Showing 126 - 150 of 3,319 comments found
Good question. A cursory review of NYC records doesn’t reveal much. The oldest viewable document online is a temporary C of O issued in October of 1964, not too long after the building was converted into a cinema. A list of prior actions on the property show a variety of building notices that reach all the way back to some “unsafe building” notices in 1905 and 1909. There’s another notice dated in 1915 and then activity picks up once again in the late 1920’s and throughout the following decades. But nothing prior to the 1964 C of O’s is viewable, so its impossible to know what those documents might reveal.
Assuming the comments near the “top” of this listing are correct that the cinema was previously a turn-of-the-century firehouse, it’s interesting that it would have been labeled as unsafe as early as 1905! Of course, one must keep in mind that the NYC DOB records from that period are very sketchy, and it is not uncommon to find documents filed under the wrong property binder.
That’s along the line I was thinking, CSWalczak. I just wonder, with movies now being stored as digital files, rectification might be something that could be virtually replicated. Of course, there are probably a very select number of screens in the world that would require such work to be done – no matter how easily completed the manipulation of data would be. Apart from the three extant Cinerama facilities, are there any deeply curved screens left on the planet?
So, Ultra-Panavision, meaning a rectified image for the curvature of the screen?
Ugh! That is awful! And with the summer tourist season coming up? I always hoped to get back up there and actually catch a flick. As long as it’s still standing, I suppose there is hope.
That’s really stretching my memory muscles more than they can flex… But I would have to say that there probably was a VHS release after the theatrical runs were completed back in the mid ‘80’s. I saw very good prints of “Rear Window,” “The Man Who Knew Too Much” and “Vertigo” in theaters at the time, and I also caught cable TV broadcasts of “Rope” and “The Trouble with Harry” shortly thereafter. I recall that they looked to be in very good shape.
The restoration job on “Vertigo,” of course, was a revelation.
Most of my knowledge comes from nearly 8 years trolling this site and doing research for some of the theaters I added here. I actually did add the listing for the Eros 2, another of Chelly Wilson’s porn houses that later became known as the Venus. I don’t recall ever seeing a mention of a Denise at the Gaiety while I was looking at old articles to dig up info on the Eros 2, but that research was completed a few years back, so I might have run across something and just forgot it!
I never frequented any porn houses (gay or otherwise), but I was a steady patron of the big theaters along Broadway and the grind houses on 42nd Street for a number of years in the late ‘70’s into the early '80’s, and have always held a fascination for the area as it was in those days.
Anyway, all of Chelly’s theaters are listed on CT and any thing of note that I might have learned would surely be posted on those pages:
This theater should be listed as “demolished.” The building that contained both the Garrick Cinema and the Cafe Au Go Go (as well as the old residence hotel on the corner of Thompson) were demolished to make way for a new mid-rise apartment building with a Capital One Bank branch at ground level. The street view above is pointed towards the wrong corner of Bleecker and Thompson Streets. Swing it around 180 degrees to the left to view the current state of the theater’s former location.
Sharp eye, bigjoe59! Yes, that ad belongs to the Cinema Village annex that was in the former Bijou Theatre, located several blocks away on Third Avenue between East 12th and 13th Streets.
A fair point, bigjoe59. It should read that the theater was demolished after the roadshow engagement of “2001: A Space Oddyssey” was moved over to the Warner in September of 1968.
Bigjoe59… there were five films in that copyright entanglement with the Hitchcock Estate: “Rope,” “Rear Window,” “The Man Who Knew Too Much” (1956 version), “The Trouble With Harry,” and “Vertigo.” Quite a significant collection of the Master’s work that was unavailable for as long as 36 years (in the case of the 1948 “Rope”) until 1984, when Universal finally acquired the rights. I remember a lot of ballyhoo surrounding the resurfacing of these films at the time.
For some reason, the street view is off by a block to the east. The theatre was located near the next corner to the right, adjacent to the Radio Shack.
