.
From this site I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m sure others have long since made: that the decline of the great theaters of the Times Square area were caused by a decline in the movie going audiences and by the radical change in the way films were released. Why would audiences schlep all the way into Manhattan anymore when the same movie would be playing maybe a town or two away in the ‘burbs? So the theater’s audiences declined starting in the mid to late 70’s and really tanked in the 1970’s. There were still property taxes to pay and other expenses so some of the lesser theaters turned to porn. These theater dinosaurs had long since passed their useful lives. Somehow, somone realized that the property that these theaters were sitting on were valuable and could be redeveloped. And that redevelopment, which destroyed so many of these grand theaters, has, whether one likes to admit it or not, revitalized the Times Square area. Is Times Square REALLY as exciting as my parents described it? No, at least I don’t think so. My parents described Times Square in the 40’s as a kind of amusement park where there was everything to do on a Friday night: movies, plays, some vaudeville, some burlesque, novelty acts and nightclubs. Now? It’s kind of sterile, yes, but it sure draws the crowds.
What I think I’m saying (and could’ve said shorter, I apologize) is that while it’s sad that these beautiful movie houses are gone, it had to be done for the area (and NY) to move on. Think about it: let’s say the Roxy, The Capitol and The Rivoli had somehow managed to stay open. What use could be possibly made these days for these theaters? Maybe, just maybe the Roxy could’ve become a Concert hall or something but who knows if the place was built acoustically for this? There simply isn’t the demand for the entertainment venues that would’ve kept these places alive. The only option I’ve ever thought of is why builders couldn’t or didn’t build above or around some of these theaters. BUT…an engineer friend of mine explained it simply that the open areas of these theaters would’ve made this absolutely impossible.
Let’s be thankful that we do still have some of the old, great house still with us like Radio City, Beacon and others.
Sorry for the rant.
Maybe run down is a little harsh. It was rather gloomy upstairs. Very dark even before the movie started. And there appeared to be large holes in the wall just outside the entrance to the theater with these very large cables running into them most likely for a sound system or something. I wouldn’t necessarily call it run down but in need of refurbishment.
RobertR: I’m certain it was the Loew’s State now. The location is where I remember it and I’ve seen pictures on the web and I’m 99% sure of it. I remember the theater was VERY dark even though the movie hadn’t started. I think I’m mistaken about the wall. From the pictures I’ve seen, the pitch of the auditorium matches perfectly with my recollections.
Thanks to everyone. A long (ridiculous) obsession has ended.
Yes, funny but I meant to write back and say it must’ve been the State because after 25 years, I can remember that as we stood looking at the movie theater’s entrance, my back was open to Times Square. The Embassy 2/¾ is right on 7th where it “closes” up to a regular avenue and it didn’t feel right. And when I checked the descriptions of the State on this site, it fit.
Regarding “split down the middle” I simply remember that the angle of the seats was VERY VERY steep. I don’t think this could’ve been the orchestra section. I might be mistaken that the balcony was split, though, into two theaters. Was the second theater the balcony? That’s where we must’ve seen it. It was a very ornate theater. I remember the stage area had a tremendous arch to it. Again, we’re talking 25 years ago so some of my memories are faded.
To think that the monstrous nothingness of the Virgin Megastore is what replaced it!
BoxOfficeBill…how did you manage to find the listing for this movie?
TomScott: where did you get that year from? I’m not disputing it because Freeport was a Long Island BOOM town dating back to around the turn of the 20th century. I prospered up until the late 60’s when it really fell apart.
When I knew the theater, the outside was all white brick and the marquee was very similar to the ones I saw at Roosevelt Field and Valley Stream. And the inside was not very ornate as I remember it but had the walls covered in cloth. I know this was done to a lot of older theaters including the Century’s Baldwin. It was pretty big though. I would LOVE to see some pictures of this place.
My parents moved to Long Island in 1956 and said Freeport and Hempstead were THE places to live and go for fun. Jesus…can you imagine that? Now? Forget about it.
“King of Hearts”?
I remembered the name of the nightclub. It was called “On Stage” and it opened in the late 70’s and closed not soon after, around the early 80’s. Freeport attempted a semi-comeback of sorts in the late 70’s but it never took off. By the mid to late 80’s, the town was toast and the theater was demolished. It was a fairly large theater that looked a lot like the Century’s Valley Stream and Roosevelt Field. I would not be surprised if they were all designed and built around the same time.
Well, the one side of Westbury(actually Old Westbury) has the million and multi-million dollar homes BUT it’s quite a stretch from where the Westbury Theater is located. 10-15 years ago, the main street in Westbury was very nice. But I was back there about a year ago and was kind of shocked about how it’s sunk. Westbury is a strange town the way it’s split. One area (near where the movie theater is) is rather run down and low on the economic scale. The area across Jericho Turnpike is beautiful. But I’d be willing to bet that the residents of Old Westbury don’t go near the old “downtown” area.
I love the fact that Theater 80 is still there. I too used to schlep from Long Island on the weekends to see classic films here. Saw “Smiles of a Summers Night”, Goddard’s “Masculine/Feminine” among others.
An odd spectacle. I hate to say this but the theater was doomed in more ways than just the owners. Then neighborhood itself is in decline and it’s got stiff competition just around the corner with the Raceway Theaters off of Hempstead Turnpike.
Gee, I wonder why the Sunrise Multiplex isn’t listed? I’m sure lots of people have “interesting” stories about it.
