Plaza Theatre

42 East 58th Street,
New York, NY 10022

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Showing 51 - 75 of 152 comments

captblood
captblood on January 18, 2010 at 8:22 pm

Hector, Thanks for your comments; missing a beautiful theatre; valuing meaningful / beautiful buildings & adding to the list of unusual films. I agree, all the Rugoff-Cinema 5 theatres were comfortable, classy and beautiful. I forget the ones downtown. I only worked the upper East Side. I think the Kips Bay, Murray Hill and Grammacy were Cinema 5. I think there was one in the Village too (The Art?). Oh, “The man with one red shoe” & “Gimme Shelter” played at the Plaza. Someone should write a book about this; ie: the history of the Plaza; the history of Rugoff-Cinema 5; The society that first builds and then throws away magnificent structures, etc. OR a book called: “The Theatre Moguls”. Cinema 5 was also a film distributer, ie: “released by Cinema 5”. I have some memoribilia from the Plaza. I saw about a dozen really famous people while I was there. Plus two or three in the neighborhood; Plus more when I worked in a health club on 59th St. It was really fun working there in those days.

TPH
TPH on January 18, 2010 at 5:59 pm

Capt. Blood, I share your sentiments. The Plaza certainly rode the crest of art/commercial films after coming into the Rugoff fold. Even movies that didn’t work such as Petulia or Taking Off were still an event when seen here. But that was the same for the entire Cinema 5 chain. But the standouts like Finzi Conitinis & Amarcord were all the more special when seen here.

captblood
captblood on January 18, 2010 at 2:12 pm

I have only just discovered (1/10) that the Plaza is no more. I am very dismayed. This was a beautiful, comfortable theatre with an illustrious past. It should have been saved or declared a landmark. It was one of the elite theatres of the Cinema 5 chain. Situated on the posh upper east side of Manhattan, along with the Cinema I & II; Sutton; and Paris Theatres; it was one of the creme d'la creme. Cinema 5 aquired the chain of theatres that were owned by Rugoff Theatres including the Plaza. Before that the Plaza was owned by Ilya Lopert, who I believe was the original owner. I worked at the Plaza as an usher and doorman in the 1970s. I worked in all the other threatres mentioned above and also in the home office of Rugoff Theatres and later Cinema 5. The original Film “Robin Hood” (with Flynn, DeHaviland & Rathbone) premiered at the Plaza and was a gala event. While I worked there, another gala opening was held for “Happy Mother’s Day, Love George”. Many stars appeared and there were searchlights outside and a red carpet. Situated in that neighborhood, many celebrities passed by or came in to see a film. I met many famous people there. Some of the films I remember while I worked for Cinema 5 theatres were: The Blue Max – 1966 or 67, Sutton; Happy Mother’s Day – Plaza; Alfredo, Alfredo (a riot! see it if you can) – Plaza; The Exorcist – Cinema I & II; Visions of 8 – Cinema I or II; Garden of the Finzi Continis – Plaza; Hell in the Pacific – Sutton; White Dawn; A Tear in the Ocean; Yellow Submarine; so many more!!! As for the staff, I remember Mr. Blonje, the asst. mgr; Mr. Geller, the Mgr; Kevin, the doorman – an aspiring actor; Ivy who staffed the refeshment cart and was later replaced by a cute girl of Greek heritage; The cute Italian box office ticket seller; Hassain, my co-worker & friend; Tac the handiman and Mr. McMahon the area manager. I am sorry and angry to see this theatre being misused as a restaurant. This is one problem in our culture, money overrides all other concerns including beauty, meaning, nostalgia, history, etc. That’s why we lost the original Penn Station, 100 times grander than Grand Central. Horrible!!!

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on January 2, 2010 at 10:31 am

Too bad. But I guess they had to place kitchen somewhere. The old lounge would have made a very nice private dining and party room.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on January 2, 2010 at 8:48 am

The waiter at TAO told me the kitchen is in the old basement lounge area.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on January 2, 2010 at 7:58 am

Just finished reading this marvelous thread, one of the most interesting and informative on this web site. I always knew there was something special about this place, but I had no idea of its rich history.

I visited the Plaza a number of times during the 70’s and 80’s. The one movie that I recall seeing was the Garden of the Finzi Contini.

While a few persons have already noted it, I need to say a word about the wonderful basement lounge, which was, at least in my experience, the most civilized place in which to wait for the next showing. I remember once becomming so comfortable reading my book there that I actually regretted the fact that the movie was about to start and that I had to leave this place!

