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Ken, I did a bit of research on this particular block, since I was so convinced that the furniture store on Beach Avenue was the former theater structure, not the church on St. Lawrence. NYC Department of Building online records would seem to support my suspicions. The entire block of storefronts on Westchester Ave, plus the furniture store on Beach Ave are part of a contiguous lot, improved with a single two-story structure in 1926. The church structure dates to 1925 and is not attached to any of the storefronts on Westchester Avenue.
Unfortunately, there are no viewable certificates of occupancy for the church building (address is 1266 St Lawrence Avenue), and the oldest certificate of occupancy viewable for the Rosedale Theater’s address is an alteration permit for some of the storefronts, dated 1944. However, there is a C of O for the address 1791 Westchester Avenue, dated January 29, 1965 (my exact date of birth, as it happens), showing conversion to “Warehouse for household goods and furniture, loading berth, and store” on ground level, and “Offices and toilets, incidental to first floor” on the mezzanine level.
The name of the furniture store is “New Direct Buy Furniture” at 1785 Beach Avenue. When viewed from the corner of Beach and Westchester Avenues, not only does the elevation of the structure appear theater-like, but there is a structure on the roof of the storefronts that looks like it might have held signage, angled to catch the eye of commuters on the elevated IRT platform of the St. Lawrence Avenue train station.
The street view is off by several blocks to the east. The address must be incorrect, since 1800 Westchester Ave is at the SE corner of the intersection with Beach Ave.
And, Joe… not exactly on the corner, but midway between St Lawrence and Beach Avenues, there is a Dunkin Donuts at 1791 Westchester Avenue (on the north side of the block). If you do a satellite view looking down on the block, you can see that the Dunkin Donuts storefront runs back in a narrow rectangle and appears to connect to a structure that I’m convinced is an old theater building, which then runs to the right, backing up to Beach Ave. A street view down Beach shows what I assume was the back wall of that theater, which now houses a furniture store. This must be the proposed house from that 1926 issue of The Film Daily. I don’t think the theater is listed here on CT.
Surprising that the film isn’t in scope. PTA works compositional wonders on a wide-screen canvas. In fact, I can’t think of a single feature that he’s directed, which hasn’t been 2.35:1 … not even the his first, “Hard Eight,” or the offbeat “Punch Drunk Love.”
This will be a regular engagement as opposed to special screening, correct? The film’s limited release begins the week before, on September 14th (including the Village East booking). According to imdb.com, the 21st looks like a wide release date.
The theater’s official website has a few photographic glimpses of the original auditorium.
I’m sure this must have been mentioned elsewhere in this thread, but it appears that the main room no longer seats 1200. In fact, that capacity seems to have been greatly reduced, due not only to the installation of wider, high-back seats, but the conversion of the orchestra level to stadium-style seating sloping steeply from the base of the stage right up to the facing of the old balcony.
The site notes that auditoriums range in capacity from 70 to 370 seats, and nowhere does it mention anything about having 70mm projection equipment (likely due to a general lack of demand for that kind of facility).
Thumbs way up!
So, it seems Paul Thomas Anderson’s new film, “The Master,” has been scheduled here for a 70mm engagement. Please tell me that the 70mm projectors are for the original 1200 seat auditorium?
Yes, Mike, that is very disappointing news. Along with the story that the Weinstein Company wasn’t willing to support PT Anderson’s desire to have this film distributed as widely as possible in its native format. I’m hoping that the Village East has its 70mm capabilities in the original big auditorium?
Possibly, markp… I was just curious if anyone knew for sure that the ticket booth depicted in that photo is actually the Victoria’s.
Just posted this image from a July 25th article in the NY Times about local photographer Dawoud Bey. The image is dated 1976 and is labeled by the Times as depicting the “Loew’s 125th Street Movie Theater”… Could they mean the Victoria? Did the Victoria have a free-standing outdoor ticket booth? It doesn’t appear that way in the image posted here from the late 1960’s, with “Tony Rome” on the marquee.
I believe a couple of 70mm prints were screened when the Ziegfeld was still doing the “classics” series a few years ago.
Saps, I’m happy that this theater is doing well enough to afford the changeover to digital. I’m not enamoured with the screen sizes, but I do feel it is vital for movie lovers (can hardly say “film lovers” anymore) that suburban art houses like this, and the one in Kew Gardens, survive and continue to thrive.
Interesting, that small wedge section of seats at the back of the auditorium just where the center aisle forks off to the rear exits. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like that, right on the center line of a theater!
Hi Flynn… The theatre described and depicted on that page is a different, legitimate play house, which was located a couple of blocks away from the AMC Empire, at Broadway between West 40th and 41st Streets. It is not listed on CT because I don’t believe it ever hosted cinematic exhibitions – at least not on a regular basis. There is a page devoted to the old house here on the ibdb.com website.
Could “Caine’s” or “Caines’s” have been a typographical error? It appears the sign within the decorative arch to the right of the main entrance reads “Gane’s.“ Also appears that the exhibitor signed his last name with a "G,” in that trade journal advertisement, though the signature could read “Gane” or “Gaine,” depending on how carefully you scrutinize it. But, however he signed it, I suspect he’d have spelled his name correctly when paying for it to go up in lights on his theatre’s edifice.
All that work, and the place was shuttered a mere 5 years later.
I think the “grand staircase” photo on the right is actually of the Loew’s Capitol and not the Loew’s State, as captioned. Nevertheless, an absorbing read, indeed.
Did they really bridge the two marquees to appear as one, as depicted in the sketch? I’d love to see a photo of that treatment. Also an interesting item in the lower right regarding the reduction of seating at the Roxy Theatre, during renovations for Cinemiracle exhibition.
The practice of selling souvenir programs continued on a fairly widespread basis, as far as I can recall, into the early 1980’s. In fact, even some local theaters (such as the UA Lynbrook and the Century’s Green Acres, in my neck of the woods) sold them at the candy counters. I recall picking up booklets for a number of films, including the original “Star Wars,” “1941,” “Rocky II,” “The Empire Strikes Back,” “Dawn of the Dead,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Return of the Jedi,” and “Reds.” I believe I still have a number of these – albeit in pretty worn condition – stored away in a bin somewhere in my basement.
Pretty fascinating read, Tinseltoes. Thanks for the link. It must have been a pretty remarkable time to be in the business of motion picture exhibitions, particularly in the big houses along Broadway. The excitement of new technology, tempered by the terror of television’s increasing drawing power hanging in the air… It is regrettable that architectural splendor was sacrificed in the name of progress and trying to breathe new life into grand old theaters like the Rivoli, but in the end, it was all pounded to dust anyway. All we are left today is the melancholy that comes with looking back and reading vintage articles such as this one.
I wonder what the story was over at the Rivoli Theatre that week, as its name is conspicuously absent from the list of averages given on that page.
That article is from April 2009 and was previously linked in a comment back around that time. Sobering to note the lack of movement on any redevelopment in the last three years! In fact, I think that even the retailers who had occupied the former lobby space on short term leases are now shuttered. I wonder if the property is still in the hands of the same owner!
Sorry, A_Mclean, but the only Gimbels store I remember (besides the one near Herald Square) was the one in Green Acres Shopping Mall, in Valley Stream.
Here is an updated and working version of the DGA link I previously posted on April 25, 2011. From that page, one may now also take a 360 degree virtual tour of the auditorium as well as the projection booth.
Bigjoe59… Read my response from yesterday at 5:42 regarding movies being shown as part of some vaudeville bookings from that period. It might help provide some illumination in your search. While you may be onto something with the Crescent, I think determining if there were permanent projection facilities would be key to having something more definitive.