Loew's 72nd Street Theatre

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

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Loew's 72nd Street

Viewing: Photo | Street View

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 theater is 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 23 comments)

RobertR on June 20, 2005 at 3:37 pm

March 1958 a half page ad in the Times announced the following…“ 8 special engagements of the Ten Commandments will start on Friday April 4th to accomodate the millions of New Yorkers who were unable to attend the unprecedented Broadway showing of Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments. The Criterion Theatres record 70 week showing of this motion picture has been terminated to enable it to be shown in limited engagements in eight specially selected, conviently located theatres throughout greater New York. It will be presented uncut and intact exactly as shown on Broadway to 1,344,016. In Manhattan it played Loew’s 72nd Street and Loews 83rd Street. In Brooklyn at the Paramount, Bronx at Paradise, Queens Valencia, Staten Island Paramount, Long Island at the Calderone and in Westchester at Loews White Plains. The other interesting thing is the manager of each theatre is listed with their phone number to call to arrange groups and theatre parties.

ERD on January 6, 2006 at 5:26 am

This theatre was very beautiful. The unique latern above the proscenium was especially noticable. Lamb did a wonderful job in designing this atmospheric theatre. The destruction of Loew’s 72nd Street-like many others- is a sad commentary on a civlization where financial gain is the top priority. Because of websites such as CINEMA TREASURES, more people will become aware such losses now and in the future.

ERD on January 6, 2006 at 5:48 am

Correction of above post: Last sentence: … more people will become aware of such losses- now and in the future.

LuisV on June 14, 2008 at 9:58 am

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 3:22 pm

Warrens photbuckets do not work anymore.

bigjoe59 on February 7, 2011 at 12:02 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 23, 2013 at 4:28 pm

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

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