Anco Theatre

254 W. 42nd Street,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 51 - 75 of 76 comments

Benjamin on June 18, 2005 at 9:45 am

The parking lot on the southeast corner of 42nd St. and Eighth Ave. was the site of one of those columned classically styled bank buildings until around the mid- or late-1960s when the bank that owned it tore it down and moved the branch to a modern concrete/brick building on the northwest corner of 42nd St. and Eighth Ave. (This bank branch is currently a Duane Reade drug store.)

The Anco was the very last theater on the south side of 42nd St. as one walked west between Seventh and Eighth Avenues. According to my Hagstom’s, the major theaters along the south side of 42nd St. were (as one walked west) the New Amsterdam (entrance to theater only), the Harris (entrance only), [the Hubert’s Museum], Liberty (entrance only), the Empire and the Anco.

If I remember correctly the Acno had a mostly blank, extremely plain facade. And in my opinion it was the Anco’s overly plain facade, along with the ugly, bricked-up facade of (I believe) the Hubert’s Museum that were the chief culprits in making 42nd St. look ugly and menacing. (And the parking lot to the west didn’t help either.) Further to the east, by the way, the two other main culprits in my opinion were the ugly Crossroads Building and its perpetually unoccupied six-story cinderblock column for billboards and the windowless 20+ (?) story tower of the Allied Chemical Building. (The windows were eliminated when Allied Chemical remodeled the building, which was originally the ornate “New York Times Building.”)

I don’t think the Acno was torn down until the early- or mid-1990s, in order to make way for the more architecturally distinguished Empire Theater.

br91975 on June 18, 2005 at 8:18 am

Greenpoint, the land currently directly next door to the Empire 25 was a parking lot long before the building which housed the Anco was torn down. The Anco building came down in ‘97 and I remember the parking lot being in existence as far back as '91 (and, as I know, it was there for several years before then).

Greenpoint on June 18, 2005 at 8:06 am

So the now former parking lot at the corner of 8th Avenue & W. 42nd was the former site of the Anco theatre.Thats amazing I too parked my car in there. I never even knew or even thought that a theatre could have been on that spot.After reading this its completely plausible.

br91975 on June 17, 2005 at 7:11 am

Don is correct; the building which housed the Anco was demolished to make way for the new location of the Empire. According to Nicholas Van Hoogstraten’s book, ‘Lost Broadway Theatres’ (from which Bryan’s initial description above is culled from), the Anco’s interior was gutted to its bare, brick walls in 1988 to make room for the various tenants who later occupied the space.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on June 17, 2005 at 6:53 am

The Anco was demolished several years before AMC’s redevelopment of the Empire; I often parked my car in that lot when I was in the area.

br91975 on June 17, 2005 at 6:15 am

That theatre you saw the interior of, Greenpoint, was the Liberty; it’s currently being converted into a Cipriani corporate event space. However, as is true with the Times Square Theatre, it cannot be altered to the point where it cannot again be converted into a performing arts venue.

DonRosen on June 17, 2005 at 4:32 am

The Anco was demolished, razed, destroyed to make room for the Empire move towards 8th Avenue.

Greenpoint on June 15, 2005 at 4:49 pm

If you were to walk down West 41st Street going from 8th Avenue to Bway- the side closer to 42nd…there is an old movie theatre…sort of in the back of the Empire monstrosity, its near a hotel.I seen the interior of the theatre one day as daylaborers were doing some sort of work and had the doors opened up…there was a stage and a lower level of seating and a small set of upper balcony seating- The seats seemed to be a dark brownish/burgundy type..I noticed some ornate plasterwork beneath the balcony section.

my spanish being bad- I could not communicate properly the need to go in and explore….

Could this be the Anco…or does anybody know what theatre that was.
there might be a clock on the facade?It has perplexed me…

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on May 16, 2005 at 9:52 pm

Bryan, I’ll thank you on every page for the beautiful link you have provided to us.

DonRosen on March 17, 2005 at 8:11 am

According to a book on the New Amsterdam Theatre, Max Cohen, who owned the New Amsterdam as well as the Anco, named the Anco Theatre for his wife, ANn COhen.

DonRosen on March 12, 2005 at 4:45 pm

It’s amazing. Out of the many photos I’ve seen of 42nd Street between 7th & 8th Avuenes, I’ve never seen a shot of the Anco. The Victory, Lyric, Times Square, Apollo, Selwyn, New Amsterdam, Cine 1 & 2, Harris, Liberty, and Empire, all there, but never the Anco. I know it was at the 8th Avenue end across from the Harem, but you never see it.

42ndStreetMemories on March 2, 2005 at 7:57 am

I received an email from a gentleman whose dad managed the ANCO. Here is a composite of our correspondence. The fact that he mentions the Cinema Circuit ownership backs up my recollection of the ANCO following the bookings of the larger New Amsterdam & Harris theaters which I believe were also owned by Cinema Circuit. I smiled reading about Chris the ice cream vendor. I do remember that the theater was too small for a refreshment stand and the ice cream hawker did a great business. Here goes:

“My Dad was the manager of the Anco theater during the mid to late 1950’s. There was a robbery there in 1959 during a showing of Shootout at the OK Corral! He also managed the Prospect theater in the Bronx before that for Cinema Circuit!
As far as I can remember, the ANCO played mostly action and adventure films with some Sci-fi mixed in. It didn’t have a candy stand, just vending machines. I think it was painted pink inside!? The usher Chris sold Ice Cream from a tray during the intermission.
I looked up the ANCO at the theater site online. They are making posts trying to guess what it is named after! It was owned by Cinema Circuit. The partners were Mark I Finklestein and Max Cohen. Cohen’s daughter was ANNA COHEN! So they named it AN—CO after his daughter!”