My guess is that the old lounge area now hosts a separate dining room. While it probably has been totally re-designed, this might be the one area where some relic of the former theater may have survived. Who knows?

JimS1
JimS1 on January 2, 2010 at 5:03 am

I saw STORY OF ADELE H. at the Plaza. Thanks for clearing that up about the basement theatre at the Plaza Hotel. For the life of me, I could not remember the name of that venue. I thought it was also called the Plaza.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on October 2, 2009 at 1:52 pm

That last sentence should read “…because she was AFRAID one or more of…”. sorry…

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on October 2, 2009 at 1:47 pm

When she put on her British accent, she was Alexandra Jones. She was holy terror to work for – at one point she was going through three assistant managers a week and had a revolving door for the staff, too. Had to have the armed security guard walk her home every night because she was one or more of the multitudes she fired would kill her.

vicboda
vicboda on October 2, 2009 at 1:30 pm

This was the first theater in Manhattan to become totally smoke free. The manager was Avi Jones and when she quit smoking herself – she put the policy into works.

edblank
edblank on September 23, 2009 at 11:13 am

Very interesting, Vinnie. Please do share more memories of the Plaza.

By the way, Preminger’s response to which picture was his favorite or made him proudest, etc., was always, “My latest one.” When you’ve made “Laura,” “The Man With the Giolden Arm,” “Anatomy of a Murder” and “In Harm’s Way,” among others, you can’t pass off “Hurry Sundown” or “Skidoo” or “The Human Factor” as the answer to that question.

Vinniep
Vinniep on September 23, 2009 at 10:45 am

I worked my way through college from 1963-67 by working at the Plaza. I still have fond memories of my time there and the people I worked with. Polly, Mary, Mr. Evans and Mr. Marx were unforgettable characters. I got to meet several famous people while working there,especially when we hosted movie premiers. I talked to Otto Preminger when his move “Hurry Sundown” received poor reviews. He came to the Plaza about a week after the movie had opened. The theater was usually less than half full. He asked me “How is my movie doing ?” I responded, “Unfortunately no too well”. He looked at me and said, “Well I’ll make another one and maybe the people will like it better.” I was both surprised and amused by his response. I have several more experiences to relate, if anyone is interested.

edblank
edblank on March 26, 2009 at 1:21 pm

Apologies, but it’s necessary. The “replies to my comment” checkmark does not lock in unless I submit a comment, however brief. It’s a glitch I have not been able to circumvent by any other means. No intent to inconvenience anyone else.

Silicon Sam
Silicon Sam on March 26, 2009 at 12:46 pm

When you post 10 times in a row to renew a link, all it does is screw up the Recent Comments list for everyone else. If there was more than 10, it wouldn’t be an issue. If you absolutely HAVE to renew a link, try doing one at a time, every couple of hours.

Just my thought…

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on February 4, 2009 at 7:37 pm

BILL & TED and HOUSE OF CARDS both opened at the Plaza.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on February 4, 2009 at 6:18 pm

Ed Blank is correct: “Maurice” was at the Paris, for months and months.

edblank
edblank on February 4, 2009 at 6:14 pm

I don’t believe that in the modern era (1970s onward)any movies passed from the Paris to the Plaza, but Warren or one of the others would know better.

Kieranx
Kieranx on February 4, 2009 at 5:21 pm

Thanks, Ed. I didn’t wind up seeing Maurice in the theater, but I remember passing by the marquee a few times when I first moved to the city. I thought it was either the Paris or the Plaza. I do remember a marquee for Maurice covered by a lot of scaffolding, though. Is it possible that it moved over to the Plaza?

edblank
edblank on February 4, 2009 at 5:09 pm

“Maurice” made its Manhattan debut at the Paris, where I saw it, not the Plaza. “Bill & Ted” didn’t play at the Paris, though. Not sure where “House of Cards” opened.

Kieranx
Kieranx on February 4, 2009 at 5:07 pm

I’m racking my brain trying to picture this theater. Does anyone remember if Maurice played here in ‘87? If this is the place I’m thinking of, I saw Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Music Box here, and I think some Kathleen Turner movie called House of Cards.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on December 17, 2008 at 4:18 pm

Current interior can be seen on the restaurant site:
http://www.taorestaurant.com/

jay58
jay58 on May 30, 2008 at 4:24 am

Astyanax, thanks for mentioning the Fine Arts which was on 58th between Park and Lex. I saw “The Producers” there, first-run.