Embassy 1,2,3 Theatre

707 Seventh Avenue,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 726 - 750 of 1,060 comments

Hibi on January 13, 2006 at 10:36 am

I thought I read/heard somewhere that it had closed. No, I didnt have high hopes, but I was wondering how much of the theater still existed.

RobertR on January 13, 2006 at 9:51 am

I never liked the Westbury Virgin store, I think it’s being so close to Tower Records in Carle Place hurt it.

chconnol on January 13, 2006 at 9:44 am

I know this is way off topic EdSolero but the Virgin Megastore on LI that closed…was that in that awful mall on Old Country Road where the Fortunoff’s is?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 12, 2006 at 7:41 pm

I was there this past weekend and Toys ‘R’ Us is definitely still open for business. Besides, most of the building – beyond just the theater itself – was gutted to the outer walls for the conversion. I do recall reading in one of the earlier comments, that some remnant of the theater was visible at the rear of the store’s 2nd level, but I have not made it back to the store to check it out.

I know Toys ‘R’ Us has gone through some financial difficulties and has closed many of its stores, but most of the locations I’m familiar with in the NY area are still up and running (and presumably doing well). I did note that a well located Long Island location of the Virgin Megastore had closed down, but the Times Square branch continues to thrive. I’m sure the extraordinary volume of foot traffic keeps both locations among each company’s most profitable – despite what must be extremely high operating nuts.

When Apple Computer announced it would open a 2nd store in NYC, I was very surprised to learn the location would NOT be in Times Square but up in the GM Building on 5th and 59th. Perhaps CEO Steve Jobs prefers the more elegant company of FAO Schwartz, Bergdorf Goodman, Tiffany’s, the Plaza Hotel and Central Park to the louder and more obnoxious environs of Times Square!

William on January 12, 2006 at 5:52 pm

Toys R Us is still open.

RichHamel on January 12, 2006 at 5:45 pm

Toys R Us hasn’t closed.

chconnol on January 12, 2006 at 5:45 pm

The toys r us closed?

And if it did, does anyone really believe that with that expensive property someone’s going to open up (of all things) a movie theater?

Hibi on January 12, 2006 at 5:42 pm

What’s the state of the old Criterion now that the Toys R Us has closed? Any hope of that being resurrected in some form or was that completely gutted?

chconnol on January 12, 2006 at 1:01 pm

I agree that with the re-development of Times Square “they” definately threw the baby out with the bathwater. But that happens with wide scale redevelopments like this. I’m appalled at what I look at what replaced The Rivoli as I work right across the street from “it”. It has to be one of the most unremarkable and bland looking office buildings in the world.

But if you still want something honky tonk, 8th and 9th Avenues (FOR NOW) still has that. I don’t know how long it will last though. I see more and more of these beautifully off beat stores on 9th being closed up and redone by these stupid oh-so-trendy looking restaurants.

But last week I was shocked and actually pleasantly surprised to see something on 10th & 48th that I haven’t seen in years: a hooker in broad daylight! So yes, the seediness may have been pushed away but it’s never that far from the old Times Square. And I agree with you that during the mid 80s when I used to go into “the city” often, the funkiness and ruff-and-tumble atmosphere is what appealed to me the most. There was a mix of the refined and the low that could only be found in deal old Manhattan.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 12, 2006 at 12:33 pm

CConnolly… Just my two cents:

I love the Times Square area, even though I have great nostalgia for the way things were and have a number of criticisms about the direction its OVERdevelopment has taken in the last 10 years. I wouldn’t consider it “bashing” to wax nostalgic for bygone days. Yes, there was a dangerous and forbidding element to the area, say 15 or 20 years ago, but there was also a sense of honky-tonk and wickedness that lent an air of adventure to the place. Perhaps I’m looking back through the naiveté of my youth, but the redevelopment of the district has squashed most of the atmosphere that defined the Square to begin with and has all but completely eradicated its cinematic legacy in favor of corporate-vanity projects, like the towering and overwhelming Reuters and Conde Naste skyscrapers.

The only elements that were held aloft on a pedestal for preservation were the legitimate theater and the concept of excessive electronic signage. Surely there must have been some room to tidy up and increase security in the area for tourists while also preserving/restoring at least a few of the remaining movie theaters (such as the Rivoli, State and Strand) in a nod to the area’s identity as a premier showcase for big Hollywood films. I thank the efforts of all involved (both political and corporate) for the beautiful restoration of the New Amsterdam and Victory Theaters and I’m thankful that folks from other parts of the world are once again interested in coming to my city and investing much of their hard earned dollars into the local economy. But I’m supremely disappointed that the architects of the area’s redevelopment had such blatant disregard for its great tradition of cinematic showmanship. In that regard, I think the Koch and Guiliani administration (and all other parties involved) did something significantly less then their best.

chconnol on January 12, 2006 at 10:26 am

What would all you Times Square bashers want done with Times Square? Back in 1979 it was a squalid has been of a place. Yes, today it’s glitzy but without any real entertainment value aside from the Broadway Theaters which are basically expensive tourist traps (OK..some shows are worthwhile but the good ones don’t run long enough or interest the tourists). But what was NYC supposed to do? I work right in the area and during Christmas time, the area was PACKED to the gills. I’ve never seen anything like it but it ws FUN to see all these people there enjoying the sites. Yes, I agree 100% that it would be wonderful if there were at least one or two of the old great movie houses there and belive wholeheartedly that if one had managed to survivie, it could thrive today as perhaps a IMAX venue (think of The Rivoli operating in that capacity!)

