Ziegfeld Theatre

141 W. 54th Street,
New York, NY 10019

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movieguy on January 30, 2016 at 1:01 pm

Part of the venue may still be remaining but I was told by John the manager of the theater late Thursday night that the entire theater space will be completely gutted. Everything removed. So I don’t know what would remain if anything of the theater as we knew it. I’ll personally never step foot in The former Ziegfeld theater again. I predict that this fancy ballroom that they’re destroying a beautiful theater for, will not last very long and end up closing

movieguy on January 30, 2016 at 12:59 pm

Yes it is true if the number of people came for closing day came on a more consistent basis over the years for opening weekend then the second weekend of the film the theater could have still been open today and for the future. But it wasn’t being used to its full potential just showing regular first-run films. It was leased by Cablevision and for the most part special 70 mm screenings we’re not done and they could have been done for the public. More so 35mm screenings of classic movies like they did about 10 years ago. They had several times during the year where they would show classic films. For example in January February September When regular Hollywood offerings were not good . It really could’ve also been rented out over the years by people like Tarantino Martin Scorsese Spike Lee to show their films publicly or privately.

movieguy on January 30, 2016 at 12:50 pm

I did not know this. Yes what a tragedy that someone did NOT come along and provided a space to put her wonderful priceless collection. A Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese certainly could have provided the funds for this. Hell George Lucas is worth what over $1 billion !! Does make you think that these people are very self-centered and selfish.

movieguy on January 30, 2016 at 12:25 pm

Absolutely Mike I agree 100% hundred percent. It is a real tragedy that nobody stepped up to buy this great theater philanthropist or film director like Martin Scorsese Christopher Nolan spike Lee Mr. Tarantino. This was the answer to keeping it open for many more years showing 35mm film 70 mm film digitally projected movies films from up-and-coming directors. Having film premieres film classes. That’s what singles screen theaters across the country should be used for, if they are having finically trouble just showing regular first run films.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on January 30, 2016 at 12:20 pm

Or how philanthropist and entrepreneur Paul Allen bought and restored the Seattle Cinerama; that’s a treasured venue with a strong and vibrant program schedule, mixing first-run, classics and film festivals.

movieguy on January 30, 2016 at 11:19 am

I am so surprised that this was not done actually. Even in Rockland County New York back in 2000 after a huge multiplex put 3chain theaters out of business along with to downtown theaters in Pearl River New York. The beautiful Lafayette theater in Suffern New York circa 1924. Was bought by the head of metropolitan life. As it was slated to become a multiplex or just closed down. Today it remains a single screen theater with 950 seats screening first run movies with classic movies in the spring and fall along with special events. So if it could happen in Rockland County New York To a theater that may not be nearly as well-known as the Zigfeld Which has more seats along with 35mm and 70 mm capabilities and many more people who could take advantage of it being located in New York City rather than a suburb

movieguy on January 30, 2016 at 11:14 am

Thank you Howard for posting the excellent article. My question is with people like spike Lee and Martin Scorsese along with Christopher Nolan and Mr Tartino all who love 35mm and 70 mm film and the Zigfeld Why didn’t anyone of these people step up to the plate and actually by the theater. Then they could use it to screen 35mm and 70 mm to the public Many films they could get from their own collections and the studios Also still use it as a place to have movie premieres. Have other up-and-coming directors screen there movies there as they had full digital capability. Also teach classes there on film and have people sit in the beautiful theater. Something like this would’ve kept the theater around. I really question why these very wealthy people couldn’t of gotten together as a group and bought the theater if it was too much for any one person to afford or manage by themselves . There are so many wealthy people involved in the arts that could have saved this theater from being gutted and turn it into something that would really be unique and set it apart from just being a first run theater which is great but hard to do with the single screen and competition from inferior multiplexes

HowardBHaas on January 30, 2016 at 3:32 am

Fine article with filmmakers' views on its closing: http://www.indiewire.com/article/rip-ziegfeld-martin-scorsese-ava-duvernay-spike-lee-and-more-pay-their-respects-20160129

DavidMorgan on January 30, 2016 at 2:17 am

GALLERY: Curtain falls on NYC’s landmark Ziegfeld Theatre


R68Dtrain2500 on January 29, 2016 at 11:58 pm

My grandma will always remember this theater

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on January 29, 2016 at 8:13 pm

Now that the Ziegfeld is gone – still can’t believe it – I’d like to repost some comments from 2014 about the most unusual show I ever attended there. It says a lot about how special the Ziegfeld and the people that worked there were.

