Loew's 72nd Street Theatre

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

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rivest266
rivest266 on September 23, 2013 at 4:28 pm

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

bigjoe59
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-
market?
*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. :–(

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on February 19, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Warrens photbuckets do not work anymore.

LuisV
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”?

ERD
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.

ERD
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.

RobertR
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.

Theatrefan
Theatrefan on August 5, 2004 at 6:24 am

I spoke with the manager at the Astor Plaza that last weekend, he said yes indeed they were giving them some of the Astor Plaza’s seats, but not all of them, he looked very busy so I couldn’t ask any further questions.

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on August 5, 2004 at 6:21 am

There was a rumor that the 72nd St East was going to receive the seats from the Astor Plaza. Has anyone confirmed this or heard any different?

Theatrefan
Theatrefan on August 5, 2004 at 6:21 am

Yes the Alpine still exists as a 7 screen theatre. It has two large auditoriums on the left side and 5 smaller ones on the right, they date back from the late 80’s. I don’t thing anything inside that was original remains, or it could be hidden by the ugly ceiling panels. The Alpine never had a balcony so they is no second level, only the projection room.

I did see in the photo of the 83rd St. that the condos on top of the 84th St had yet to be built, when they did start construction I wonder if people could hear it watching their movies.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on August 4, 2004 at 9:43 pm

You’re right. Is the Alpine still open? If so I can’t think of any other of the old ones still operated by Loews in New York.

The old 83rd St. Quad was on that block at the corner of 83rd St., and the new 84th St. 6-plex is on the same block but at the corner of 84th St.

Theatrefan
Theatrefan on August 4, 2004 at 9:07 pm

Thanks dave-bronx, I always wondered why one was the 83rd and the other the 84th Street. Unfortunately these replacements could never match any of the original theatres. As we have all said, most of the time the property that theatres sat on was far more valuable than keeping the original theatre operating and open. In all of NYC does Loews Cineplex have any of their original theatres still operating? The Alpine in Brooklyn is the only one that seems to come to mind, and that one went thru some different chains before returning to the Loews chain.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on August 4, 2004 at 5:03 pm

BTW, check the Loews 83rd St. page on this site – there is a photo of the old quad with the new 6plex in the left edge of the pic.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on August 4, 2004 at 4:50 pm

84th St. 6-plex is on the north half of the blockfront btwn 83 & 84 Sts., east side of Broadway. The 83rd St. Quad was on the south half of the blockfront btwn 83 & 84 Sts., east side of Broadway. The first 2 days the 6-plex was open, the quad was open too, and the old and new theatres sat there side by side. The present apt. bldg. sits on the ground that the quad was on AND on the roof of the 6-plex. Trust me, I worked there.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on August 4, 2004 at 3:01 pm

There was usually some provision in the sale to include a replacement theatre in whatever was being built. The old Loews State and the Loew’s Building above it on Times Square was sold with the agreement that a new 4-screen theatre would be included and be a tenant. What is now the Virgin music store was to have been a mall, with a number of stores and the theatre. The developer put up the building and before the interior was completed went bancrupt. The incomplete building sat there for 10 years until that situation was settled and the property sold to a new owner and completed. By the time the new State Theatre opened, 4-screen theatres were obsolete, and the plan for a mall was thrown out in favor of a single tenant.

The 84th Street was some kind of exchange – the 84th St. 6-plex was built next door to the 83rd St Quad. When the 84th St. opened, the quad closed and was demolished. The apartment building was built on the ground the quad was on and on top of the new 6-plex. The theatre and ground it’s on was owned by Loews, and the apt. bldg. bought the air-rights and built on top of it. It is actually 2 seperate buildings. Loews role there may have changed, but up until a couple of years ago, that’s the way it was.

Theatrefan
Theatrefan on August 4, 2004 at 2:09 pm

There are 4 Loews theatres in Manhattan that are built on previous Loews locations, They are the State, Orpheum, 72nd Steet and 84th Street. I wonder when they were doing all this real estate selling, did Loews automatically include a provision in the contract that would allow them to replace the old existing theatre with a new one underneath whatever was being built on top like a condo or office building?

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on July 30, 2004 at 11:54 am

During the time that Loews was owned by the Tisch family their main concern was land. A projectionists' union contract in Cleveland during those years was written as between “I.A.T.S.E. Local 160 and Loews Theatre and Real Estate Corporation” – I don’t think they were ever interested in the theatres, only the land underneath them. Once they had exploited all the prime owned locations by tearing down the big palace-type theatres and building apartment buildings, office buildings or just selling the property to others for redevelopment, they got rid of the remaining theatre operation which for the most part were leased locations.

Theatrefan
Theatrefan on November 2, 2003 at 9:54 am

The Loew’s 72nd Street theatre opened on February 20th, 1932. The large auditorium seated 2,673 patrons. Architect Thomas Lamb based the design on temples in Thailand as well as the Mosque Adinah in Maldah. The theatre was demolished in 1961. An aparment house now occupies the site.

SethLewis
SethLewis on September 4, 2002 at 4:21 am

The existing 72nd St theater – it will always be the Tower East to me – is basically with the Ziegfeld and Astor Plaza and Beekman the last single screens in Manhattan…While its lobby and concessions may be dinky in the new Millennium it was in my youth a great place to see a movie…Yellow Submarine, a few stinkers like Caprice and Don’t Make Waves, Love Story, The Godfather, Deliverance, All the President’s Men, The Great Gatsby, Mississippi Burning…

Amazingly enough the theater has outlasted at least 2 dozen different restaurants in my 30 years including one owned by Paul Sorvino the actor

WilliamMcQuade
WilliamMcQuade on March 20, 2002 at 8:09 am

A correction is in order. This was not a Wonder Theater. The 5 Wonder Theaters were Paradise(Bronx), 175 th St (NYC), Valencia (Queens), Kings (Brooklyn) and the Jersey In Jersey City

All 5 building are still standing The Jersey is being renovated, the 175 th St is a church for Reverend Ike, The Valencia is a Church, The Paradise is or is not being renovated or is just sitting there ( it keeps changing) and the Kings is regretfully sitting there and rotting away. The 72nd Street was a gorgeous theater which had great backstage facilities which were never used. Between the planning of the theater and it’s opening , Vaudeville died and it never had live shows