City Cinemas Village East

181 2nd Avenue,
New York, NY 10003

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Showing 76 - 100 of 116 comments

EduardoSuave on August 20, 2007 at 6:30 am

I remember seeing a Saturday matinee of the original production of Grease here when it was the Eden, back in early May 1972. (I also remember it was the day of the Kentucky Derby.)

I moved to a building just a couple of blocks away in 1988, and I remember the place being closed for a time while they rehabbed it as the Village East. It reopened in at least 1989 — not 1991 — because I remember Tango & Cash, a 1989 film, being on the marquee. The only movie I remember actually seeing there was The Hand that Rocks the Cradle. The Loews a block to the west usually had more desirable films.

efriedmann on June 4, 2007 at 7:09 am

This is the only movie theater I ever saw a traditional midnight showing of THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW.

Bwayniteowl on May 29, 2007 at 8:48 am

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Once Upon a Mattress was first written as a shorter play at the Tamiment adult summer camp resort. The play was later expanded for the Broadway stage. Initial reviews of the play were mixed, but critics and actors alike were surprised by the show’s enduring popularity.
Once Upon a Mattress is a popular choice for high school drama programs and community theatre groups.
The original production opened in May 1959 at the off-Broadway Phoenix Theatre (now closed, located on the lower East Side) and then transferred to several Broadway theaters, finally playing at the St. James Theatre, for a total run of 460 performances.

shoeshoe14 on November 28, 2006 at 3:36 pm

I saw Tenacious D there last night. The box office is outside. The lobby isn’t really ornate, kind of plain except for some nice decor on the ceiling. Saw the movie in theater 6 downstairs, near a small snack stand. Our theater fit 187 people but at 5:30 there were 6 people there. Seats were comfortable. There’s a great cushioned bench/couch out in the hallway. They have student discounts on Tuesdays.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on August 15, 2006 at 6:48 am

Another photograph I took, this one is from July 2003:

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on August 15, 2006 at 5:56 am

A photograph I took of the Village East Cinemas in May 2006:

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 15, 2006 at 5:07 am

Here’s an ad from 1963 as the Casino East Theater:
Ann Corio in This was Burlesque – LI Star Journal 11/23/63

Going back over the posts here, it looks like we should add a few more AKA names to this listing, including Eden, Casino East, Gayety, Entermedia, 12th Street Cinemas and Second Avenue.

GWaterman on June 5, 2006 at 7:06 am

While this theatre was still known as the Entermedia, it was a house for Off-Broadway theatre performances, particularly those that were Broadway try-out shows. It was the debut house for “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” (1977) and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” (1982)

Here is a link from the Lortel Archives, a database for Off-Broadway:

View link

It has a note saying the theatre was also known as the Stuyvesant, the Phoenix, and the Eden.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on June 1, 2006 at 7:45 am

Here’s an rather plain ad from December 1980 when the theater was called Entermedia (a name that ought to be added to the list of AKA’s above):

Samurai/Wolves 12/14/80

The Samurai Triology is a fairly well known series of Japanese films from the 1950’s, but I can not identify the other feature at all.

GWaterman on April 22, 2006 at 5:00 pm

The Fillmore East was a couple of blocks south of this theatre.

Movieguy718 on January 17, 2006 at 10:22 pm

I was here recently for the first time in years to see Family Stone in their “big” theater. The projection was a bit off. The volume was WAY too low. No one cared. I had low expectations and they were met. They got new seats though. That’s all I have to say.

CelluloidHero2 on January 6, 2006 at 2:25 am

The Fillmore East was originally the Loew’s Commodore.

dave-bronx™ on January 5, 2006 at 11:06 pm

The Fillmore East was 105 2nd Ave, at 6th St.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 5, 2006 at 9:44 pm

This was not the Fillmore East (also known as The Saint) although that location was also pegged to be a Cineplex Odeon multiplex at one time. That location was further south on second avenue near the Hell’s Angels headquarters.

The local authorities' reluctance to allow a second avenue entrance and the financial problems of CPO delayed the once active project until it died.

EcRocker on January 5, 2006 at 8:08 pm

OK am a little baffled here. before I moved to Arizona from Vermont I came in to the city in Nov of 1999. I could have sworn that what used to be the old Fillmore East had a sign stating that it was taking aplications for a condo complex being built there.

LOL @DC…. Teenage Lust was a band formed from former members of David Peel and the Lower East Side. They did not last long. Yes after the days of the Fillmore they tried to resurect the theatre they change the name to Village East. Prior to the Fillmore it was called the Village Theatre.

roots66 on December 31, 2005 at 11:37 am

Is it known whether the Village East was ever used as a rock venue? In a commentary track on the recently released New York Dolls DVD entitled “All Dolled Up,” photographer Bob Gruen recalls that the first time he ever took a picture of the band was backstage at the Village East Theater. Apparently this was some kind of glam-rock festival with the Dolls, the Magic Tramps, and Teenage Lust on the bill—but is Gruen referring to the same theater as the current movie house?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 15, 2005 at 11:06 am

From dave-bronx’s comments on September 10, sounds like a theater that’s worth keeping an eye out for, as long as the film you want to see is in the main auditorium.