As for the Lynbrook, this was one of my favorite theaters growing up. Maybe my memory is tainted but I remember it as being HUGE. And very ornate. It was done in a Spanish style. A lovely place to see a movie. The most memorable movie I saw there was “Rocky” in 1977. About a year or so later, it was multiplexed to four theaters. At first, this was cool. Wow! Four theaters in one place! But now I realize what a loss it was and is.
NOW I remember this theater! It reminded me a LOT of the Oceanside Theater. The marquees outside looked almost identical! This was near the old Mays shopping center. I know I saw something there but it was a long time ago. I had a hard time figuring out this one. I can still picture the marquee with the neon colors around it like the Oceanside. I always wondered if they were designed by the same people.
I remember this theater going way back. It was a large single screen theater when I was a kid in the 70’s. It was VERY similar to the Century’s Valley Stream theater at Green Acres. In the mid 80’s they made it into a triplex. Due to it’s size, each theater was very nice and big. Then in the late 80’s, they carved up the balcony sections even more and made a few more theaters. This was in the early 90’s. The movie theater was very nice. Well maintained. The last time I was there was in the summer of 2002 and I was shocked to see how shoddy the place had become. Dirty, dirty, dirty and very run down. I assumed it was because of the newer theater down where the raceway had been.
In actuality, Roosevelt Field Mall as a whole has become majorly shabby of late. It’s not the same great mall that I remember growing up.
Can anyone tell me if this was ever a nice theater? I went there once about 8 years ago and won’t go back again. Not that it was awful but it wasn’t very nice either. And it’s not like it’s a bargain. But they still get first run movies.
ONE OTHER QUESTION for those who know the area (Paramus):
There was a Drive-In in Paramus. I believe it was located where or near where the existing entrance to the Garden State Plaza Mall is.
Someone told me a few years ago that the present Davids Bridal store on Route 4 across from the Bergen Mall also used to be a theater and it closed in the early 80’s. Can anyone confirm this?
I saw the pictures that rhett speaks of. They were pictures from 1965 playing a movie called “Situation Hopeless… But Not Serious”. It looked like a large single screen movie theater standing alone without any additional stores or space. The entrance faced directly out onto Route 4. If you stand in the lobby with your back to Route 4, you can see the way the floor slopes upwards the way theaters did back then. I never realized this until I saw those pictures.
When I first moved to the area in 1994, I saw virtually all my movies here. But lately, it’s kind of gotten trashy. In addition, I’m ok with driving up to the Palisades Center to the Megaplex. For the same price, you get stadium seating and it’s generally better maintained.
RobertR: it would be a comedy, drama and tragedy. What’s sad is that these people must’ve loved the idea of owning and running their own movie theater. But they were so odd and genuinely mean spirited that one had to wonder why they were doing it. Was it just for the novelty? Did they treat the theater itself like some kind of big toy and couldn’t be bothered with the details like being nice to your patrons? It was and is a very strange story…
Hmmmmm…RoberR you might be right. The thing that I clearly remember was that the theater was very ornate and (I think) we walked up a flight of stairs. Not totally run down but rough around the edges. We must’ve been in the old balcony section because there was a definate and extremely noticable incline (very, very steep) that would not have been part of the orchestra section. And if this was the balcony, GOD it was HUGE.
So the Embassy 2-3-4 is the existing theater on 7th that is advertising for rent, right? That (ironically) would be the theater that I inquired about on the listing here for the Roxy. It doesn’t seem that big from viewing it outside though. I wish there was a way to go back and look at old theater listings to see. Ah, the things some people (like me) obsess about.
In April or May of 1979, I saw “The China Syndrome” in an old movie house that had been split down the middle. I wish to God I knew what theater it was. I could tell when I saw it that it was a grand old theater but it was in pretty bad shape then. I think it might’ve been the Rivoli but I can’t tell. I know for sure it was in the Times Square area, it was huge and ornate and it was during the spring of 1979. I know this sounds stupid but is there anyway anyone can tell me which theater I was in?
Shocking to me that more people haven’t written about this theater. I must’ve seen dozens of movies here during the 70’s. No one seems to remember this but during the 70’s, Disney used to re-release virtually it’s entire collection of movies from “Fantasia” to “Bednobs and Broomsticks” and everything in between. The Gables is where I saw a LOT of them for some reason. Saw “Mary Poppins” here in the summer of 1975 and the entire theater (PACKED HOUSE) was clapping along during “Stepping Time”. Beautiful memory.
There used to be three theaters in Merrick. One was The Gables which was on the north side of Merrick Road in one of the main parts of town. The second one was also on Merrick Road about a half mile or so east of the exit/entrance to the Meadowbrook Parkway. The third was just north of Sunrise Highway on (I think) Merrick Avenue in another main part of the town.
Here’s one more annoying memory about the owners who were kooks. This happened after the infamous cough-drop incident.
My and a few friends were there to see an “art” film (maybe “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” or something like that. While waiting on line, this guy had one of those car radios that you used to remove from the dashboard (don’t know if they still make them). Anyway…the woman owner was working the counter and noticed this. She sent her husband over to the guy to tell him he couldn’t take it into the theater. The husband told the guy this and a pretty nifty little fight ensued. Of course the guy with the radio argued that it was a car radio but the owners would have none of it. Long story short, the guy was ejected from the theater (with his friends). We all had a big laugh. The owners, honest to God, were very strange people. Seemed like nerdy control freaks.
And yes, for awhile, it was one of the few places to see independent/art films on Long Island. The only other place was the New Community Cinema out in Huntington.