City Cinemas Village East

181 Second Avenue,
New York, NY 10003

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Showing 51 - 75 of 98 comments

br91975 on January 16, 2008 at 6:27 am

They were doing some kind of exterior work, Dave (the main entrance door at the far left is or was papered with all kinds of city permits), but it wasn’t – and isn’t – entirely clear what the work was.

TompkinsSquare on January 14, 2008 at 7:45 am

This is a crummy theater. Even in the main auditorium, the projection quality is bad and the sound system is awful. As for the small screens — they’re so small you might as well stay at home and download the trailer to your iPod

dave-bronx™ on January 2, 2008 at 6:32 pm

What is happening with the exterior above the street level in that photo? What’s with those white lines?

woody on December 18, 2007 at 2:36 pm

photos of the exterior (nightime) and main screen when i saw “scenes from a mall” there in 1991
other films on the marquee The Field, Superstar Andy Warhol, Sleazy Uncle

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 14, 2007 at 6:06 pm

Bob… take a look at my post back on August 15, 2006, where I linked to a vintage November 1963 ad that ran in the LI Star Journal for “This Was Burlesque.” The theatre was called the Casino East at that time. Admissions were $1 and $2!

To the editors: That same post of mine lists a number of AKA’s for this theatre that should be considered for inclusion at the top of the page. I’m not sure if ALL of the names listed were in use while the theatre ran motion pictures, but some of them definitely were (Entermedia, is an example).

bobmarshall on October 14, 2007 at 3:05 pm

In 1964, I saw Ann Corio’s “This Was Burlesque” here, but can’t remember the name of the theater at the time. In the early 80’s I saw a short-lived musical version of Potak’s “The Chosen” starring George Hearn here, which had a fantastic set, featuring a bridge that jetted right out into the orchestra. I believe it was then called the Second Avenue Theatre. It was an off-Broadway house with a Broadway feel.

carrybagman on August 20, 2007 at 10:06 am

I hate to slag a theater showing such good films (I just saw Rescue Dawn there), but the projection last night was off the screen by about six inches (so that the subtitle telling the date and place of the action was cut off, and you could see the projection on the wall to the right of the screen and above it), and when I got up and asked the manager to fix it (more than once), he said he looked at it, and that there was no loss of image, and that he was a “licensed projectionist”. It’s experiences like this that make a man stay home and watch dvds!

EduardoSuave on August 20, 2007 at 6:30 am

I remember seeing a Saturday matinee of the original production of Grease here when it was the Eden, back in early May 1972. (I also remember it was the day of the Kentucky Derby.)

I moved to a building just a couple of blocks away in 1988, and I remember the place being closed for a time while they rehabbed it as the Village East. It reopened in at least 1989 — not 1991 — because I remember Tango & Cash, a 1989 film, being on the marquee. The only movie I remember actually seeing there was The Hand that Rocks the Cradle. The Loews a block to the west usually had more desirable films.

efriedmann on June 4, 2007 at 7:09 am

This is the only movie theater I ever saw a traditional midnight showing of THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW.

Bwayniteowl on May 29, 2007 at 8:48 am

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Once Upon a Mattress was first written as a shorter play at the Tamiment adult summer camp resort. The play was later expanded for the Broadway stage. Initial reviews of the play were mixed, but critics and actors alike were surprised by the show’s enduring popularity.
Once Upon a Mattress is a popular choice for high school drama programs and community theatre groups.
The original production opened in May 1959 at the off-Broadway Phoenix Theatre (now closed, located on the lower East Side) and then transferred to several Broadway theaters, finally playing at the St. James Theatre, for a total run of 460 performances.

shoeshoe14 on November 28, 2006 at 3:36 pm

I saw Tenacious D there last night. The box office is outside. The lobby isn’t really ornate, kind of plain except for some nice decor on the ceiling. Saw the movie in theater 6 downstairs, near a small snack stand. Our theater fit 187 people but at 5:30 there were 6 people there. Seats were comfortable. There’s a great cushioned bench/couch out in the hallway. They have student discounts on Tuesdays.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on August 15, 2006 at 6:48 am

Another photograph I took, this one is from July 2003:

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on August 15, 2006 at 5:56 am

A photograph I took of the Village East Cinemas in May 2006:

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 15, 2006 at 5:07 am

Here’s an ad from 1963 as the Casino East Theater:
Ann Corio in This was Burlesque – LI Star Journal 11/23/63

Going back over the posts here, it looks like we should add a few more AKA names to this listing, including Eden, Casino East, Gayety, Entermedia, 12th Street Cinemas and Second Avenue.

