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According to the book “Skyscraper” by Karl Sabbagh, when the speculative Worldwide Plaza building opened tenants were hard to find since it was considered too far west. The employees of the few tenants who were there initially found it ‘distasteful’ to be working next door to the Adonis (Tivoli) Theatre. Their concerns were brought to the attention of William Zeckendorf, the developer of the Worldwide building. Not wanting to lose the few tenants he had and discourage future tenants from moving in, he bought the theatre and had it demolished. Restoration and conversion back to a regular theatre was out of the question since God’s gift to the theatre business from Toronto was opening another speculative venture, the Worldwide Cinemas, also in Zeckendorf’s development. Ironically, the Worldwide Cinemas was itself closed and demolished in the past few years.
At one point they were (and may still be) booking City Cinemas dwindling empire…
While difficult to see in the photo above, the white carvings at the top of the building on each side are smiling rabbit faces (complete with ears), further symbolizing the original name of the theatre. Are these still there since conversion to a 99 cent store?
Yes – Nick Guadagno and friends…
The intersection of Linden Blvd & 219th Street is in Cambria Heights Queens.
That address can’t be correct – 22-15 Steinway St. is Astoria, Queens, right across the river from Manhattan – Cambria Heights is out in the vacinity of Kennedy Airport. If that address is from some kind of trade publication, sometimes a theatre would be listed with the address of a management office, since administrative business was done by ‘the office’ and not by the theatre manager.
Mikeoaklandpark – the Battery Park theatre, being across the street from the World Trade Center, may have issues remaining from 9/11. While working at the WTC site with the PD from 9/11 until December ‘01, the only damage to the theatre I saw was broken glass. But keep in mind that the area was closed to the public for months afterward, and the theatre sat there with broken windows and open to the elements – there may be mold or other contamination problems in some areas of the building and may be sealed off.
The heading states this was part of City Cinemas – this is not correct – it was originally owned and operated by Trans-Lux, and later Crown. Since this was Crown’s only New York location they had City Cinemas book the films, because they had a little more clout in the Manhattan film market, but Crown was still operating it up to the end.
I haven’t seen it, but there are a lot of elements of Rockefeller Center that are landmarked, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was one of them. Usually a big retailer wants their own design and wouldn’t retain decor from a previous tenant unless their removal was prohibited by the lease. Landmarking makes the property owner responsible, who in turn must make sure the tenants also comply, so they write it in the lease.
The Paris auditorium is on the street level with the balcony on the 2nd & 3rd floor, restroom and candy stand in the basement. The Tower East is the only other one I can think of with the Gotham’s set-up.
UA had the 8th St Playhouse for a number of years, and true to their reputation let the place run down. around 1988 or 89 they were invited to vacate the premises by the landlord because they also stopped paying the rent. The landlord asked City Cinemas to run it for a while. When we went in there we found UA had taken the projection equipment and the marquee letters, all of which belonged to the landlord, and he had to threaten them with court action to make them bring it back. Since we didn’t have a long-term lease, we fixed it up a little with a good cleaning, new carpet, re-upholstered the old seats and rebuilt the candy stand.
br91975 is correct about the Quad, it was always operated by its owner. Golden (a film booking agency, not a theatre operator) and City Cinemas only booked the films for him.
UA has a habit of getting evicted, even before the bankruptcy – at least in New York – they got evicted from the 8th Street Playhouse, and they got evicted from the Eastside Cinema.
The Lake was built in the late 1940s, and was of similar style and layout (though reversed) as the Mercury Theatre in Middleburg Heights. As with the Mercury, it was built by Modern Theatres as a single-screen movie theatre, no working stage. When they re-opened it in the late 1970s I gave them the original wood and glass horseshoe-shaped candy stand from the Mayland Theatre, which had been taken out of use when GCC renovated that house. It was 1 guy trying to make a go of it and I wanted to help him out. The older Shore Theatre that was next door was built in the 1930s. It sat empty for many years and was in pretty bad shape when it was demolished in the early 1980s.
