Plaza Theatre

42 East 58th Street,
New York, NY 10022

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Showing 126 - 150 of 152 comments

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on April 24, 2005 at 3:22 pm

Charles, what do the pictures in that link have to do with the Plaza on 58th Street???

hardbop
hardbop on April 20, 2005 at 3:52 pm

One other nice touch I liked about the Plaza and some other theatres was the reception area in the basement. I remember the Biograph on 57th Street and the Gramercy on 23rd Street had these type of rooms as well.

br91975
br91975 on April 20, 2005 at 2:43 pm

The Plaza went under pretty quietly. That was Cineplex Odeon’s modus operandi when it came to closing its theatres – suddenly and without any advance press or notice. What that policy failed to take into account was the special attachment New Yorkers tend to have towards their favorite moviegoing haunts.

hardbop
hardbop on April 20, 2005 at 1:37 pm

I can’t remember where I saw “Flirting:"it was "Spanking” that I caught at the Plaza. My bad. In fact, “Spanking” may have been the last film I caught at the Plaza. That was back in ‘94.

I don’t remember any kind of hullabaloo when the Plaza closed. It was done very quietly. I never went to the theatre when it ran that “New York Experience” type of show nor have I been to the restaurant that is there now.

br91975
br91975 on April 19, 2005 at 7:49 pm

‘Spanking the Monkey’ was actually David O. Russell’s first film, hardbop. The Plaza, meanwhile, closed in January of ‘96 with 'Grumpier Old Men’, while ‘Flirting with Disaster’ opened in March of that year; it was also the final film booked into the 68th Street Playhouse – perhaps that’s where you saw it?

hardbop
hardbop on April 19, 2005 at 1:32 pm

This is the one theatre that I wish had been saved of the theatres I patronized since I moved to NYC (‘82). What a beauty. It would have made for a great revival house.

hardbop
hardbop on April 1, 2005 at 4:45 pm

I too miss this cinema. What I most remember about it was its dark wood. I can never remember it having a clear identity like its neighbor, for example, the Paris Cinema. Like Jamal, I remember seeing “Straight Out of Brooklyn” here when it opened. I also remember seeing “Flirting With Disaster,” David O. Russell’s first film.

Also there was a lot of confusion between the Plaza Theatre and Cinema 1 I believe it was called, which was actually located in the Plaza Hotel.

iemola1
iemola1 on February 19, 2005 at 1:16 pm

I remember very clearly seeing RAN at Cinema I when it opened. I took frineds and family back a few times to see it again and again (This was, of course, in the days before vcr’s). Perhaps they shared the run, I don’t recall now.

BoxOfficeBill
BoxOfficeBill on December 2, 2004 at 10:41 pm

Among other memorable films mentioned above (except for “Hiroshima mon amour” and “The 400 Blows,” which opened at the Fine Arts down the block), I remember at the Plaza “Witness for the Prosecution” (day-dating at the Victoria), “The Leopard,” and Kurosawa’s “Ran,” from which I exited the first row of the raised section in a power-locked trance. Yum.

Astyanax
Astyanax on November 24, 2004 at 7:18 pm

A true jewel box and its closure has been a major loss. A miniature movie palace that like its bigger cousins transported you into the movie world, shutting out the outside. The walnut paneling made it feel like a private club. Under the Rugoff stewardship there was some updating, particularly the installation of state of the art sterophonic sound when Gimme Shelter (a Cinema 5 release)was presented. Somehow, this did not detract from the special ambiance. Seeing both Amarcord & Garden of the Finzi Continis there added to the uniqueness of both films. Before becoming a Rugoff venue, wasn’t the Plaza under the ownership of Ilya Lopert?

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 5, 2004 at 10:48 am

The Plaza had Harry Creighton Ingalls as architect and first opened in September, 1929, according to an item that I found in The New York State Exhibitor of that time.

bbin3d
bbin3d on September 28, 2004 at 4:04 pm

In reading prior comments, I now recall this theatre. At that time I lived with my family in Brooklyn, N.Y. I saw BLACK TIGHTS and I believe NEVER ON SUNDAY here. I really like the Plaza. I remember the stadium seating.

MikeS
MikeS on September 28, 2004 at 2:26 pm

Anyone know what became of Polly, legendary cashier of the late 70’s?(“Somehing’s rotten in Denmark and it isn’t cheese!”)

br91975
br91975 on August 22, 2004 at 12:55 am

The Plaza shut its doors in January of 1996 with ‘Grumpier Old Men’. The last first-run, initial release film I recall being booked into it was ‘Blue Sky’, in October of 1994.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on August 18, 2004 at 4:17 am

The building that the Plaza Theatre was in was built in the late 1800s and originally the stable for the Vanderbilt mansion that occupied the site where Bergdorf-Goodman is today from 1889 to 1926. The blocks between Madison and Lexington were industrial/commercial/utility properties, because Park Avenue at that time was the New York Central right-of-way with railroad tracks on the surface going into the old Grand Central Terminal. Open rail yards occupied the area from 57th St. to the old terminal on 42nd St. from Lexington to Madison Avenues. The ajoining blocks were not desirable property until sometime after 1910, when the new (present) Grand Central Terminal was built, and it’s rail yards and right-of-way was put under ground.