DonRosen on March 1, 2005 at 10:31 pm

I wasn’t aware that there were two Roxy sites. I knew of the one to the left of the New Amsterdam. But, now that you mention it, I do remember reading that the Movieplex 42 was a converted porno house.
Do any interior photos of the Anco exist?

br91975 on March 1, 2005 at 10:26 pm

The Movieplex 42 was carved out of one of two Roxy Twin Theatre sites on the Deuce (this one being located to the direct right of the space the Empire formerly occupied).

DonRosen on March 1, 2005 at 10:15 pm


Did the Movieplex 42 use the Anco’s auditorium? If not, what did they use for their 5 theatres?

42ndStreetMemories on March 1, 2005 at 4:08 pm

The ANCO would show a double feature that had “legs” and did well the earlier two weeks at the New Amsterdam & Harris. Sometimes it worked to their advantage when the word would spread about a double feature like “Night of the Living Dead – Dr. Who & The Daleks” and they would keep it indefinitely.

I have a 1967 ad showing Doctor Zhivago at the ANCO (hard to believe, eh?)with the banner HELD OVER which means it probably followed the New Amsterdam-Harris bookings.

When a film didn’t have legs, the ANCO would put some fun action double features together and these were not advertised since the ANCO did not pay to advertise, they were only listed when the film’s distributor listed them among the other NYC theaters.

Still searching for that booking info from the 50s-60s if anyone knows where to find it, please let me know.

There is a long shot of the ANCOs marquee in Marc Eliot’s book, Down 42nd Street. It features the marquees of The Harris, Liberty, Empire & Anco. From 1966. Nice shot of the “south side”


DonRosen on March 1, 2005 at 9:10 am

I have since found quite a few “Showcase” ads in the NY Times for the Anco. I guess, from time to time, they let the Anco join the big boys with first run showcase attractions. I have a photo aimed east on 42nd St from 8th Avenue. There is a marquee, next to a Blimpie sign, across from the street from the Harem. Is that the Anco?

DonRosen on January 24, 2005 at 9:33 am

The Sleazoid Express book describes a frightening acount of watching movies at the Anco, including “bodily fluids” on the floor! I remember a “UA Premiere” showcase engagement at the Anco for the double bill of “Guns of the Magnificent Seven” and “Death Rides a Horse”, in 1969. The Anco was actually listed in ad for this booking in the NY Times. Are there any photos of the Anco 42nd St.?

42ndStreetMemories on December 30, 2004 at 3:22 pm

Back in my time, the 50s/60s, the Anco had some cool double bills. If a double feature did well at the Harris, after a week at the New Amsterdam, they would bring it here. Made sense since it was a smaller theater and the booking fees by then were probably close to nil. Other than that, The Anco & Empire had some great programming of re-issues. Usually action, of course. Haven’t found an image of it yet. ANyone know where I can find one? Jerry 42nd Street Memories

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on December 30, 2004 at 12:21 pm

This was my least favorite of the 42nd Street line-up, and I was not sorry to see it close. It stunk to high heaven and because of its late run bookings and rock bottom prices it seemed to attract an even lower class of patrons than the other houses, if that’s possible! When I was here there was no balcony, only a raised rear mezzanine, like at the new Ziegfeld. But that’s where the similarity ended.

DavidHurlbutt on December 30, 2004 at 12:03 pm

Why was the theater renamed Anco?

42ndStreetMemories on December 30, 2004 at 8:47 am

Is there any way to retrieve the bookings information on the 42nd Street Theaters, back in the 50s-60s, especially the Empire, Anco, Times Sqaure, Victory, Liberty? I went through the NY Times microfiche at the library and found some mention of the more mainstream New Amsterdam, Lyric, Harris, Selwyn but nothing on the others. Thanks for any info. Jerry 42nd Street Memories

42ndStreetMemories on July 17, 2004 at 5:12 pm

The ANCO of the 50s & 60s would show a lot of creative re-released double bills, and like most of The Deuce specialized in action films. If a recent double bill did well one week at the New Amsterdam, it spent a week at The Harris and a 3rd at the Anco. The ticket seller was on the right hand corner and the left side of the entrance was filled with 8x10 stills. Jerry the K

genahy on June 30, 2004 at 12:50 am

According to Sleazoid Express, a great book on old Times Square theaters, this cinema (ha-ha) showed a lot of gender-bender stuff, like Ed Wood, etc.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 8, 2003 at 1:59 am

I was a frequent patron of the 42nd Street “grind houses” of the ‘70’s and early '80’s where blaxploitation, grade Z horror, Charles Bronson action and kung-fu flicks ruled the roost (oh, yes — and the occasional porn theater). I don’t recall the Anco too much, except that it was the western most theater on the south side the 42nd street strip between 7th and 8th Avenues… It stood on the spot more or less occupied now by the AMC Empire, opposite an adult theater that was called The Harem (which is roughly where the new 15 screen Loews EWalk Theater and Westin Hotel now stand).