The opening comment on this page (from 2002) says that the movie “The Night They Raided Minsky’s” was filmed here. Was the interior of the Victory Theater on 42nd Street so run-down in 1968 that they couldn’t have filmed in the real-life location of Minsky’s Follies? Or perhaps the owners wouldn’t allow filming.

dave-bronx™ on December 3, 2005 at 10:15 pm

One of the partners in City Cinemas at the time bought out a production company called M-Square Productions, and they held the lease on this theatre and the Minetta Lane Theater, an off-Broadway house over near the Waverly. When we first went in there to look around, the cellar was literally stuffed with everything imaginable that could be used for stage shows – furniture, costumes, every kind of prop you could think of, light fixtures and cables for the stage. It was offered to other production companies but nobody wanted it, so it was trashed.

They had archetectural plans drawn up to have the Minetta Lane Theater converted to a cinema. Another of the partners, in the meantime, hired someone to operate and book (or whatever you have to do to get shows into a stage theater). It was making money, so the conversion was never done.

Somewhere along the way City Cinemas also aquired the little Orpheum at 2 av & St Marks mentioned above, but we (the cinema group) had less to do with that one than we did with the Minetta. I’m emailing a friend to refresh my memory as to whether it was part of the same deal with M-Square.

Since I haven’t been associated with City Cinemas since sometime in the late 20th century (back when they were into movie theatres, not real estate development) I don’t know if they still have any involvment with the Minetta or little Orpheum.

dave-bronx™ on December 3, 2005 at 9:03 pm

Yup – this was the Entermedia… when I moved to NYC in the early 80s the marquee said Entermedia, but I never saw it open when it had that name.

GWaterman on December 3, 2005 at 5:39 pm

I may be wrong — Dave-bronx, maybe you can let me know —– but I believe this is the theatre that in the mid-late 70’s had a brief incarnation as the Entermedia. I worked there for a Dance-umbrella series in the spring of either 78 or 77. It felt as if we were the first production to be there in years.

Harold Warshavsky
Harold Warshavsky on September 22, 2005 at 12:01 pm

Referring to a comment made on 9/10/2005, I believe Once Upon A Mattress played at the Orpheum Theate on 2ND and St. Marks Place before being moved up to a Broadway house. This is based purely on my memory for whatever thats worth.

br91975 on September 10, 2005 at 3:39 am

Prior to the dual-engagement run of ‘The Matrix Reloaded’ at the Village East and the Angelika in the spring of 2003, the main auditorium of the Village East, with new seats then recently installed, was sold in ads in the Village Voice as having stadium seating.

dave-bronx™ on September 9, 2005 at 10:54 pm

Somewhere along the line the place was a burlesque house, though I don’t know under which name, and the infamous Blaze Starr was the headline act. The Woody Allen segment of “New York Stories” was filmed here. Also, once upon a time, a play titled “Once Upon a Mattress” played here. The female lead, a young, unknown actress, Carol Burnett, suddenly became known.

I worked here both before and after the plexing. The decor of the main auditorium is intact. Prior to the renovations, the ceiliing had serious water damage, and a fortune was spent to restore it and the rest of the decorative plasterwork. It was originally a traditional theatre with an orchestra and balcony. The orchestra floor was removed to give height to cinemas 2 and 3 in the basement, making the main theatre look like it has stadium seating. It’s actually the balcony which was extended down to the stage. Behind the ceiling panels of the lower cinemas is the decorative plasterwork of the underside of the balcony. The ceiling panels had to be installed for acoustics, but the original plan was to leave the plasterwork exposed. We had been told by Landmarks that all the decorative plasterwork had to be either restored or entombed, but could not be destroyed. As for the other cinemas in the plex, #4 was build under the storefronts, #5 was built in the vaults under the front sidewalk, #6 was built on the stage floor and #7 is in the fly loft over the stage. Projection, storage and restrooms are in the trap room area under the stage.

I haven’t been in there in years, but after the renovations were complete and the main house had the curtain closed and the chandelier and stage spots lit up it looked spectacular. The theatres in the cellar were plain boxes and I never really liked them, but the two in the stagehouse with exposed brick walls were more interesting than the 4 in the cellar. I think it was a fair trade-off: the restored main auditorium in exchange for small theatres squeezed into other areas of the building. It seems to have kept the place commercially viable. Otherwise, it would have sat empty and decaying until there was nothing left of it, like the Kieths-Flushing.

hardbop on September 9, 2005 at 9:30 am

I just looked at some of the scores the 17 films received from crix on What a joke! It is flotsam & jetsom time until later in the year when we get the good stuff. Each week a new Miramax turkey that has been sitting on the shelf gets released. The reviews are hilarious.

hardbop on September 9, 2005 at 9:24 am

I don’t think there is enough product to go around. The Angelika can barely fill its screens with prestige product. This cinema is showing 11 films this weekend. 17 Films (and documentaries) opened in NYC this week (1 Wed., 2 Thurs. & a mind numbing 14 today). Most of them will disappear in a week or two at most.