In addition to the Vanderbuilt stable becoming a movie theatre, The main house on Fifth Ave. also had a connection to the movie theatres. Before the above-mentioned Vanderbilt mansion was demolished in 1926, Marcus Loew bought and and disassembled the Vanderbilt’s mosaic Moorish Smoking Room and had it reassembled as the Ladies Lounge in the Loew’s Midland Theatre in Kansas City, and it is still there today. The chandelier from the same room was installed in the lobby of the Loew’s State Theatre in Syracuse.

fornasetti
fornasetti on August 18, 2004 at 12:20 am

When I worked for Cinema 5 in the late 70’s I would sometimes usher at the Plaza. While it was not a comfortable theatre, it had beautiful architecture including a gorgeous wood panelled lobby you would enter descending down a staircase from the front lobby.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on July 26, 2004 at 2:46 pm

Does this theater appear in “Annie Hall”? There’s a scene where Diane Keaton meets her date in front of the Plaza Theater. It’s supposed to be some suburban theater in Wisconsin or somewhere, but I always thought it was filmed at the Plaza in New York. I don’t remember what the theater looked like now, and I had only been there once, for Fellini’s “Amarcord”.

Mark1
Mark1 on July 26, 2004 at 2:16 pm

What a beautiful theatre. And it was on the south side of 58th St. It hosted the first run in NY of such films as Never on Sunday, Hiroshima Mon Amour, the 400 Blows, Black Orchid, Black Orpheus, Black Tights, and other foreign language or art films. The venue changed, and in the early 90’s had such fare as a Shirley MacLaine/Teri Garr film with the word “Light” in the title. Around 1960, Otto Preminger appeared there in person one Saturday morning to talk about his by then several year old film Saint Joan. He discussed it and answered questions from the students and film buffs present, then showed the movie (or vice versa, perhaps).

joemasher
joemasher on April 4, 2004 at 4:59 pm

The Plaza is now an excellent restaurant called TAO.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 4, 2004 at 12:44 pm

The address in the introduction is incorrect. The Plaza was on the south side of East 58th Street, between Madison & Park Avenues. The exact address was 42 East 58th Street.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on March 13, 2004 at 11:49 am

The Plaza was one of New York’s most architecturally unique and magnificent art houses! Its demise will long be lamented by film buffs. I do not live in New York but would often go there to see films when in the city. The wood panels and moldings made it seem like you were in an English country church. Just walking into this place made you happy. It had true class. In the 1960s a revival series of Chaplin’s great feature films, many unseen in decades, played here and this is where I went to see CITY LIGHTS for the first time. De Sica’s GARDEN OF THE FINZI-CONTINIS is also a special memory from the Plaza. There was a delightful waiting area downstairs where you could relax before the film began. It hurts to know that this treasure is gone.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 22, 2004 at 12:43 pm

The Plaza first opened in 1929 and replaced another and larger Plaza Theatre on Madison Avenue & 59th Street that was demolished for an office building. Both Plazas catered to the affluent residents of neighboring Fifth and Park Avenues, and restricted their movie programs to the cream of the crop, though several weeks after they’d finished their circuit runs. Both Plazas were a departure for pioneer exhibitor Leo Brecher, who owned other theatres but all in Harlem, including the 125th Street Apollo. Brecher’s success with the second Plaza encouraged him to build two more small theatres in Manhattan’s 60s, the 68th Street Playhouse on Third Avenue and the Studio on Broadway near what’s now Lincoln Center. When Leo Brecher died, the Plaza was sold to Rugoff Theatres, but his other theatres landed elsewhere…The decor of the second Plaza Theatre was English Tudor. The auditorium had a beamed ceiling, with dark wood side walls. The latter were eventually covered with pleated draperies to provide a more “modern” look.

SethLewis
SethLewis on February 21, 2004 at 2:43 am

The Plaza was always a Rugoff/Cinema 5 theatre from my consciousness in the mid 60s until it ended up with Cineplex Odeon in the 80s…a great great house with its older small town trimmings in the lobby…saw a wide range of pictures there in first and second run including a Charlie Chaplin retrospective in the 60s, Alfredo Alfredo, The Garden of the Finzi Contini, Viva Maria, Round Midnight, Bird, The Music Box, The Cook, The Thief His Wife and Her Lover the first half at least until the film broke…In the 80s Diva ran here for nearly a year and Branagh’s Henry V was here for a 5 – 6 month run

RobertR
RobertR on February 20, 2004 at 5:21 pm

I’m just thinking Walter Reade may have also had The Plaza at one time?????

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 20, 2004 at 2:54 pm

The Plaza was at 42 East 58th Street, between Madison & Park Avenues. It was a “classy” late-run movie house until the 1950s, when switched to first-run foreign films and eventually American mainstream releases. The auditorium was in the stadium style, with a raised section of seats starting about halfway back from the screen. The first row of that raised section had the best seats in the house because of the unobstructed view.