United Palace of Cultural Arts

4140 Broadway,
New York, NY 10033

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Ed Solero
Ed Solero on November 1, 2007 at 7:21 pm

I was up around the theatre a couple of weeks ago and snapped a number of exterior photos. Probably TOO many, but here goes anyhow:

Broadway & 175th
Facade corner detail
Main facade
Marquee detail
Smile as you pass
Box office
Facade section
Basketweave detail
Marquee panel
Wadsworth & 175th
Wadsworth facade
Upper facade detail
Wadsworth side wall
Wadsworth & 176th
Stage House Tower
Stage House upper facade detail
Broadway & 176th
Building profile looking south on B'way
B'way entrance & facade
B'way fire escapes

Exhaustive and exhausting, I know. I basically just took a walk around the building and fired away. Hope it’s of interest to some folks. I didn’t have the time to wait for the doors to open and take an interior walk through – but I think the series of stunning photographs on the United Palace’s website offer a nice sampling of interior views (not that that’ll stop me from photographing the interior myself one day and posting them right here)!

Bway on October 19, 2007 at 1:28 pm

I am pretty impressed with the acts they are attracting.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 19, 2007 at 9:44 am

It is called “The United Palace” in all of the concert ads I’ve seen – which is also the official name for the church used by Rev. Ike’s congregation. They’re making some noise about the venue’s 75th Anniversary on the official website as well as in some radio commercials I’ve been hearing on the local classic rock station. As Alto posted, some big names are being booked into the United Palace – names that might have previously booked the Beacon or WaMu Theatre at MSG (and acts way too big for the smaller Nokia Theatre in Times Square).

Bway on October 19, 2007 at 8:36 am

What do they call the place in it’s use as a concert hall?

Altoblanco on October 16, 2007 at 10:07 am

This venue has become a concert “powerhouse”, attracting big-name rock and pop stars as of late – recent and upcoming music shows scheduled for late 2007 include:
Van Morrison (Oct. 12-14)
The Black Crowes (Oct. 30-31)
Annie Lennox (!!!)(Nov. 3)
Neil Young (Dec. 12-13, 15-16, 18)

Visit Ticketmaster.com for the complete line-up.

World-renowed acts in a dazzling theatre, all worth the trip uptown on the “A” train!

Good luck finding tickets (checking with Ticketmaster online, it appears that the Annie Lennox concert is a “sell-out” (riding on the success of her long-anticipated and recently released CD album “Songs of Mass Destruction”). I am hoping that they add more shows!

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 3, 2007 at 7:15 pm

Forgot to add that the trailer features several shots of the 175th’s old vertical sign lit up in red neon spelling out “El Caribe” from top to bottom. I suppose it might be a CGI composite shot, but it sure looks like the sign was physically installed for the movie. Can anyone verify? The film was shot in the late winter/early spring of 2006.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 3, 2007 at 7:10 pm

The exterior of this theater (and perhaps the interior) is used to portray the fictional nightclub “El Caribe” in the new crime movie “We Own the Night” starring Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Wahlberg and Robert Duvall. Imdb lists the Loew’s Paradise in the Bronx as a location, so maybe that other “wonder theatre” was used for interior shots of the nightclub. Or maybe IMDB is mistaken.

Altoblanco on May 8, 2007 at 4:56 pm

Here is the full text of the article:

“With Indie Rock on 175th St., City’s Reinvention Rolls Uptown” by Jim Dwyer.
New York Times, Late Edition (East Coast), NY: May 2, 2007; p.B1.

In the time it took a traffic light to change, Joshua Sturm and friends explained what they were doing at the corner of 175th Street and Broadway on Monday evening.

Across the street, Modest Mouse, a rock band whose latest album reached No. 1 in March, would be playing a concert in an hour or so.
The Sturm group was part of a steady stream of indie music fans parading from the A train and the No. 1 toward Broadway, as if someone had suddenly declared Black Sneakers Night in Washington Heights.

