City Cinemas Cinema 1, 2, and 3

1001 3rd Avenue,
New York, NY 10021

Unfavorite 26 people favorited this theater

Showing 201 - 225 of 271 comments

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on May 26, 2005 at 7:03 am

Here’s the cover of a booklet given out at Cinema I in 1978 for the 70mm showing of “Days of Heaven”. A newspaper strike was on at the time, so either the studio or the theater prepared this compilation of reviews of the movie by New York critics:

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frankdev on May 16, 2005 at 2:45 am

Movieguy., In responce to your coments on may 5th, I have spent over twenty years in the movie theater buisness. My anger is a daily event. I have witnessed to many theaters close. I don’t know what you do for a living but when a theater shuts down it’s like a stake in the heart, I feel more for the cinemas, because they are a big part of my life, as is the beekman,murray hill, plaza,and many others
i’m glad you are a movie fan but don’t go telling me what a beautiful movie house is, since my carrer has been a theater manager. including 10 years at Radio City Music Hall

frankdev on May 16, 2005 at 2:36 am

Very true Robert, the movie buisness is now being run by people who barley no how to walk. The time has come for all good theater people and movie lovers to let the public know whats going on. The powers that be are getting rid of projectionists, and now charge 10.75. Mark my words, it will be 11.00 before the end of the year

RobertR on May 13, 2005 at 2:53 pm

They might as well just close it now, they are draining the last bit of blood out of it before the inevitable. It is sad what movie theatres are becoming today, 3-4 week ads for the DVD release. :(

rkathira on May 13, 2005 at 2:50 pm

I was here last month, and I must say, this is the worst theater I have ever been in. The seats were ripped, dirty and uncomfortable. It also smelled like urine throughout the whole movie, making it quite obvious that they do not clean the movie rooms. I will never go back.

frankdev on May 4, 2005 at 4:01 pm

I’m very happy to see there are so many fans of the cinemas. i was a manager back in 1983 and again in the 90’s. It was a great theater, i have a lot of good memories. Ralph Is A Class Act. to bad there aren’t any more like him left in the buisness. the business is run by a bunch of morons who haven’t a clue. Oh do i miss. the theater people. By the way Dave from the bronx is one of those theater people i’m talking about.the good ones not the morons. Those guys need a map to get out of bed in the morning

dave-bronx™ on April 19, 2005 at 4:20 pm

Heaven’s Gate did not last a full week at Cinema I.

hardbop on April 19, 2005 at 12:27 pm

I was watching a documentary about the making of the notorious flop “Heaven’s Gate” and there was some news footage of the Cinema I,II,III in the documentary because this was where HG had its disastrous premier. Canby in the Times panned — belittled the filme — and after a week it was pulled from theatres, shortened and re-released in theatres to no avail.

I remember Ralph Donnelly from the days when I took Richard Brown’s film class (early 90’s) and he would guest host the class when RB was otherwise occupied. Ralph always seemed like a class act. He is listed in the Walter Reade Theater’s calendar as one of the “President Emeriti.” I remember reading somewhere — this was awhile ago — that they had a big testimonial dinner for Ralph. Probably when he retired.

dave-bronx™ on March 27, 2005 at 2:37 am

Does anyone know just what it is exactly that the Landmarks Preservation Commission ACTUALLY does, besides drawing salary and expenses from the City of New York?
They aren’t interested in the Cinemas –
They aren’t interested in the Beekman –
They weren’t interested Sutton –
They weren’t interested in the Trylon –
They claimed they were interested in the Keith’s in Flushing, and look what happened to that –
They claimed they were interested in the Loew’s Kings in Brooklyn and look what happened to that –
It seems that for anything to get protected by them, it has to be either huge, like Grand Central Terminal or the Empire State Building, or miniscule, like the old jailhouse window behind the Manhattan Municipal building, or a lamp post in Chinatown. Anything in between is, apparently, fair game for developers and sleazy property owners like ___ (you fill in the blanks).

RobertR on March 24, 2005 at 4:25 pm

The saddest part is that with Cinema 1-2-3 closing it only leaves the Clearview-plex and the 59th Street East. The East side once abounded with top notch cinemas, and unless that zoning law gets changed there will be no new ones. Too bad the Manhattan 1 & 2 and the Gotham (Trans-Lux) did not hang in awhile they would have all the bookings they needed.

Benjamin on March 24, 2005 at 4:16 pm

In today’s (March 24, 2005) issue of the on-line version of the “New York Times” there was an article that mentions Cinema 1, 2, 3 along with the Beekman. The article is “In Preservation Wars, a Focus on Midcentury” by Robin Pogrebin. (Registration Required)

The article confirms that, “Plans have been announced to convert Cinemas 1, 2 & 3 … into retail space” and puts the fight to save Cinema 1, 2 & 3 into the larger context of the fight by preservationists to get the Landmarks Preservation Commission to hold hearings on a number of mid-20th Century buildings that a good number of citizens (some of them quite distinguished in the preservation field) feel are legitimate candidates for landmark designation.

What’s especially interesting to me with regard to the plans for Cinema 1, 2, 3 is that the owners said in the January 27th issue of “Our Town” (a free weekly community newspaper) that the theaters were going to continue as theaters. (See my post on the Beekman page.)

Another poster, Robert R, responded that he didn’t believe the owners, and his distrust was, apparently, very quickly proven to be justified!

Butch on March 21, 2005 at 5:38 pm

This theater’s claim to fame was it’s upper east side location and it’s artwork outside reflecting the current and future attractions. It’s auditoriums and presentatations were always second rate especially when compared to the west side movie palaces of the day.

