Loew's Metropolis Theatre

2644 Third Avenue,
Bronx, NY 10454

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Loew's Metropolis Theatre

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The Metropolis Theater opened as a legit live theatre on August 30, 1897. It was located on a large plot of land bordered by Third Avenue, East 142nd Street and Alexander Avenue.

By 1914 it had gone over to screening motion pictures due to competition from the new Bronx Opera House which opened in 1913. It was later operated by Loew’s and known as Loew’s Metropolis Theatre.

It was closed in the middle of the 1920’s (it’s not listed in the 1926 Film Daily Yearbook) and the auditorium was used as a storage facility by Loew’s for many years until it was demolished.

Today, the still quite elegant front of the building which contains offices is all that remains of this once grand theatre.

Contributed by KenRoe

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on August 3, 2005 at 4:37 am

Some of the introductory information is incorrect. The Metropolis first opened in 1897, not 1904. According to a news story in the September 4, 1897 issue of the New York Spirit of the Times: “The Metropolis, an entirely new theatre on the corner of Third Avenue & 142nd Street, opened on Monday under the management of Mortimer Theiss with a Klaw & Erlanger company performing ‘In Gay New York.’ The house seats 1,600 and was filled to standing room. Decorations are in green, gold, and pink, very rich and very artistic. Over the proscenium arch is a picture of Giovanni that was exhibited at the Paris Salon— a group of maids and lads dancing to sylvan pipes and capturing kisses. The Metropolis is the only theatre above 125th Street, which is now the real centre of the city; it is easily accessible by elevated, cable, and trolley cars, and it ought to attract a large and profitable clientage.”…I’ve yet to find evidence that this theatre was ever operated as a cinema known as Loew’s Metropolis, but I can’t rule out the possiblity. In any case, sometime in the 1920s (conflicting dates of 1924 and 1929 have been reported), Loew’s converted the Metropolis into a factory/warehouse known as Loew’s Scenic Studios by gutting the auditorium. Most of the scenery, curtains, and draperies used in vaudeville and stage shows at Loew’s theatres were made and stored there. There was also a shop that produced all the signs and posters displayed at Loew’s theatres. After Loew’s phased out stage shows in all but the State and Capitol, the building was used mainly as a sign shop and warehouse.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on August 3, 2005 at 5:01 am

Warren;Thanks for the additional information and details on the Metropolis Theatre. It is listed in the 1914-1915 edition of the American Motion Picture Directory, so I presume was screening movies at that time.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on August 4, 2005 at 2:35 am

Ken, how does the 1914-1915 directory list the theatre? As simply the Metropolis or as Loew’s Metropolis? That would help in determining whether Loew’s ever operated it as a theatre or just acquired it to convert into a scenic studio.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on August 4, 2005 at 2:42 am

Listed as Metropolis Theatre, 2644 3rd Avenue, no other details given.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on October 2, 2005 at 4:06 am

I think it’s a big mistake to call this Loew’s Metropolis. The Metropolis was a long-time loser and had been closed for more than two years when Loew’s purchased it in 1929 for conversion into a scenic studio and warehouse, according to a brief history of the Metropolis on page 94 of Robert W. Snyder’s “The Voice of the City: Vaudeville and Popular Culture in New York.” Loew’s never operated the Metropolis as a theatre. Snyder says that its previous owners tried vaudeville, films, Italian stage shows, and finally burlesque, which caused the Metropolis to be shut down by the police in 1926.

f9be22
f9be22 on November 7, 2005 at 9:22 am

My father, who is 93, remembers going to the Metropolis Theater as a young child with his brothers and sisters to watch cowboy movies. He told me it was evident that the theater, which was impressive, had seen better days. The movies were played without musical accompaniment.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on August 26, 2006 at 10:07 am

Two photographs of the remains of the Metropolis Theatre I took in June 2005:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kencta/225441324/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kencta/225441808/

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on April 21, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Very interesting.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 18, 2013 at 6:31 pm

The Metropolis Theatre is listed in a 1913 book, Our Theatres To-day and Yesterday, by Ruth Crosby Dimmick. It gives the opening date as August 30, 1897.

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