Mr. Sturm led a little crew of high school classmates to the concert, just as he found his way to music all over the city. ‘'Josh,’‘ said Nathan Kane, one of the friends, ’‘is the scenester.’'

The arrival on 175th Street of scenesters — even those like Josh Sturm, who all but audibly rolled his eyes at the remark — amounts to at least a minor milestone in the annals of unlikely events.

Over the last six weeks, an enormous movie theater in what had been one of the city’s roughest neighborhoods has emerged as a major force in the world of indie music. Drug gangs have long since dropped out of sight; the theater, a gold-ornamented relic of the Depression saved by a rich televangelist, is surging with life; and a theater operator who lost a job in January is again booking concerts, selling T-shirts and serving kegs of beer, one plastic cupful at a time.

Since late March, 10 shows have sold out at the theater, the United Palace, which has 3,293 seats. Its managers say it is the third-largest auditorium in the city after Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall. The next big acts due to perform there are Bjork and Arcade Fire; all the tickets were bought in minutes.

‘'This came absolutely out of nowhere,’‘ said Jasper Veldhuis, 24, having a cigarette on 175th Street before the show. ’‘The concerts I’ve been to are downtown, Midtown.’'

Dave Anderson, 25, said he had a specific memory: ‘'The riots, that’s what I grew up associating Washington Heights with.’'

In fact, if Mr. Anderson had been standing in the same spot in front of the Palace on a summer evening in 1992, he could have seen a mob rolling up the middle of Broadway. They heaved rocks through plate glass windows, turned over Dumpsters and burned them. The occasion was the shooting of a drug dealer by a police officer, at a time when parts of Washington Heights served as a company town for drug traffickers.

That era has passed. Like many of the people standing outside the theater, Elise Smith, 22, knew nothing about the uproar 15 years ago. By force of habit she usually looks to the Lower East Side for music, not because she had any worries about coming uptown. ‘'We hit up Joe’s Pub all the time, a lot of the smaller venues,’‘ she said. ’‘I was excited to see something different up here.’'

Built on a full city block, seven stories high, the theater has been a looming, dizzying presence since it was opened in 1930 by Loews, ‘'designed by Thomas W. Lamb in Byzantine-Romanesque-Indo-Hindu-Sino-Moorish-Persian-Eclectic-Rococo-Deco style,’‘ as David W. Dunlap wrote in ’‘On Broadway: A Journey Uptown Over Time’‘ (Rizzoli International Publications, 1990).

‘'Gold everywhere,’‘ is the way Evan Williams, 23, put it on Monday.

By the 1960s, all the old movie palaces, as expensive to heat and cool as actual palaces, fell on hard times, and the Loews on 175th Street was closed. In 1969, Frederick Eikerenkoetter, a televangelist known as the Rev. Ike, arrived with $600,000 to buy it. Mr. Eikerenkoetter had prolific success in extracting cash from congregations; the theater was used for his sermons on ‘'thinkonomics,’‘ in which the road to salvation led unabashedly into his bank account. (A sample: ’‘The lack of money is the root of all evil.’‘) Today, the theater enjoys tax-exempt status as a religious property. (Madison Square Garden, with no religious pretensions, is also exempt from taxes.)

For the last decade, Latin acts have occasionally used the space. Mr. Eikerenkoetter’s group, the United Christian Evangelistic Association, still owns the Palace but does not present the concerts. They are organized by Andy Feltz, who ran the Beacon Theater for two decades, until Madison Square Garden took it over this year. ‘'I came up here, saw the place and said, 'Holy mackerel,’ ‘’ Mr. Feltz said. ‘'To a lot of New Yorkers, it’s brand new — nobody knew it existed.’'

42ndStreetMemories on May 2, 2007 at 10:13 am

NY Times has a fantastic slide show of Rev Ike’s church.

The article requires a paid subscription but the slide show is free.

