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This was not a great theater by any stretch and the bathrooms were always scary, but the programming—sublime!! It was like attending film school only more thorough. That’s how staggering it was. Films only ran for 2 days, sometimes 3, and everything was a double feature. That’s 6 different moves a week! It was a living, breathing Netflix. I am so glad I got to experience this period of film going and the Bleecker Street Cinema was the best of the best. And I’ll never forget the fake painted balustrade along the front of the theater. If you want to see this place in action, watch DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN. The Aidan Quinn character is the projectionist here.
Carnegie Hall Cinema was never a great place to see a movie but the programming was staggering. Does anyone remember that it was actually owned by the same team as the Bleecker Street Cinema? That was the heyday for this place when revival houses were on every street corner, the Carnegie Hall Cinema was the best place to see an arthouse or cult double feature. Their programming was better than film school. The renovation by Cineplex was lovely but the new release programming paled. I must say Carnegie Hall has done a magnificent job converting this space into Zenkel Hall but as mentioned above, it’s not a true conversion but a total redesign utilizing the same space. For me, the Carnegie Hall Cinema underscores the issue we probably all have regarding a specific theater, what makes a movie theater a cinema treasure—the building or the programming? For CHC, it was never the theater, it actually became quite a dump but the programming so memorable.
I was very fortunate to work at the Little Carnegie as a teenager in the late 70s/early 80s. What a magnificent place! Like a smaller version of the Beekman but even better. The doors to the theater were amazingly deco. Seeing the photo of the interior posted in one of the comments was shocking. In my mind, this place was huge. It was actually quite teanie. But what programming! Because they were a premiere platform theater, everything opened here to huge crowds, celebrities, and very long runs. I worked there for several years during high school and the only 2 films I remember are PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK and MANHATTAN. They were hugely successful and played for months.
Haven’t seen an IMAX film here yet but the projection, sound, and sight lines at the Westbury Stadium are pretty amazing. My favorite theater to see a movie these days. Not beautiful like an old movie palace, it makes this up by delivering crystal clear images and staggering sound. Better than any theater in Manhattan. Very impressive.
Wow! The Jerry Lewis Theatres! Haven’t thought about that in ages. The East Meadow Theatres were pretty awful but their programming was down rate amazing. Tons of B movies and horror and the perfect downtrodden place to see them. I have tons of fond memories of this duplex. I even remember the smell. It always smelled like disinfectant. Isn’t crazy what we remember and even cherish. I was still going here as late as the mid-80s. Saw CRIMES OF PASSION and DO THE RIGHT THING back to back in totally empty auditoriums here. It was GREAT!
The Roslyn Theater was such a gem. It’s still adorable on the outside with an amazing location but multiplexing has truly destroyed this gem. Programming is great though. But the old Roslyn was so special.
One correction to Seth’s comment above, the clock was not put in place in the 80s. As a kid, I regularly visited this theater and as early as 1974, that clock was already there. During MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, it was so annoying. The film was so dark and the theater in a hush… but… then there was that clock. Big mistake to have it next to the screen. The original Roslyn was really a jewel.
UA Cinema 150 was such a strange place. It was the first “stadium seating” I remember ever seeing even though it wasn’t called that. Amazing screen and sound. Two favorite experiences here: EARTHQUAKE in SurroundSound and TERMINATOR 2. Both were jampacked. The 150 made them both so special. Best of all, I remember the manager coming out before EARTHQUAKE and telling us not to put anything on the ledge of the balcony for fear the seats would shake. That sense of fun was great at the 150.
The Syosset was a great theater with super projection and wonderful site lines. They were THE theater on Long Island for platform releases. Usually in 70MM and amazing sound. My favorite was seeing THE TOWERING INFERNO on opening weekend. Waited in line for hours and then the show was packed. Although the Syosset was not one of the grand old movie palaces, every film felt special in this auditorium.
So glad to read that there are fans for the old Playhouse Theater in Great Neck. When it was owned by UA, I worked at both the Playhouse and the Squire across the street. I tried to schedule as often as possible in the Playhouse. The theater was so lovely. It had a great balcony and projection room. Even the upstairs lobby was huge. The programming was more focused on B-movies and second runs which were so much more fun than the A list playing across the street. I had 2 great experiences at the Playhouse—seeing THE EXORCIST for the first time and the original release of HALLOWEEN. These films were just scarier in an old movie palace.
PhilMiller is absolutely correct, at the Manhasset Cinema, the auditorium opened up to a lovely corridor and then to doors that led out to the lobby and Plandome Road. This was a magnificent single screen theater until about 1977 when it was cut up into 3 screens. The programming remains amazing but the wonderful theater is sorely missed. I saw so many films here that I still remember the phone number which remains unchanged.