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About the rooftop at the New Amsterdam, I read somewhere that there are no viable entrances and exits that would comply with the current fire codes. There’s one or two small elevators that wouldn’t be able to handle the audiences, so Disney is not really able to use the space.
As to the Cine 42, where I spent many happily intoxicated hours watching some wild triple bills, I too wonder what is up there. Although I was a frequent patron here, it was my 2nd least favorite grindhouse (the Anco was worse); the seats were molded plastic without any cushions or padding, which I guess cut down on vandalism. As it was, my friend Anthony and I used to joke that it seemed Rondo Hatton (or his spawn) was always in the audience!
The best 70mm prints I’ve seen were at the Virginia Theater in Champaign, Illinois, during the Roger Ebert Overlooked Film Festival…crystal clear and amazingly detailed viewings of Patton and Lawrence of Arabia. Both truly stunning.
The first time I saw Gone With the Wind was here in the late 70s/early 80s, with a wretched 70mm print that cropped the image at the top and bottom and seemed to be terrbily out of focus, even after changing my seat several times and complaining to the manager (who stated that was because of the curved screen!) I couldn’t believe that this was the number one box office attraction of all time. I was really disappointed, until I saw it again years later in the proper ratio and clarity. Of course it’s magnificent.
I’d like to see a longer list of recent comments, because if you miss a comment, it’s gone unless you go to that theater’s page, but unless you have already commented about that house, you’d never know a comment was made.
Good movie with wonderful Sandy Dennis, but maybe wrong for the Music Hall.
Long and narrow, but if the projector light is bright enough it’s OK for a move-over from the Fantasy or for a new B-pictue.
I’m a little dizzy reading all this.
No porn at the New Amsterdam. Thank God!
Some really heartfelt writing here. Thanks, guys.
Although it may have shown a soft-core adult movie from time to time (when porn flirted with mainstream acceptance) the Lyric was never a porno house.
I saw the original Rocky here at a 2:00am showing, with the usher crying, Don’t you know you won’t be out until after 4am? I guess he wanted to go home a little earlier. We smoked some weed, right in our seats, and had a great time.
I also saw The Elephant Man here…the movie took pains to carefully show the sight of him bit by bit. Well, by the time he was fully revealed we were sort of prepared for it, and we watched in quiet amazement. However, some ladies had arrived late and hadn’t been prepared, so when he came on screen again they started shouting and carrying on at the top of their voices, much to the annoyance of the upper eastside types that otherwise filled the theater. I had to laugh because I felt like I was across town on 42nd Street. Those Deuce audiences always expressed their opinions loud and clear, unlike their staid eastside counterparts!
It was here on 42nd Street between 6th and 7th Avenues, where in the late 1970’s my girlfriend and I saw our first and only live sex show. Oh, brother.
Good article, too.
>>All that’s left is the front facade. a shame
posted by D on Jul 25, 2004 at 6:53pm
The entire theater was restored: Walls, balconies, murals, proscenium arch; and is now used as the lobby of the new AMC Empire 25.
I agree about the eclectic billing here. Once in the early 1980’s the second or third feature was Hitchcock’s Psycho from 20 years earlier. At a rock-bottom evening price of 85 cents, who could resist going in. It was the first time I’d seen Psycho on the big screen, and what a setting! I think half of Norman Bate’s family was in the audience. We all go a little mad sometimes, no doubt.
There’s nice clear film of this theater’s adult film marquee in that Travel Channel doumentary.
This was my least favorite of the 42nd Street line-up, and I was not sorry to see it close. It stunk to high heaven and because of its late run bookings and rock bottom prices it seemed to attract an even lower class of patrons than the other houses, if that’s possible! When I was here there was no balcony, only a raised rear mezzanine, like at the new Ziegfeld. But that’s where the similarity ended.
C'mon, Warren. He only wants some major films that played here, and you could probably give him a short list off the top of your head. Help a brother out!
BruceC, the New Amsterdam, Harris and Anco were not under the Brandt banner; I don’t know who ran those three. But Brandt had the Victory, Lyric, Times Square, Apollo, Selwyn, Liberty and Empire.
Jerry, I was there from about 1973 until the bitter end…at the Movieplex (in the old Roxy Burlesque site.) I would come up on the 7th Avenue exit, next to the newstand (which is still there). As my eyes swept the street the first marquees I’d see would be the Rialto and Victory, then the Lyric, and then I’d finish my initial sweep looking straight ahead at the New Amsterdam. Damn!
This is an edited repost of something I recently addded to the New Amsterdam page:
It was a thrill to come up out of the subway on Wednesday (and later Friday) mornings, make the U-turn onto 42nd Street, and see all those wonderful marquees with their breathless descriptions of the new double and triple bills awaiting inside. I loved seeing 9:00am movies at rock-bottom prices instead of going to college classes!
It’s strange to see one single wall standing on a big vacant lot. Check it out while you can!
My grandmother and great-grandmother lived at 2525 Church Avenue until the early 1970s. I think this was the first movie theater I ever went to, beginning a life-long love affair. We saw Jason and the Argonauts, circa 1963. I also saw The Greatest Story Ever Told, and Mary Poppins. As I recall we sat in the balcony.
It was a mess really only after it closed, with a leaking roof that no one repaired for years. It was my favorite place to see double features, and even in those days there was a remarkable amount of detail still existing. Of course it’s gorgeous now, but then it was a pretty decent grind house. It was a thrill to come up out of the subway on Wednesday (and later Friday) mornings, make the U-turn onto 42nd Street, and see all those wonderful marquees with their breathless descriptions of the double and triple bills awaiting inside. I loved seeing 9:00am movies at rock-bottom prices instead of going to college classes!
I saw Freaks there about 1970 when I was a young teenager. My girlfriend and I came in more than half-way through the film, and the movie freaked us out so much (One of us, one of us…) that we fled at intermission. It was years later that I finally had the nerve to watch it again, and it was as distrubing as I remembered it. A weird little theater perfect for such a weird little movie.
>>Its auditorium was in the very rear of its block, preceded by a group of vestibules containing stairways, restrooms, and one of the first theatre escalators that ran through a former carpet store, which fronted on Washington Street. The theatre held 2500 people in an orchestra, two balconies, and fourteen brass-railed boxes…
That’s just the way I remember it from the mid-1980’s!