City Cinemas Village East

181 Second Avenue,
New York, NY 10003

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Showing 76 - 100 of 104 comments

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.

BobT on August 6, 2005 at 8:20 am

Another big beautiful theatre cut up into a hodgepodge of small screens. Walk in the front door and you need a tour guide, arrows pointing up, arrows pointing down, and straight ahead. You need a sherpa to find some screens. In one screen upstairs, the entrance door is up front next to the screen so anyone entering or exiting during a show comes in facing the audience and the hall light illuminates the view. Some of the films I’ve seen there were “Ed Wood” and “Boogie Nights”.

br91975 on August 6, 2005 at 6:30 am

Reading/City Cinemas is again experimenting with double-running art house films at the Angelika and the Village East, with films opening first at the Angelika and later adding a run at the Village East, this time with ‘9 Songs’ and ‘March of the Penguins’. This type of booking arrangement was last done during a short time in the fall of ‘03; will it be temporary again or is this now a long-term change? Time, I suppose, will tell…

br91975 on April 1, 2005 at 11:38 am

I remember the Village East and the Loews at 3rd and 11th opening around the same time, too, hardbop – if memory serves, I think within, at the most, three months of one another.

hardbop on April 1, 2005 at 11:30 am

I could have sworn the Village East opened before the Angelika. The first film I caught at the Angelika was “Hidden Agenda” so that must have been 1990 and do remember reading about the delays in the Angelika’s opening. I faintly remember it having something to do with plumbing problems, but I later learned there was a big dispute between UA & Angelika’s original owner Joe Saleh (sic).

I always thought the Village East and that Loew’s East Village ‘plex on Third Avenue opened about the same time and were around before the Angelika opened. I guess my memory is playing tricks on me.

br91975 on April 1, 2005 at 11:23 am

The Angelika (after several delays and false starts) opened in the fall of ‘89, the Village East sometime between the spring and fall of '91.

hardbop on April 1, 2005 at 10:17 am

I think this theatre is a bit of a pit. When I attend I always end up in one of the smaller, non-descript theatres in the basement or the second floor and never get to see films in the “main” auditorium, which is nice room, but a weird place to see a movie. I can’t imagine sitting in the orchestra in that big room.

I often have to get up and close the door when the films start and find many of the auditoriums dank.

City Cinemas really dropped the ball because I think they were hoping this theatre would be what the Angelika became. The Village East opened a couple of years before the Angelika, but never had the vibe the Angelika had when the Angelika opened. The Angelika became the premier downtown arthouse, primarly because of the cafe and the location, though City Cinemas is in a funky spot.

From what I understand, the owner of the Angelika was getting divorced and that caused him to sell out to City Cinemas. One nice thing about the Village East is that I know that if I miss a film at the Angelika I’ll get a chance to see it at the Village East before it heads off to videoland.

br91975 on March 30, 2005 at 1:29 pm

Again, time for another info update – the Village East has seven screens (contrary to the info posted within this page’s header), not six.

br91975 on March 30, 2005 at 1:27 pm

In the weekly Angelika Film Center newsletter, the Village East is referred to as the Angelika’s ‘sister theater’.

br91975 on February 22, 2005 at 8:32 am

The Village East, at best, seems to be hanging on. Along with their usual handful of Angelika moveovers (which, since the opening of the Sunshine as an art-house multiplex in December of ‘01, have been 'moving over’ later in their shelf life), they showcase mostly lower-tier studio product (‘Alexander’, ‘Pooh’s Heffalump Movie’, and, this upcoming Friday, the oft-delayed Wes Craven-Kevin Williamson flick, ‘Cursed’), indie vanity projects, and the occasional major-studio flick that doesn’t give off that air of distinctly being a Loews or Regal reject (‘The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou’ being the most recent such example).

Depending on the film, the theatre still draws decent crowds (much as was the case when I saw ‘Zissou’ there last month), but it’s definitely lost some luster (if ‘luster’ is the appropriate term to use) over the last 5-7 years. Still, as noted above, it seems to be holding its own and I can’t imagine that and/or its mode of operation changing much in the foreseeable future.

dave-bronx™ on February 22, 2005 at 7:13 am

That’s surprising – I thought the “haven’t got a clue” executives at City Cinemas would have turned this place into a sh—house like the others.

RobertR on February 22, 2005 at 5:08 am

I saw a film here last summer and the theatre was still very clean and well maintained. That was a few months ago and things can change in a short time.

dave-bronx™ on February 22, 2005 at 12:56 am

What kind of condition is the Village East in these days? Have they let it go to hell in a handbasket like their other ones? They better make it last – they’re stuck in a 99 year lease there – 13 down – only 86 to go…