City Cinemas Cinema 1, 2, and 3

1001 3rd Avenue,
New York, NY 10021

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Showing 76 - 100 of 271 comments

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on June 21, 2016 at 9:35 am

The area between 23th Street and 42nd street on the west side is the fastest growing housing area in the city.

And yes, this twin was open way before AMC made up their fake story, but twin theatres date back to the silent era.

mhvbear on June 21, 2016 at 7:13 am

It is a shame this theater was butchering in the first place when the 3rd screen was added. It is a shame that the Upper East Side was the hot spot for films in the 60’s & 70’s and almost all the theaters in that area are gone. It seems now that NYC must be one of the most under screened areas in the US based on population. The majority of the theaters seem to be in the 34th Street and 42nd street areas that mostly serve the bridge and tunnel crowd.

optimist008 on June 21, 2016 at 5:44 am

Correct me if mistaken, but this might have been the very first twin cinema in America, yes, before AMC claims to have done so in Kansas City.

dave-bronx™ on June 20, 2016 at 10:14 am

According to Reading International 4th Quarter and Full Year 2015 results dated 5/2/16, they have received the consent of a partner to redevelop the Cinema 123 property. They are evaluating the potential to redevelop the property as a mixed use retail and residential and/or hotel property. They have also done a feasibility study and are in negotiations with the owner of the property on the corner of 3Ave/60St (at one time, possibly still occupied by Yellowfingers, Contrapunto, Arizona 206 and Chatfields restaurants), for the joint redevelopment of the two properties. They add that there are no assurances that they will be able to come to terms with the adjacent property owner.

dave-bronx™ on December 15, 2015 at 10:28 am

Cinema 1 had two Cinemeccanica Victoria 8 35/70mm machines from the pre-automation days when they were using 6000' reels. When the automation was installed in 1984 both machines were left in place and operable. The Christie 3-stack platter was installed with additional rollers so it was possible to use either machine which was convenient in case of a bulb failure or some other problem. If the show would stop and the problem couldn’t be fixed right away the projectionist could thread up on the other machine. An unscheduled intermission but we wouldn’t lose the whole show. I suspect when the DLP machine was added one of the V8s was disconnected and pushed aside, but left there in the booth. It’s a big room, as booths go, so it wouldn’t be in the way. Plus I’m sure nobody wanted to be involved in trying to get that beast down all the stairs to the street.

markp on December 11, 2015 at 12:13 pm

I was told, but could not confirm, that only 3 theatres in NYC getting it in 70. Lincoln Square, E Walk and Village East

xbs2034 on December 11, 2015 at 11:27 am

According to NY Post Film Editor Lou Lumenick’s twitter, the 70mm screenings of Hateful Eight at Cinema 1 were just for the press, and if won’t play there normally but rather at East 86th.

Given both are part of City Cinemas chain, I’d guess they’d be moving their 70 projector from Cinema 1 to East 86th for the H8 run, but not sure.

markp on December 11, 2015 at 3:39 am

Glad you had a great time. Village East is getting it. I applied to be projectionist since they were looking for people with expierience, (39 years) and I had run 70MM in the 80’s and 90’s. I was told they hired kids from a vocational school. Lets watch that $15,000.00 print get trashed the first weekend.

John Fink
John Fink on December 10, 2015 at 8:01 pm

Cinema 1 (still?) has 70MM installed – caught a flawless press screening of Hateful Eight today. Not sure if the theatre will get a regular engagement of the film but the experience of Ultra Panavision was great and the theater had proper masking to accommodate the extreme wide screen. Nice place – with some art work still in the lobby – Cinema 1 had a very General Cinema 70s vibe (reminded me of a Eastern Hills Mall outside of Buffalo – minus the picture window screen)

bigjoe59 on July 21, 2015 at 2:33 pm


I have been going to the Cinema I for more years than I care to admit. it is my personal opinion that the rather high price for the reserved seating is a further rip off of moviegoers. the Chelsea Multiplex on 8th Ave. and 23rd St. has reserved seating and the same seats as this theater yet they don’t charge more for the reserved seating. further proof the HIGH price at this theater is a big rip off.

theatrefan on July 21, 2015 at 5:15 am

When they install the new reclining seats it does reduce seating capacity of each auditorium, so they must have to make up the difference somehow.

SethLewis on July 20, 2015 at 10:24 pm

For anyone complaining about movie ticket prices…try London £18 or the equivalent of $24 in the West End…the upside is that we can transfer our supermarket loyalty points into cinema tickets to ease the pain…Membership schemes also help

alps on July 20, 2015 at 7:03 pm

This is the first time I visited Cinema 1, 2, 3, since it got the new seating. I won’t balk about the price since I only attend this theater once a year, only to see Woody Allen’s new releases. The new seats are awesome as is the Coca Cola freestyle fountain. The staff is very friendly and helpful. The price of movies have gone up to ridicules amounts across the board, to see Irrational Man it cost $18.50 for a reserved ticket, $13.07 for popcorn and a soda, this is a lot for the experience. I live in South Jersey, outside of Philadelphia, when I see Irrational Man again, I see all new Woody Allen releases twice, I will pay, $5.75 for the ticket and $9.50 for popcorn and soda, see the difference? This is why movie theaters will continue to struggle, and streaming will be the norm. Woody Allen has an aging audience, I am 57, been into the Woodman since the 70’s, I believe I was the youngest person there.

bigjoe59 on February 22, 2015 at 12:20 pm


the new admission price of $17 is a total rip off. i don’t see what reserved seating accomplishes other than more $$$ for the theater. its not like the old days of 2 performance a day roadshow movies.

dave-bronx™ on December 17, 2014 at 9:53 am

So have they made any other upgrades to the place other than the seats? New carpeting maybe? Wallpaper? New upscale concession menu? Also, with the upgrade(s) what is the new admission price?