I believe this was the original ‘Cineplex’ – this was what launched His Arrogance The Grand Pooh-bah on his great crusade to revolutionize the movie theatre business and teach everyone else how to build and run a theatre. It was from here that he took over the Canadian Odeon chain. Unfortunately, nobody put a stake in his heart before he inflicted himself on the business in the United States.
As I recall from the trades at the time, this place was built in a parking garage, and had movable walls so room size could be adjusted (they were all very small) to accommodate the size of the audience. In the beginning it had 21 screens, some were probably combined to make a couple of decent sized screening rooms.
Seats from the late Astor Plaza have now been installed here, replacing the 1981 Griggs pushback chairs.
The original name of this theatre was Loew’s Yonge Street, and should have a listing under the Loews chain.
I remember reading about the lease dispute in Variety at the time it was happening. Somehow, the building had two leases, expiring at different times. Famous Players was operating the entire building as the Imperial Six. That slippery individual from Cineplex swooped in and made a deal with the landlord for half the building, unbeknownst to Famous Players. Famous could not access their portion of the building without going through the Cineplex portion, and according to Variety, Mr. slippery had barbed-wire and guard dogs installed in his portion to prevent that from happening. Eventually they ended up in court.
The partners who owned it – was it Justin and Nick?
Golden never built anything – they were a film-booking service and like Lesser and Creative Entertainment, booked other peoples theatres and just put their name on the display ads. They did not build, own or operate any theatres. Their office was at 1600 Bway, in the National Screen Service Bldg. The Quad was built and operated by a guy named Elliot Kanbar.
The seating capacity of the Loew’s Stillman was 1800.
The ramp into the garage from Euclid Ave goes in though the former Stillman lobby, and it still had the plaster-relief ceiling and faux-columns on the walls. The last time I saw it, about 10 years ago, the walls and ceiling had been painted yellow, and where chandeliers once hung were now mercury-vapor street light fixtures.
Wasn’t there a theatre around here called the Circle?
Wasn’t this theatre on E. 105th & Chester? – on Euclid, west of 105th was the Loew’s Park on the north side of the street, and east was the Keith’s 105 on the south side. The Alhambra remained open until the late sixties, and was demolished right after it closed, unlike the Park and the Keith’s. I remember the ads in the paper, it was always the first listing in the movie directory. It was never listed as part of a chain during the time I was aware of it.
Yes, the Palace also had Cinerama, and they also ripped out the opera boxes on either side of the stage to accommodate the cinerama screen. Those boxes have now been restored. They had the projection booth built under the balcony, but did not rip out any of the balcony structure as was done at the Loew’s State. I have photos of the Palace from when the PSA first got in there, and they show the red curtains covering the area where the extended screen was, and others where the booth under the balcony can be seen. Also photos of the balcony of the State with the cut-back clearly visable.
This theatre was never associated with Loew’s. The Loew’s State was next door, and in the 1960s the Loew’s Division Manager was ensconced there.
The Keith’s Palace was designed by the Rapp brothers, and seated 3,680 people. It was built and opened November 6, 1922 by Edward F. Albee as a monument to his vaudville-entrepreneur friend B.F.Keith. It was billed as “The Most Magnificent Theater in the World”. The Keith-Albee circuit would later become RKO, and the Palace remained RKO until it closed on July 20, 1969 while playing ‘Krakatowa East of Java’ and the air conditioning conked out. Because it was part of the large Keith office building that remained occupied, the theatre was able to be monitored, and the structure maintained. The lobby was being used as a wholesale jewelry showroom using a small side entrance on 17th St. The marquee had been removed and the front entry boarded up. When The Playhouse Square Association got involved, the Palace was in the best condition of the 4 houses (this, plus the Loew’s State, Loew’s Ohio and the RKO Allen, all sitting side-by-side).