RobertEndres on April 8, 2014 at 2:02 pm Hate to be the dissenter, but having spent a lot of years in that booth at the Ziegfeld lifting double reels of 70mm onto projector spindles (and in one instance dropping a double reel of “Gandhi” on my foot as I was putting it on the rewind – I figure it was the first 20 years of Gandhi’s life) I can’t say that I’d miss that these days. While I’m still a working projectionist at 75, I really don’t think I could lift those anymore (although we can still do 70mm in my booth, and I did try to get a screening of “The Master” 70mm print in here last year.)

Bill Huelbig on April 9, 2014 at 9:28 am (remove) Rob: Sorry to hear about your accident with the “Gandhi” reel, but I’ve got to say that movie was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen at the Ziegfeld. I saw it there 7 times, including the night of one of the worst blizzards in NYC history, a Friday night in February 1983. Maybe you were working that night? It was a packed house, too.

RobertEndres on April 9, 2014 at 11:11 am Bill: I remember that storm well. I alternated doing relief work at two theatres close to Radio City, The New York Experience and the Ziegfeld. The operator at the Experience asked if I could open for him the day after the storm, but then decided to stay in the city. I was expecting to stay inside when I got a call from the operator at the Ziegfeld saying his car was stuck in a drift. I kept a set of Ziegfeld keys in my apartment and took off for the theatre just a few blocks away. I remember thinking there would be no one there after such a big storm, but was surprised when I got to the theatre and found the line for the opening show extending around the block. They had plowed the sidewalk, but the snow was piled so high you could just see the tops of people’s heads above the pile. I stayed there until closing that night, and every show was sold out. Nothing gets between a New Yorker and their movies!

Bill Huelbig on April 9, 2014 at 11:26 am (remove) The storm was at its height just about when the movie was over – visibility zero – and I was seriously considering asking the manager if I could spend the night on the wide rug floor between the front row and the screen. Now I regret not asking. What if they’d said yes? That would really be a Ziegfeld night to remember!

Rob, on behalf of all those people waiting in the snow, I want to thank you for running the shows that day.

cinscope on April 27, 2014 at 3:06 am Oh, yeah, we sold out all three shows during that storm. People used skis to get to the theatre. Hi, Bob, this is Jean S. from the Ziegfeld box office.

Myron on January 29, 2016 at 7:48 pm

These new movie moguls care nothing about preserving historic movie houses. They care about profits & winning awards; many obtained by bribing colleagues with goody bags & favors. Sadly, movie palaces are past history. Youngsters will watch films streamed to them to be viewed on tiny hand-held devices.

theatrefan on January 29, 2016 at 7:28 pm

I was here way back in September 2001 to see the fully restored Sony reissue of the roadshow version of Funny Girl, which was presented in 6 track digital sound and a Technicolor dye transfer print. It was a stunning print and the sound made the experience simply breathtaking. Plus to have it been shown in such a magnificent house. I will remember it for the rest of my life as one of those cinema going experiences that will never be matched. We even got a present from the Ziegfeld a film poster which I still have in pristine condition. Farewell sweet Ziegfeld, you were a class act up until the very end. You will live on in our collective memories forever.

movieguy on January 29, 2016 at 6:11 pm

It is absolutely heartbreaking and an absolute monumental waste. To gut this beautiful theater!! Mr Tarantino just had A private premiere in 70 mm of the hateful eight just a month ago. The projector upstairs according to the projectionist still could run 35mm and 70 mm. I’m surprised somebody like Mr. Tarantino, JJ Abrams or Christopher Nolan didn’t come forward to buy the theater or at least lease it for a whil i’m surprised somebody like Mr. Tarantino, JJ Abrams or Christopher Nolan didn’t come forward to buy the theater to show films and 35mm like the new Beverly does. Change into something other than a first run theater. Still rented out for premieres. How long will this new ballroom last I give it a few years at most. then it will be declared a failure after the theater is torn apart and goo then it will be declared a failure after the theater is torn apart and gutted sickening I say. At least Los Angeles has try to keep some of their downtown single screen movie palace viable

cmbussmann on January 29, 2016 at 6:04 pm

Can’t stomach the thought of the Ziegfeld being gutted. An absolute shame!