SethLewis on December 17, 2014 at 9:28 am

What is the overall new seat count?

Jeffrey1955 on December 17, 2014 at 5:11 am

So Cinema 3 is like watching a movie in your living room – only a lot more expensive.

ridethectrain on December 16, 2014 at 9:46 pm

Cinema 2 has 97 seats and Cinema 3 has 48 seats

SethLewis on December 8, 2014 at 6:20 am

This is a relief…can’t imagine living in NYC with the way it is being screened now…what the UES needs in a Kips Bay style multiplex for the big commercial films and a Lincoln Plaza style multiplex for art house product and then everyone’s needs are served

Easier said than done I realise

ridethectrain on December 7, 2014 at 10:53 am

Cinema 1 is going reserved seating, losing half the capacity. The new capacity 187 seats, they probadly having reclyning seats. I don’t know if Cinema 2 and 3 will do the same.

The first feature with the new seats “Wild” on Friday December 12

Jeffrey1955 on August 19, 2014 at 10:11 am

The similarity of facade design between the Cinema I/II building and Lincoln Center is obvious, and the fact they were built around the same time makes it seem more than a coincidence. So the question is, was there an actual plan to have these Cinemas be the East Side film showcase for Lincoln Center, or was it simply an attempt to capitalize on the publicity around Lincoln Center’s opening?

wmjp on August 19, 2014 at 9:12 am

dave-bronx: Thanks for the info. Columbia U has the Geller papers, so I can look for more there. You might be interested to know that the initial announcement of Cinema I/II in the Times listed Schlanger as the sole architect. I suspect that Geller was brought in later to attract attention to the distinctness of the building as architecture — it did end up getting covered in a number of architecture journals. My guess is that Geller worked on the exterior (although the marquees recall the Murray Hill) while the auditoria are recognizably Schlanger.

I was struck by the Lincoln Center resemblance because of the arcaded window with visible second floor lobby, which was mandated as a common design feature for the three central buildings to give the impression of architectural unity. But even if Geller was entirely responsible for the exterior, oddly it was Schlanger who worked on Lincoln Center.

By the 1950s, Schlanger had achieved an international reputation for his work on sight lines, and so did the seating arrangements for the U.N. General Assembly as well as a number of prominent arts centers in the U.S. and abroad — at the least, the seating at the Met and the New York State Theatre was designed by him.

I’m very familiar with his NYC theaters because they were generally my first choice for seeing a movie if it was playing at more than one theater. I also had the good fortune of growing up in a small New England city with three Schlanger theaters, inevitably my preferred theaters as well. That’s why I’m sure he did the auditoria for Cinema I/II — pretty recognizable to anyone who knows his work. And that’s why I see the later “renovation” as more desecration and was sorry to see Geller involved. Getting rid of the Syncho Screen and replacing it with a conventional screen placed too close to the seating area destroyed Schlanger’s carefully worked out sight lines. And it encased the screen in conventional black masking, something Schlanger campaigned against for his entire career. I went to the new Cinema I once and never went back.

dave-bronx™ on August 18, 2014 at 11:12 pm

wmjp: The materials I have are the photographs posted in the photos section here, a project manual and a set of architectural and mechanical drawings for the alterations of 1988. I do not have the drawings for the original construction in 1961, Mr. Geller had them as reference for “as built” conditions and would bring both sets [1961 and 1988] when we had owner/architect/contractor meetings, and when he visited the site several times a week while the project was underway and I looked at them several times when the original conditions differed from the 1988 drawings. The project manual and drawings I have are labeled: Abraham W. Geller & Associates 24 West 25th St. NY NY 10010 To the best of my recollection the 1961 drawings were labelled in a similar manner, and had the NYC Dept. Of Buildings approval seal affixed, making Geller the architect of record. I dont recall seeing Mr. Schlanger listed, but then I never had those drawings in my possession to study as I did the 1988 drawings. Mr. Geller did speak of him, though.

I’m sure Mr. Geller has gone to the big drafting table in the sky, as he was quite elderly in 1988, and I never heard if there was a successor firm that would have his files.

Mr. Schlanger was involved in many theaters including the Murray Hill, Sutton and Beekman for Rugoff, the original Framingham Cinema in Boston for GCC and ‘The Cinema’ in D.C. to name a few.

Regarding the Lincoln Center connection, I read something about that here too, but I did not post that info. I was unaware of it until I read it here.

wmjp on August 18, 2014 at 7:08 pm

For Dave-Bronx — I’m finishing a book that deals in part with Ben Schlanger, so I was interested in a post you did years ago about architectural drawings. Plus you also wrote there was an intentional connection to Lincoln Center, something I recently concluded, but have no evidence for other than the fact that Schlanger did work on a number of bldgs. in Lincoln Center. Is there any way I could possibly see the materials you have. Thanks!