New Metro Twin

2626 Broadway,
New York, NY 10025

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Showing 101 - 125 of 142 comments

RobertR
RobertR on December 6, 2004 at 2:27 pm

Embassy 2-3-4 was like a 42nd St grind house. Embassy 1 was slightly better. The only theatre somewhat maintained was the Guild and that went to hell at the end too.

PeterApruzzese
PeterApruzzese on December 6, 2004 at 2:19 pm

Anybody go to the grand re-opening this past weekend? How are the renovations?

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on November 23, 2004 at 1:56 am

They ran those Embassy theaters right into the ground.

longislandmovies
longislandmovies on November 22, 2004 at 11:53 am

Same owners as Embassy theaters is nothing to brag about one of the worst operated theater chains in NYC.

br91975
br91975 on November 22, 2004 at 11:18 am

I can’t foresee the Embassy 2-3-4 reopening as a movie theatre, not with the E-Walk and Empire on 42nd; it’s just not realistic (unless it’s being reconverted – and will be agressively marketed to the public as such – into a single-screen house) to think it could compete with the two theatres on the Deuce and, besides, AMC and Loews will most likely not allow product to double-run in a venue which is run by a competitor and so close by. My guess is the Embassy space will become a performing arts venue of some sort (cabaret, maybe?), retail space, or perhaps a restaurant.

chconnol
chconnol on November 22, 2004 at 10:46 am

Mikeoaklandpark: perhaps he is…somethingis going on there at the Embassy 2,3,4 as there’s a scaffolding directly under the marquee. I noticed it on Friday…

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on November 22, 2004 at 10:43 am

Since the new owner is from the Embassy thaters, why doesn’t he reopen the Embassy 2,3 4 on broadway.

br91975
br91975 on November 22, 2004 at 9:21 am

One word: HOORAY!!!

chconnol
chconnol on November 22, 2004 at 9:10 am

It will open again!! From today’s NY Times:

Landmark Theater Held Over! 6th Big Broadway Run!
By DAVID W. DUNLAP

After closing and reopening and closing again over the last two years, to the accompaniment of rumors that it would be replaced by a Gristede’s, the Metro Theater on upper Broadway is getting ready to debut once more, on Dec. 3, this time as an independent cinema.

With 292 new seats in the upstairs auditorium, 188 new seats downstairs and rolls of new red carpeting that arrived on Friday, the Metro – an exuberant Art Deco landmark between 99th and 100th Streets – is approaching its sixth incarnation in 71 years.

Behind its pink and black terra-cotta facade, adorned by an enormous medallion depicting tragedy and comedy, the Metro has been a first-run movie theater, a pornographic house, an art theater and a part of two national cinema chains. Though divided, its original Deco décor is delectably intact, including vinelike grilles and vase-bearing sylphs in niches flanking the proscenium arch.

Under the name Embassy’s New Metro Twin, it will be a showcase for foreign and independent films, with some first-run features thrown in, beginning next month with the Italian movie “After Midnight” (“Dopo Mezzanotte”) and “The Incredibles.”

The reopening is not only a reprieve for the Upper West Side, which has been hemorrhaging small theaters in recent decades, but a welcome change for Peter H. Elson, a second-generation theater operator who has usually had to close the houses that his father, Norman W. Elson, acquired: the Embassy 72nd Street Twin on Broadway in 1988, the Embassy 1 in Times Square in 1997 and the Guild at Rockefeller Center in 1999.

“I intend to take as many chances on foreign and independent films here as I did at 72nd Street,” Mr. Elson said Friday as he toured the Metro. “Ten years ago, I would have said that I didn’t think this area could support an art theater. But this area has changed and improved and continues to improve.”

Mr. Elson holds a 20-year lease on the theater from its owner, Albert Bialek. He said he had put about $240,000 into the renovation. There will be new sound systems, larger screens and curtains that will ceremoniously open before each show.

“In old movie palaces, the imagination started to work from the moment you opened the door,” Mr. Elson said. “To the extent possible, that’s the way it should be.”

Boak & Paris, the original architects in 1933, infused the building with a sense of fantasy. In designating the exterior as an official landmark in 1989, the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission said that the Metro was “a rare surviving small Art Deco-style neighborhood movie theater” with “one of the finest facades of its type in New York City.”

Only four blocks away, at Broadway and 95th Street, is the Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater, part of the renovated Symphony Space complex. Isaiah Sheffer, the artistic director of Symphony Space, said the reborn Metro would be complementary rather than competitive. He wished Mr. Elson well and even imagines the Thalia and Metro cross-promoting one another’s offerings, a prospect that interests Mr. Elson, too.

“I would say, from Symphony Space’s point of view, that it’s a wonderful thing,” Mr. Sheffer said. “It’s good for the nabe.”

It is also good for the landmarks commission, which has had to field at least 100 anxious calls about the unfounded Gristede’s supermarket rumor, said Diane Jackier, the director of community and government affairs. How the rumor started is unclear, although the Metro’s future was shaky last year and there is a Gristede’s across Broadway.