Go to:

Altoblanco on April 21, 2007 at 5:57 am

Great food? Hey, this is Manhattan! Yes, there are the many pizzerias and sandwich shops, BUT if you like Dominican or Spanish-style food – you WILL be in heaven! There’s one place next to “No Parking”, but if you go up and down Broadway, you’ll find plenty of restaurants and some bakeries/pastry/coffee shops.

I also want to inform you that the aforementioned bar is an, ahem, “alternative lifestyle” establishment, but don’t let that dissuade you from visiting â€" it is indeed an excellent stop for pre- (or post-) show cocktails. The place is a relaxed meeting spot for socializing and friends (definitely not “cruisy”), the staff and customers are polite and nice (and they do get a “mixed crowd” â€" all races, ethnicities and genders are welcome – mostly men, but also many of their women “friends”), so you will not feel out of sorts. The music is superb – excellent DJs and mixes ranging from retro house to reggaeton (but sadly, no dancing â€" this is strictly a bar-lounge).

If you keep an open mind, you will really enjoy and appreciate its ultra-modern, sleek style and upscale lounge ambience (which is reflected in the pricey drinks, although there is never a cover charge). It just celebrated its first anniversary, and is probably the nicest and cleanest establishment in the area (and one of the few where most staff and customers speak English) – definitely more Chelsea than Washington Heights – but then again, what else would you expect? ;–)

funhouse on April 20, 2007 at 8:21 am

Thanks Alto! Your info rocks! Since it appears we’ll be getting there early and parking in a lot, we might stop at No Parking for a couple pre-show cocktails! I should have asked this before but does anyone know any good eateries? Thanks!!!!!

funhouse on April 20, 2007 at 5:39 am

Thanks everyone for the info. I don’t mind paying a lot for parking this time since it’s a special occasion. Thanks Ed for the google search info – I’ll try it. Warren, I called the theater and they were slightly helpful – they said “there are a few lots around” but didn’t know the names of the lots or prices. Thanks again all!

Altoblanco on April 20, 2007 at 5:38 am

Parking in the area surrounding the theatre can politely be described as “challenging” (under “normal” everyday conditions, day or night, weekday or weekend). During a theatre event, I would expect it to be damn near impossible â€" don’t expect to find any street parking unless you arrive there several hours in advance of the show.

I suggest that you utilize the nearby indoor pay parking garage located on Broadway between 176th & 177th Streets (on the east side of the street) â€" very secure and convenient for theatre patrons. The Washington Heights neighborhood, while not terrible, is not the most hospitable at night, and the nearby Port Authority GWB Bus Station attracts its share of vagrants and miscreants. If you park close by and don’t walk far, you should be OK.

As previously mentioned, it is very convenient to public transport:
NYC Subway: A train to 175th St-Ft. Washington Ave.
MTA Bus lines: M5 to 178th St, M100 to 179th St; Bx3-7-13-15-35-36 to 179th St.
NJ Transit/various bus lines: GWB Bus Station (B’way at 178th-179th St).

By car: accessible via the Geo Washington Bridge, Cross Bronx Expwy, Henry Hudson Pkwy (9A), Harlem River Drive and Broadway/local streets.
Garage: Parking Unlimited Broadway (4162 B’way at 176thâ€"177th St) – tel. 212-568-1001.

I know all of this because I’ve visited [on several occasions] a bar located just one block north of this theatre, nestled between the parking garage entrances – ironically, it is named “No Parking”!

mhvbear on April 19, 2007 at 11:07 pm

Seeing Bjork here as well. Also seeing her shows at Radio City Music Hall and the Apollo Theater. This theater has a few major shows coming up besides the Bjork show.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 19, 2007 at 8:52 pm

Good luck finding parking ANYWHERE in the city! Lots will be expensive, but I’m sure – if you must drive – that you can easily locate a nearby pay lot by doing a google search for “kinney parking”, “icon parking” or “parking lots NYC.”