Movieholic on January 29, 2016 at 4:32 pm

If I hadn’t been pressed for time on Wednesday, I would have stayed through the end credits for the 12:45 show and taken pictures inside the theater. I agree with movieguy that we do need more theaters like this one. It’s hard to believe only yesterday the status was Open and now it’s changed to Closed. RIP Ziegfeld.

movieguy on January 29, 2016 at 3:51 pm

Yes they shouldn’t throw out the seats. They can even be used in another theater that needed better seats to make it more comfortable. The Lafayette theater in Suffern could maybe acquire the seats and put them there. It might be too costly to remove the seats that are there now and put in the Zigfeld seats. Yes you are right nine chandeliers

HowardBHaas on January 29, 2016 at 3:44 pm

Movieguy says 7 crystal chandeliers. Looking at my photos, 1 in Box Office, 3 in Lobby Museum, 3 in Foyer upstairs, 2 in Concessions Foyer, for total of 9. There’s also pretty sconces (at least a dozen) in the halls wrapping around the entry of the auditorium, and large sconces (8, I think) in the auditorium. It is a shame that Ziegfeld museum items won’t be in the Ziegfeld Ballroom. It would also be a shame if the ancient wood is trashed. Some people would happily purchase chairs especially those with the Z on them!

movieguy on January 29, 2016 at 3:37 pm

If the amount of people coming out last night had come out more regularly to the theater for movies over the past few years the theater would’ve still most likely been operating well past yesterday said closing. How anybody could want to go to a multiplex versus a beautiful theater like that Ziegfeld is beyond me. It’s like saying would you rather have a meal expertly prepared by a wonderfully talented chef. Or would you like to just have some processed chain food for dinner

movieguy on January 29, 2016 at 2:38 pm

I went to three screenings yesterday 12:45 PM 2D Looks like it was about 550 people. Sat in the second row of the balcony area. Bought a ticket for the 7 PM screening. Very long line to get in. Looks like 650 people for that screening. The audience was most enthusiastic As I was sitting in the middle of the orchestra section. They clapped and cheer during the “along time ago in a galaxy far far away” they also cheered when on Han Solo first appeared on screen. The curtain was definitely being used at the end of each screening and just before the Advertisements started . I was going to leave but then when I saw the line was even a longer stretching all the way down the block and around the corner I bought a ticket for the 10 PM show. Sitting in the last row of the balcony just looking down at the nearly filled orchestra section except for maybe a dozen seats. They close the curtains before the previews coming attractions. At the end of the credits and when the curtains closed. People broke into a song “Will miss the grand the lady Ziegfeld” people didn’t want to leave And were taking pictures at 1:15 PM. One girl was even hugging the wall of the theater. I was speaking to John the manager and it’s truly heartbreaking That’s such a beautiful theater with seven crystal chandeliers a grand staircase to the area just outside the confession space. John the manager said that Cablevision is going to take everything in the theater including things left over from the original Ziegfeld. No one knows what they will do with it. But John said the entire space will be gutted. A terrible loss to New York and movie lovers. There never will be another theater like iT. Theaters were built years ago so people could experience something they could never experienced at home. We need more places like the Ziegfeld to bring people out to the movies instead of sitting home in their living rooms

HowardBHaas on January 29, 2016 at 12:54 pm

Online at Twitter, report of free popcorn & soda at last night’s last show, with a long line to get in & waiting shortly before the prior show as nobody wanted to depart. There’s a photo of many bags of popcorn & also a photo of the gorgeously costumed Ziegfeld girls from the night before. I tried to capture the photos for my “others” photo gallery but couldn’t.

Also I forgot to note that when I saw the Funny Girls reissue at the Ziegfeld, the movie depicted Ziegfeld and when I went downstairs, he looked just like his picture. That was really neat seeing that movie at the Ziegfeld.

And, I will miss the “stills” photos that often were with the film posters outside. It added a premiere movie palace character to the Ziegfeld. I think I recall the Astor Plaza & others in NYC also doing that.

ymike673 on January 29, 2016 at 5:35 am

Was at the 12:45 screening. Pretty good turnout. And it was the last non 3D screening at the last movie Palace in Manhattan.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on January 29, 2016 at 2:36 am

Grease sticks out for me because I’d already seen it some weeks earlier on its opening weekend, but it was a whole new experience in 70mm at the Ziegfeld.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 29, 2016 at 1:08 am

Bil, there was a three week festival of Kirk Douglas films in rotation in the fall of 1986 before “TOUGH GUYS” opened. I went with whatever was playing Fridays.

Because of the 1978 strike, a subrun of “GREASE” is possible. Maybe someone with a historic Variety subscription online can check up on that.