GWaterman on June 5, 2006 at 7:06 am

While this theatre was still known as the Entermedia, it was a house for Off-Broadway theatre performances, particularly those that were Broadway try-out shows. It was the debut house for “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” (1977) and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” (1982)

Here is a link from the Lortel Archives, a database for Off-Broadway:

View link

It has a note saying the theatre was also known as the Stuyvesant, the Phoenix, and the Eden.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on June 1, 2006 at 7:45 am

Here’s an rather plain ad from December 1980 when the theater was called Entermedia (a name that ought to be added to the list of AKA’s above):

Samurai/Wolves 12/14/80

The Samurai Triology is a fairly well known series of Japanese films from the 1950’s, but I can not identify the other feature at all.

GWaterman on April 22, 2006 at 5:00 pm

The Fillmore East was a couple of blocks south of this theatre.

Movieguy718 on January 17, 2006 at 10:22 pm

I was here recently for the first time in years to see Family Stone in their “big” theater. The projection was a bit off. The volume was WAY too low. No one cared. I had low expectations and they were met. They got new seats though. That’s all I have to say.

CelluloidHero2 on January 6, 2006 at 2:25 am

The Fillmore East was originally the Loew’s Commodore.

dave-bronx™ on January 5, 2006 at 11:06 pm

The Fillmore East was 105 2nd Ave, at 6th St.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 5, 2006 at 9:44 pm

This was not the Fillmore East (also known as The Saint) although that location was also pegged to be a Cineplex Odeon multiplex at one time. That location was further south on second avenue near the Hell’s Angels headquarters.

The local authorities' reluctance to allow a second avenue entrance and the financial problems of CPO delayed the once active project until it died.

EcRocker on January 5, 2006 at 8:08 pm

OK am a little baffled here. before I moved to Arizona from Vermont I came in to the city in Nov of 1999. I could have sworn that what used to be the old Fillmore East had a sign stating that it was taking aplications for a condo complex being built there.

LOL @DC…. Teenage Lust was a band formed from former members of David Peel and the Lower East Side. They did not last long. Yes after the days of the Fillmore they tried to resurect the theatre they change the name to Village East. Prior to the Fillmore it was called the Village Theatre.

roots66 on December 31, 2005 at 11:37 am

Is it known whether the Village East was ever used as a rock venue? In a commentary track on the recently released New York Dolls DVD entitled “All Dolled Up,” photographer Bob Gruen recalls that the first time he ever took a picture of the band was backstage at the Village East Theater. Apparently this was some kind of glam-rock festival with the Dolls, the Magic Tramps, and Teenage Lust on the bill—but is Gruen referring to the same theater as the current movie house?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 15, 2005 at 11:06 am

From dave-bronx’s comments on September 10, sounds like a theater that’s worth keeping an eye out for, as long as the film you want to see is in the main auditorium.

The opening comment on this page (from 2002) says that the movie “The Night They Raided Minsky’s” was filmed here. Was the interior of the Victory Theater on 42nd Street so run-down in 1968 that they couldn’t have filmed in the real-life location of Minsky’s Follies? Or perhaps the owners wouldn’t allow filming.

dave-bronx™ on December 3, 2005 at 10:15 pm

One of the partners in City Cinemas at the time bought out a production company called M-Square Productions, and they held the lease on this theatre and the Minetta Lane Theater, an off-Broadway house over near the Waverly. When we first went in there to look around, the cellar was literally stuffed with everything imaginable that could be used for stage shows – furniture, costumes, every kind of prop you could think of, light fixtures and cables for the stage. It was offered to other production companies but nobody wanted it, so it was trashed.

They had archetectural plans drawn up to have the Minetta Lane Theater converted to a cinema. Another of the partners, in the meantime, hired someone to operate and book (or whatever you have to do to get shows into a stage theater). It was making money, so the conversion was never done.

Somewhere along the way City Cinemas also aquired the little Orpheum at 2 av & St Marks mentioned above, but we (the cinema group) had less to do with that one than we did with the Minetta. I’m emailing a friend to refresh my memory as to whether it was part of the same deal with M-Square.

Since I haven’t been associated with City Cinemas since sometime in the late 20th century (back when they were into movie theatres, not real estate development) I don’t know if they still have any involvment with the Minetta or little Orpheum.