But something had to be done and I think that they Koch and Guilianni administrations did the best they could.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on January 12, 2006 at 3:28 am

Andreco, I agree with most of your points, but I do wish to point out that the entire Empire Theatre is part of the AMC…facade, lobby and auditorium; the auditorium is now the AMC’s lobby.

VincentParisi on January 11, 2006 at 6:09 pm

But Koch was a great corporate shill. He was very vocal and fought hard for that Marriott. He and the great Joe Papp went at it hammer and tongs in the media. He was the figurehead for that catastrphe. Without Koch and others like him in their pocket the developers could not do what they had done.

Andres on January 11, 2006 at 5:42 pm

If my memory does not fail me, it was late in Koch’s administration that plans to renovate Times Square began, and they continued under Dinkins and finally Giuliani. It was during Giuliani’s administration that the Disney deal to restore the New Amsterdam was made and the Disneyfication of the area began, including the construction of all the new skyscrapers, where incidentally, Giuliani Partners is located in one of them; the one next to the New Amsterdam in the southwest corner of 42d St. Sadly, some of the 42nd St. theates were lost, but others renovated — i.e. New Victory — and the facade and lobby of the Empire were incorporated into the monstruousity known as the AMC 25. As for the Rivoli, State, Srand/Warner, etc.; the blame goes to greedy Loews, United Artists and the real estate developers, not to any particular mayor. Andres.

kwekubruni on January 11, 2006 at 5:33 pm

I spent the past year doing r&d on this property. We have been through this theater from head to toe and inside/out. In fact, we had a negotiated lease ready to sign. Bottom Line: The combined costs of renovating someone else’s property and doing business on Times Square is virtually cost prohibitive. The landlords agent and legal council were always honorable and professional but still, it is a complicated situation to work through.

William on January 11, 2006 at 4:47 pm

The only thing that’s going to save or restore that theatre is someone with lots of money. The lease rent is very high to operate as a single screen theatre in that market. The landlords jacked the rent when the last leasee left.

Hibi on January 11, 2006 at 4:42 pm

You’re right, Vincent. It was his watch when those theaters went down. I’d forgotten about that. Wasnt he intrumental in getting those Times Square skycrapers built that destroyed many movie theaters?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 11, 2006 at 4:33 pm

Vincent… is that a fact? Was it Koch himself who promoted the redevelopment of that historic block for Marriott? I know during his administration we witnessed the loss of many cinema treasures (RKO Keith’s, Rivoli, State, Strand) but I just thought it was business as usual being conducted in offices peripheral to the Mayor (ie, Queens Boro Pres Donald Manes culpability in the Keith’s fiasco).

I guess now that he’s free from the bonds of political indebtedness, he has an opportunity – presented by Andres – to make up for some of the sins of his past. If not, Vincent, where do you think Andres should turn in his efforts to restore this theater to its intended use?

RichHamel on January 11, 2006 at 4:29 pm

Vincent, how do you really feel about former Mayor Koch?

Andres on January 11, 2006 at 4:28 pm

Vincent: You know better than I if Koch was not directly involved in the movement to save the Regency, but I remember he was at the picket line at least once.
As for yor opinion of him, I respect it.
I just want and hope like all of you who contribute to this site that this theater is saved.
Best, Andres.

VincentParisi on January 11, 2006 at 4:04 pm

Do you want me to continue?
I was one of the people who fought to retain the Regency as a Rep house and I knew those who were instumental in forming this protest. Not only am I not aware that Koch had anything to do with trying to save the theater but I don’t remember any of the diehards ever mentioning him. If they had I would have responded with total disbelief.

VincentParisi on January 11, 2006 at 3:57 pm

He was the one who fought for the destruction of the Helen Hayes, Morosco, Bijou, Astor and Victoria!
He was the one who wanted the Marriott built-one of New Yorks great architectural disasters.
He told Papp who fought for these great theaters that Broadway was dead and who gave a damn anyway.
This was the cornerstone of the complete and total devastation of corporate America on New York’s greatest neighborhood.
Truly one of the most detestable and loathsome New Yorkers ever!
And I’m being nice.

Andres on January 11, 2006 at 3:51 pm

You got it right EdSolero. The current adminitration did not even acknowledge my letter as they are supposed to do when a constituent writes to City Hall, even though I sent it through a person I know at the Mayor’s office. The letters are not responded to personally by the mayor of course. The Mayor’s Correspondence Unit responds and then fowards the letter to the appropiate city agency or unit, in my case the Film Commission. They are supposed to respond to the constituent within 10 days. That office never acknowledged my letter or responded. That’s why I turned to Koch. Koch is not only a person of considerable influence, but he loves the movies. When the Regency in the Upper West Side was taken over by Cineplex Odeon and changed its programming from repertory to first run, Koch initiated and led a picket line in front of the theater, as he did when Loews or Cineplex raised the ticket prices many years ago. He write a weekly movie column — reviews — in The
Villager. Andres.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 11, 2006 at 2:58 pm

I think Andres is purposely writing to our former Mayor Koch to engage his considerable influence as a private citizen. Andres would probably never get the ear of the Bloomberg administration, but he might reach Koch – who in turn can use his clout and connections to get Bloomberg’s ear on the matter. Here’s to that effort!

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 11, 2006 at 2:48 pm

Andres, you wrote to the wrong Mayor. It’s Bloomberg now! I hope that your letter gets delivered. It might even be forwarded to Koch, who’s still living.