Edward Havens
Edward Havens on March 21, 2005 at 4:52 pm

In Xan Cassavetes' documentary about LA’s Z Channel cable service from the 1970s and 1980s, there is some news footage from opening day of “Heavens Gate” at the 1, 2, 3. Growing up in Los Angeles, I used to feel cheated that New York City had all these great movie theatres, and get all the best movies first.

When I finally moved to New York City in 2001, I went to the 1, 2, 3 to see “I Am Sam.” While the movie wasn’t all that good, the theatre it played in was horrid. The tiny one, where I couldn’t hear half of the dialogue because the first “Lord of the Rings” movie was playing in the main theatre and the sound was cranked up to 11. The seats were in various states of disrepair, the screen masking atrocious and the aperature plate cut so wrong that part of the movie was playing on the ceiling.

Three and a half years later, I have yet to go back, and I live up the street from the theatre. If this was a great theatre before, I never would have known it in these modern times.

Benjamin on March 21, 2005 at 1:49 pm

Good idea, fueshd!

People should be aware that the Landmarks Preservation Commission has been dragging its feet regarding a number of potential landmarks recently. It seems to be part of an unspoken “plan”: if you’ve already secretly decided not to landmark something, don’t allow a public hearing on it (the first step in the landmarking process) to be “calendared.”

Recently a very strong potential candidate for landmarking, the Paterson Silk Co. Building on 14th St. (an early design by Morris Lapidus, who is famous for the Fontainbleu Hotel in Miami Beach) was unexpectedly pretty much destroyed. (See the 3/9/05, “New York Times” article, “Wrecking Ball Dashes Hopes for a Lapidus Work” by Robin Pogrebin.) This was another case of where a number of the big names in landmarks preservation asked the LPC to hold a public hearing, and they refused to schedule one.

But perhaps the “stink” over the loss of this building (the LPC seemed to be put on the defensive in the NY Times article) might be useful in the fight for at least a public hearing on some of the others, like the Beekman. So you might want to mention the loss of the Paterson Silk Building in your letter.

A interesting “wrinkle” with regard to the Cinema 1, 2 and 3 case: It is an unwritten law (and possible a written one, too, I forget) that once a building’s significant features have been altered, it is “too late” for landmark designation to save them. (Which is why developers try to sneak a demolition or alteration in before something is landmarked.) But in the “NY Times” article referred to above, the Chairman of the Landmark Preservation Commission claimed that he could still landmark the Paterson Silk Building and have the building rebuilt. So I hope people get a chance to read that NY Times article and directly challenge the LPC on this statement if they get a reply saying that Cinema 1, 2, 3 has been altered too much for landmark designation.

friends on March 21, 2005 at 12:11 pm

All concerned people should contact the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission to express outrage over the potential loss of Cinemas I II as well as the loss of significant artwork. Request the LPC to designate the Cinemas I II as a New York City landmark. Landmark status will prevent further demolition of the building. Every letter or email helps.

Robert B. Tierney, Chair
NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission
1 Centre Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10007
F: 212-669-7955

Please contact Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts for more information.

Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts
20 East 60th Street, #4B
NY, NY 10021

jurayj on March 21, 2005 at 10:57 am

could dave-bronx please contact me about what is happening with this theater. I amongst others have been lobbying to have it protected

my email is

dave-bronx™ on March 1, 2005 at 6:12 am

The artwork has been put into storage (knowing City Cinemas, that means the $500,000 Bolotowski painting was probably thrown on the floor of a self-storage unit in Queens), and will not be re-installed in the theatre. “Major repairs” have been defined as some painting and ceiling panel replacement. What a bunch of hairbags……

Astyanax on February 24, 2005 at 1:01 pm

Good to hear of the reprieve, but it appears obvious that City Cinemas/Reading is more interested in real estate, and not movie exhibition. What became of the suggestion that Harvey Weinstein might offer to purchase & operate both the Beekman & Cinema 1,2,3 – saving them from the wrecking ball?

Mikeoaklandpark on February 24, 2005 at 12:18 pm

Great news. At least one theater got a reprieve. Was city cinemas going to operate the theater in the new high rise?

RobertR on February 24, 2005 at 12:11 pm

I won’t give City Cinemas a dime of my movie going money.

dave-bronx™ on February 24, 2005 at 11:05 am

According to a source that I was finally able to get in touch with today, the artwork and other elements were removed from the interior and the exterior was altered specifically to prevent landmarking. It was their intention to demolish the building and put up a highrise, supposedly with new theatres in the bottom. The demolition was to occur this spring, but whatever the deal was fell through. I’m told that two days ago they found out the building won’t come down for at least another 5 years. Certain major repairs are going to be made, I’m trying to find out what kind of repairs, though I doubt it will include restoration of the artwork or the exterior.

StephenJohansen on January 17, 2005 at 3:45 pm

What great theaters in the 1960s. Great competition for the fading movie palaces… But neither of the venues lasted… The hoi polloi today are only happy with those horrible multiplexes… I guess TV and the plasma screens have taken over…. They have, as far as I am concerned.

RobertR on January 17, 2005 at 12:40 pm

As much as I loved the old Cinema 1 & 2, this place has gone down and might as well close. The sad this is there is nothing being built to replace it.

Movieguy718 on January 17, 2005 at 12:34 pm

Cinema 1 put up curtains in 1989 for the addition of Cinema “3."
It’s been downhill ever since.

Mikeoaklandpark on January 17, 2005 at 7:06 am

When I lived in NYC, they never had curtains. When did they install drapes. Was it during the addition of theater 3? For many years they didn’t have masking. In the late 70’s Cinema 1 had masking. When I went back several years and saw Prince Of The City, they had that dumb strip.