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It’s crushing to consider how an almost perfect theatre can effectively be turned to ruin in such a short amount of time. Thanks for posting that most recent set of photos, davebazooka, and for the previous ones you posted as well.
Janus Films is still alive and kicking, seemingly more as a vehicle to the DVD marketplace (perhaps most notably as a sister company to The Criterion Collection), but, at least on occasion and in some function or form, as a theatrical distributor (their most recent release, in conjunction with Rialto Films, being the re-release of the restored print of Louis Malle’s ‘Elevator to the Gallows’).
One place to turn for a photo of the modernized Astor auditorium, mlobel, is the 1997 edition of Nicholas Van Hoogstraten’s book, ‘Lost Broadway Theatres’. Several copies are available throughout the NYPL system (http://www.nypl.org); if you want to purchase one, I’d recommend checking any Shakespeare & Company, Barnes & Noble, or Borders location in the city (the Strand, which would normally be my personal first choice, only has in stock at the moment one copy of the 1991 edition, which I cannot attest contains the same photo as the 1997 edition).
The Polk Theater received a mention in this week’s (July 18th) issue of New York magazine, as the second of 50 unique-to-Queens sites to consider checking out before the borough (inevitably) becomes gentrified.
Yes, it was directly across the street, on the opposite corner and where the W Hotel is currently located.
How did you access the ACRIS system on the NYC Department of Finance website, Theatrefan? I couldn’t find it… (Maybe a lack of ginseng or something…)
Speaking of the re-naming, I’d suspect it’s on hold until the renovation work has been completed.
Thanks for that info, Dave. I wonder what, if any fixtures, are being moved over from the Beekman, including, maybe possibly, the seats? No matter what work is done – and despite Clearview’s best efforts – there’s no replacing its (soon-to-be) namesake across the street.
The skyscraper hotel the Trans-Lux 49th Street and the World Theatres were demolished to make room for and which is referenced in the initial description above is the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
The foyer retains most of that appearance to this day; I imagine much of the same, save for the alterations brought forth by the triplexing, can be said for the auditorium itself.
Isn’t securing prints one of the prerequisites of operating a movie theatre or film screening venue? I’d think that would be of the utmost importance with a calendar house, especially the securing of quality prints and noting as well the type of print, as much of a turn-off it might be to patrons.
The Worldwide Cinemas closed their doors for business in February of 2001, as part of a major wave of properties Loews Cineplex was able to wiggle away from upon court approval of their bankruptcy organization plan.
This theatre closed in the spring of 1997; ‘The English Patient’ was one of its final three bookings.
What was so bad about the Allerton, jackeboy?
Thanks for that info, Dave, as to who operated the Art Greenwich as an indie. This might a stunningly obvious thing to ask, but when you mentioned Al Schwartz and Michael Landis retained the real estate, did that mean they owned the building itself until selling it to Equinox?
The Worldwide Cinemas remained under the Cineplex Odeon aegis to the end and was the last C.O. house in Manhattan.
I think it’s safe to say, on the corporate level, Regal (and most chains) ultimately don’t care much about the customers who attend their theatres; to them, they’re consumers and little else.
The Olympia became a quad, I think, sometime around 1981, and remained so through the end of the Golden management era, in the spring of ‘87.
I had a chance, while in Boston last week, to peer in through a small crack to the right of the former entrance to the Copley Place Cinemas and, surprisingly and for what it’s worth, there is one sign of what formerly occupied the space – where the ‘sloping’ floors of the auditoriums once were have been filled in with cement of a slightly different shade than that of the remainder of the floor.
I’m sure Regal would claim, in a polite moment, they charge such high prices because of the rent they pay for the site, but, if they had a couple of martinis in them and were feeling particularly blunt, would comment that since it’s NYC, hey, what else could you expect? You’re supposed to be gouged…
Thanks for capturing the theatre locations Loews Theatres Management and Cineplex Odeon Corporation were forced to divest themselves of prior to their merger in ‘98. The two exceptions were the Regency – Cineplex Odeon was allowed to hold onto the Regency due to its impending shuttering and demolition – and the Art Greenwich, which closed as a Cineplex house that winter and, while the various permit and neighborhood considerations were worked out prior to the site being redeveloped as an Equinox Fitness Club, re-opened in late February of '99 and operated as an indie through May of the following year.
I think a $2 house could survive if located in the right neighborhood in the outer boroughs, but not in Manhattan; the rents are too killer and, even with packed houses for every show and every audience member buying a medium soda and popcorn (or the price equivalent of the two), the owner would probably have to consider him or herself the beneficiary of a miracle if they somehow managed to break even.
As for studio ownership of theatre chains, don’t Paramount and Warner Bros. own Mann Theatres 50/50? I seem to remember one studio getting into a pissing match with the other (Paramount, I think it was, getting ticked off with Warner Bros.) a couple of years back and withholding their product from Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood for a time as a result…
I just caught an error in my posting, detailing the history of Clearview Cinemas site acquisitions and debits since they entered the NYC marketplace. They actually lost control of the Metro Twin in August of 2004, not 2002. Apologies for the inaccuracy.
To possibly acquire at least a print copy of the most recent annual report, Theatrefan, you might want to try contacting Loews Cineplex via their website. I did the same a few years ago, under the guise of being a ‘potential investor’ and was sent a copy of what was then their current report. Worth a try, although I’m pretty sure the excuse I used wouldn’t work so well for you, in light of current events… :–)
Thank you from me as well, Warren, for that photograph. I know you probably won’t respond to this compliment, but I’m sure I don’t speak alone in stating you’re one of the most valued contributors to this site.
From those who attended the Kenmore in the ‘80s (such as yourself, Al) and the '90s, how many of its original architectural elements remained, post-multiplexing and after becoming a Cineplex Odeon property and do any still exist in its current incarnation as a Modell’s Sporting Goods store? I thought I read it had been, at best, mostly gutted, but would be grateful for some confirmation.