Loew's 72nd Street Theatre

180 E. 72nd Street,
New York, NY 10021

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Loew's 72nd Street

The Loew’s 72nd Street Theatre was one of the few Atmospheric style theatres architect Thomas Lamb ever designed (in collaboration with John Eberson). Coming at the end of the picture palace boom, the Loew’s 72nd Street Theatre shared some similar touches with other Loew’s palaces but its style and heart were all its own. It was opened on February 20, 1932 with Marie Dressler in “Emma”.

Sadly, the 72nd Street Theatre only lasted 29 years and closed on December 31, 1960 with “The World of Suzie Wong”. In early-1961 the theatre was razed to build an uninspiring apartment building. This jewel of the Upper East Side was gone forever and in its place, Loews built one of many basement theatres in New York City.

An unadorned and much smaller descendent of the intricately designed, palatial 72nd Street Theatre, the newer theatre was also a single screen house.

Today, there’s no hint that on this block one of the great movie palace treasures of all time once sat here.

Contributed by Cinema Treasures

Recent comments (view all 26 comments)

LuisV on June 14, 2008 at 5:58 pm

Warren, thanks so much for the images. What an incredibly beautiful theater. Another tragic loss. I’m truly amazed at how many spectacular theaters existed at the same time in the New York of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Long demolished theaters like Proctor’s 58th St, The Center, The Roxy, The Capitol, Loews State, The Triboro, RKO 23rd St, Loew’s Sheridan Square,Loew’s Orpheum, The Academy of Music, The Forum, RKO Keiths, Brooklyn Paramount, Brooklyn Fox, and of course Loews 72nd Street. I could go on and on. They all existed as movie venues. What a choice! I started my movie going in the 70’s and I didn’t have the appreciation for architecture in general and movie palaces in particular that I have today. I regret not having ever seen many of these theaters let alone seeing a film in one.

In the past, banks built very elaborate structures that no longer work economically. Very few still serve their original purpose though others survive as “event” spaces.

I wonder if there are any buildings that are in common use today that we will look back on 30 years from now with fond nostalgia because they became “obsolete”?

TLSLOEWS on February 19, 2010 at 11:22 pm

Warrens photbuckets do not work anymore.

bigjoe59 on February 7, 2011 at 8:02 pm

i just became aware of this website like a month ago. so i have
3 quick questions for devotees of the late Tower East.
none of the photo links for the old Loews 72 St. work. how
can i see photos of it?
the Tower East was built as a movie theater with no freight
entrance so how in God’s name will convert it into a super-
*also while we all lament the passing of a grand old movie theater
like the Loews 72 Street we must not forget that these grand old
theaters simply became economically unfeasible. :–(

rivest266 on September 24, 2013 at 12:28 am

This opened on February 20th, 1932. Grand opening ad uploaded.

theatrefan on February 12, 2015 at 5:52 pm

Auditorium #1(named Loews) in the Sony/Loews Theatres Lincoln Square complex on New York’s Upper West Side is named in honor of this former Loew’s Motion Picture Palace.

BobbyS on February 14, 2015 at 7:51 am

Does Loews still have the large auditorium decorated in red by the front of the complex? Is there a loews company anymore? Thanks

theatrefan on February 14, 2015 at 6:17 pm

I believe the decorations are intact, but the original seats have been replaced. Loews Cineplex merged with AMC Entertainment in January 2006, they kept the AMC name for the combined company & they were bought by a Chinese Company named Wanda Group a few years ago. Also as they renovate the former Loews theatres they are replacing signage with the AMC nameplate, like on 84th Street.

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