LuisV on April 19, 2007 at 12:51 pm

If you’re not sure about the neighborhood the solution is very simple. Just park your car on the Upper West Side below 120th? or so and just hop on the nearby subway to get up and back from the theater. Enjoy the show!

funhouse on April 19, 2007 at 10:39 am

Warren – Thanks for the info! Unfortunately since we’re coming a long way we have to drive. Is parking really, really bad? Is the neighborhood unsafe? Just wondering what to expect since we’ve never been there. Thanks again!

funhouse on April 19, 2007 at 9:58 am

We’ll be attending the Bjork concert on May 5. Does anyone know the parking situation at the United Palace Theater? Are there lots nearby? If so, how much is does parking cost for events? Is there street parking that is safe? Is the neighborhood safe? Thanks in advance!!!

Bway on March 18, 2007 at 7:41 am

Luis, you are correct, and the New Amsterdam is the perfect example. It should never have been a movie theater to begin with….but thankfully, since it had been “downgraded” for a time to show movies, even though it has thankfully reverted back to the gem it is today, we can discuss the New Amsterdam….

LuisV on March 18, 2007 at 5:13 am

Bway, thanks the the support and I totally agree that this site is called “Cinema” treasures and not the general “Theater” treasures. Nonetheless, it truly is unfortuante that there is no equivalent site for Legit. I chuckled when you stated that theaters were “downgraded” to present film, but that in fact was the case. It was their only option to survive. The New Amsterdam Theater on 42nd St. is probably the best example of this. An incredibly beautiful, ornate and technically advanced theater built for stage presentations, but forced to show films to adapt to economic realities. As a result, we have the New Amsterdam on this site, but others in the Broadway theater district are not here. Hopefully, we will someday be able to honor these theaters in the same way.

Bway on March 18, 2007 at 3:52 am

Luis, I agree completly, I am intereted in theaters in general. At this time though, the site’s focus is on cinema. Perhaps if the software is ever upgraded, they may consider that who knows, as a subset, but do remember the site is called “Cinema Treasures”….
There are so many worthy, unbelivable legit theaters out there, and I have to say that it’s a shame there’s no place on the web to really discuss them. The ones that were “downgraded” to show cinema at some point found a home here…but many that stayed the course, and putter on as legit houses are unrecognized anywhere.

LuisV on March 17, 2007 at 12:41 pm

My main interest is in the Theaters themselves, whether or not they showed films and so it is more than a little frustrating that many “legit” theaters are omitted from this web site because they did not show films. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is wonderful that we have this site to showcase movie theaters, but I think all theaters (including Legit) should be included, maybe as a separate subset. I think most would agree that it is the architecture that qualifies a theater most as a “Cinema Treasure”. Well, that plus the Cinema part! It would be wonderful if we could honor those Legit Theater Treasures in the same way. These are just as valuable.

dave-bronx™ on March 17, 2007 at 11:56 am

Good point Ed. In the case of the Rivoli, I had forgotten they had changed the name there at the end. The more I think about it there are too many different circumstances to set a consistent etched-in-stone policy regarding names. The software limitations of this site are becoming obvious and I recall one of the owners hinting that there may be an upgrade in the near future. If that’s correct, maybe they can have the search function to search the primary name and the AKA names as well, as you suggested.

Bway on March 17, 2007 at 10:52 am

I always heard they use the most recent name if it is still a theater, cinema or not. There are a few theaters that used to be cinemas, yet now are legit theaters, yet they have the legit theater name listed as the main name.
As for St John the Divine Church, it wouldn’t be listed on the site unless if showed cinema at one time. AFIK, they never showed movies in St John the Divine, so there would be no reason to list it here regardless if they do concerts. The basic criteria that any theater on this site needs to have is that it MUST have shown movies at least briefly for it to be listed. There are PLENTY of worthy theaters or “palaces” that could be listed on the site…but they can’t be because many legit theaters never showed film. A currently legit theater can be listed, so long as it at showed movies at some point….after all this is “Cinema Treasures”, not “Theater Treasures”.