Despite its uptown location, the theater was originally called the Midtown, a name it kept through the 1970’s, when its adults-only fare included double bills like “Hooker Convention” and “Exchange Student.” In 1982, the theater operator Daniel Talbot took over the lease, renamed it the Metro, and began showing an eclectic mix of foreign, art and revival films. Cineplex Odeon took over in 1987, followed by Clearview Cinemas.

At the time of the landmark designation, the commission noted that in 1934 there were 18 cinemas on Broadway from 59th to 110th Streets.

“Only 4 of the 18 are still standing and open to the public as movie theaters,” the commission said in 1989. These were the Regency at 67th Street, the Metro at 99th, the Columbia at 103rd Street and the Olympia at 107th Street.

Today, only the Metro survives.

“Even though we don’t regulate use,” said Robert B. Tierney, the current commission chairman, “I am delighted that the Metro will continue to operate as one of the great landmark movie houses on the Upper West Side.”

GregMims
GregMims on November 16, 2004 at 5:36 pm

The Metro is slated to reopen by November 25, so says a renovation supervisor at the theater. It is no longer part of Clearview Cinemas.

Greg Mims

PeterApruzzese
PeterApruzzese on October 12, 2004 at 12:28 am

RobertR wrote:

What about a floating screen that would be in front of the proscenium? It could still be draped, somewhat like how the Cinerama conversions were. Say is the downstairs in The Metro big enough for Cinerama?

Sure, that could work. It would probably be very expensive to make it not look out of place, but it could work. But some valuable seating capacity would probably be lost. In fact, the limited seating of the whole theatre (fewer than 500 between both houses) is the chief difficulty with the location right now (aside from the dreadful condition) in terms of being able to meet projected operating expenses.

No, the auditorium is far too small for a Cinerama screen installation.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on October 12, 2004 at 12:19 am

There were only a few films made in the Cinerama process, not enough to justify the expense of a new installation.

RobertR
RobertR on October 11, 2004 at 11:57 pm

What about a floating screen that would be in front of the proscenium? It could still be draped, somewhat like how the Cinerama conversions were. Say is the downstairs in The Metro big enough for Cinerama?

PaulLD1
PaulLD1 on October 9, 2004 at 9:13 am

I remember going to the Metro to see the Laurel & Hardy festival. I entered the theatre and was so impressed by the large auditorium and beautiful decor, I had to catch my breath. The place was packed with an appreciative audience, adding to the enjoyment further. Then about a year and a half later, I had a nightmare that the Metro was about to twin! That morning, I took the LIRR to Manhattan, and went to the Metro to see the theatre more than the show (from the start, I have hated the twinning of movie theatres originally built as single-screens, a hate that began with the Washington Theatre in New Jersey). Luckilly, a Humphrey Bogart double-feature was showing, so
I was able to enjoy the show at the now half-filled theatre. A few months later however, my nightmare came true…..

br91975
br91975 on September 30, 2004 at 7:39 pm

David Freeland’s article in last week’s NY Press noted that “a soon-to-be-named ‘celebrity operator’ has been hired to run the (Metro) and scout out cutting-edge films from around the world”. Is Peter Elson the ‘celebrity operator’ Albert Bialek makes reference to and what exactly qualifies Peter Elson as a ‘celebrity booker’, at least one worthy of note? The films shown in his previous properties – the various Embassy theatres in Times Square, the Embassy 72nd Street, and the Guild at Rockefeller Plaza – may have been mostly dignified (especially the majority of the bookings at the Embassy 72nd Street and the Guild), but I’d hardly classify them as being ‘cutting edge’.

PeterApruzzese
PeterApruzzese on September 30, 2004 at 5:24 pm

As of Monday, Peter Elson was simply acting as a consultant to the landlord Albert Bialiek, I do not believe that Elson is going to be operating the Metro.

Sadly, the place is in terrible shape and needs a lot of renovation, at least $100,000 worth to make it look really good again. Even replacing the seats in the upstairs theatre can’t cure the chief problem up there – lack of legroom. And the downstairs auditorium’s screen unfortunately can’t get much larger – the proscenium was designed for 1.37 Academy ratio films – it was never enlarged when the wide screen boom hit in the 1950s. It doesn’t appear that more than another 4 feet in width can be added as the screen frame is recessed – the projection beam would get cut off if the screen was made much wider.