Hey RobertR… You posted a photo for this theater, but the image is actually of the Trans-Lux 49th Street, which later became the Grand Pussycat Cinema porn-house in the ‘70’s.
This is a pic for the Trans-Lux 49th Street just a few blocks away on the west side of Broadway.
Ratkat… If you are still following this page, you can upload your photos from the “Photos” tab near the top of this page. You simply need to have them saved on your computer, then you can use the “Add New Photo” function to browse your hard drive for the photo files and upload them. I hope you take advantage of that feature and share your images with us!
I’ll give you this much… that it is certainly not a mere unadorned box, like most theaters built after it (including its one-time rival, the Loew’s Astor Plaza). Over the years, I have come to better appreciate the theater’s appointments, and did not necessarily intend to denigrate it’s architectural merits – which are not particularly to my own liking. I suppose I’m not enough of a modernist enthusiast to have much of an informed opinion, but it doesn’t seem to me that the Ziegfeld’s design and decorative motifs will make the basis of a strong landmark case. I believe that its significance and worthiness of preservation go beyond the mere brick and mortar.
And, as usual, Al brings up a good point regarding how long Cablevision has been looking to bail on the theater chain. It may well be several years before any deal is completed. And what of the 15 year term remaining on the lease? I suppose a lease could be bought out, if it came right down to it.
I would probably stop well short of calling the Ziegfeld a palace (perhaps, at best, an ersatz palace), but that doesn’t mean I don’t support a full court press to try and save it from closure. Pale as it may compare to the legion of true palaces that have been pounded to dust just around the corner along Broadway and Seventh Avenue, it does stand alone, sadly, as the sole surviving single screen premiere house in New York City (like LuisV, I discount the art-house Paris, too). If it were to be proposed for landmark status, I’m not so sure anyone would be able to rest its case purely on its architectural merits.
That great Post fact-checking apparatus at work… 3000 seats?
Anyway, does anyone think a conversion to IMAX is realistic? The place is configured all wrong for IMAX. Seems way too long and narrow, neverming that there’s no significant rake to the majority of the seating. Unless a sympathetic benefactor picks up the pieces of Clearview, this doesn’t bode well at all. I would also fear for the fates of the “art-house” locations along the chain, such as the Roslyn and Manhasset Theatres.
I posted 2 images I snapped from my copy of the NY Times from February 12, 2012. They are images that accompanied the article I referenced in my last post.
Typo… this is actually from April 10th.
Updated photos from several different days in April have just been posted, showing dismantling of original Post Avenue facade and framing for new structure going up.
And that would mean an average ticket price of $10.44 in 2012 grosses. Not as far off the current price in NYC for a standard (non-IMAX, non 3-D) movie ticket, at least at first blush, as one might have thought. But, if there were still a movie and stageshow policy at a theater like the Music Hall today, I’m sure a considerable premium would be charged!
Hey Guarina, the building lot for the theater that I researched on the Department of Buildings' website includes both the entrance and row of stores on W. 181st Street as well as the auditorium on Audubon Avenue.
Another tidbit from that research evidences that there was a fire that started in one of the adjoining storefronts in 1993, which caused damage to most if not all the stores in the row. One filed complaint notes damage to “seven stores,” in the cellar, first and second floors including “badly charred” floor joists.
Bigjoe59… A digital version of “Titanic” is being shown at the 34th Street. Press a button and you could play an 8 hour film straight through, if you have the memory capacity in the hard drive. With actual film, there is a limit to the amount of footage that can be held in the platter (which is massive and weighs a ton, by the way). An intermission was placed at a reasonable point in the film to allow the changeover at the Lincoln Square IMAX.
I should amend that last comment to read that nothing taller could be built on the Ziegfeld’s site UNLESS the prospective developer were to apply with the Department of Buildings for a variance of some sort. Such variances and exceptions have been known to occur, since all such decisions are driven by matters of money and revenue – particularly in mid-town Manhattan!