As for revivals on one screen, anything is possible…

Pete Apruzzese
Director of Film Programming
Big Screen Classics at the Lafayette Theatre

RobertR
RobertR on September 30, 2004 at 5:02 pm

Any chance one screen will be revival>?

bamtino
bamtino on September 30, 2004 at 4:52 pm

The Midtown, designed by the architecture firm of Boak & Paris, opened in 1933. From 1948 through April 1972, it was part of the Brandt circuit, featuring sub-run foreign and independent fare starting in the 1950s. It exhibited films such as Belle de Jour, Shame (and just about every other Bergman movie), Breathless, Hiroshima Mon Amour, Repulsion, L’Avventura, Straw Dogs, and Gimme Shelter, though never in exclusive engagements. After Brandt’s management, it operated as an adult film venue.
In 1982, its operation was taken over by Dan Talbot’s New York Cinemas and it was twinned. Renamed the Metro, it opened for business as an exhibitor of repertory art house fare on October 1, 1982. The facility’s HVAC system was overhauled and new bathrooms were installed in 1986.
On July 17, 1987, management of the theatre was assumed by Cineplex Odeon. Clearview Cinemas operated the theatre from December 1998 through August 26, 2004.
It is expected to be re-opened, with new seats and screens and under the management of Peter Elson, in November 2004.
The theatre’s Art Deco facade received landmark designation in 1989.
Regarding some of the other comments about this theatre:
1. If one discounts for occassional short-term closings which generally mark the history of old cinemas, the Metro is the 2nd-longest operating movie theatre in Manhattan, exceeded in age only by the New Coliseum, which opened 13 years earlier. I am excluding Radio City which, though it opened at the end of 1932, is not primarily a film exhibitor.
2. Regarding the Midtown moniker, I think there are two, likely related, explanations. First off, the theatre is located at the “approximate” halfway point on Manhattan’s north-south axis. There are about 120 blocks above, and 120 below, the Metro. Second, one must consider the context of the times in which the theatre was built. It began operation less than two years after the George Washington Bridge opened to traffic on 10/25/1931. The location of the Loew’s 175th Street theatre, opened in 1930, is evidence of the belief of the time that the GWB would transform upper Manhattan and, probably, result in the neighborhood in which the Metro is located becoming known and thought of as “Midtown.”

jacksmom
jacksmom on September 22, 2004 at 8:08 pm

So I called the Landmarks Commission, feisty Upper West Sider that I am, and the recording states that the theater IS being refurbished and WILL remain a theater! This is terrific news, although I’ll miss those $6 prices from the terrible seats!

PeterApruzzese
PeterApruzzese on September 22, 2004 at 11:18 am

I think I know what’s in the works for the Metro and it’s future is looking brighter than ever.

Pete Apruzzese
Director of Film Programming
Big Screen Classics at the Lafayette Theatre

Movieplace
Movieplace on September 22, 2004 at 10:44 am

I have heard from reliable neighborhood sources that the Metro was to become a temporary home for the Gristides store across the street while the new high rise was being built. The “twinning” would be undone and once the new store could open it would be restored as a theater. Unfortunatly only the exterior has been landmarked. The interior would be a simple restoration. If the Rapp & Rapp’s State in Jersey City can be restored then so could this.
I had also heard that the property owner has been trying to put this together for quite some time. The property owner is also the landlord of the art deco building just south of the Metro.
Speaking of art deco, the architects of the Metro also designed the beautiful 315 Riverside Drive.

jacksmom
jacksmom on September 21, 2004 at 9:26 pm

Wait! Just got in from a walk and Gristides has posted big signs; a letter from their CEO says that people have been posting scurrilous rumors about their takeover of this theater, and that he has spoken directly with the owner of the Metro Twin, who intends to keep it as a theater. Now, I have no idea if this is true or not — but an interesting development. I thought the front, at least, was landmarked…

Frenchy
Frenchy on September 20, 2004 at 5:16 pm

I think it is so sad that this adorable little theater was cared for better. It’s not too late for them to restore the interior to its former glory but with modern comforts don’t you agree? The neighborhood has to speak out and write letters to the local community board and the landmarks commission. The N.Y.Landmarks Commission’s address is: 1 Center St. 9th floor north, N.Y., N.Y. 10007. Even if they must put commercial businesses inside, cafes, restaurants, bookstores or boutoques are better than a Gristedes supermarket! They can’t even maintain quality standards of cleanliness, appearance or freshness of food under normal supermarket circumstances across the street, why should they be allowed to takeover a charming landmark? This neighborhood is undergoing some great transitions, and is sensitive to what changes are made. A supermarket would make it a cheap, has been. Is thaour future?

c1157
c1157 on September 17, 2004 at 12:25 am

THE EXTERIOR OF THE 1933 METRO THEATER
WAS DESIGNATED A NEW YORK CITY LANDMARK
ON JULY 11, 1989 BY THE
LANDMARKS PRESERVATION COMMISSION.
IT IS STILL IN DANGER
OF BEING DESTROYED!!!!
CALL THE LANDMARKS PRESERVATION COMMISSION
AT (212) 669-7923
TELL THEM OF THE THEATER’S CLOSING,
THE PLAN TO TURN IT INTO A GRISTEDES,
AND URGE THEM TO LANDMARK THE INTERIOR
BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!
SAVE AN HISTORIC ART DECO THEATER AND
SAVE THE QUALITY OF YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD!
ALSO CONTACT:
GRISTEDES CORPORATE OFFICE: (212) 956-5770
LOCAL COMMUNITY BOARD 7: (212) 603-3080