Parkway Theater

584 Gramatan Avenue,
Mount Vernon, NY 10552

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The Parkway Theater in Fleetwood, Mount Vernon, New York and overlooking the Croos County Parkway was remodeled as an art house in 1951 by the pioneer exhibitor, Nathan Steinberg of Greenwich, CT.

The architect was also a pioneer, John J. McNamara who apprenticed with the great Thomas Lamb. The design was California redwood modern and roman brick interior and exterior with flagstone and marble trim, glass doors, posh textured green-leaf carpeting and comfortable rocking chair seating. Demi-tasse coffee was served by aproned matrons in the downstairs flagstone floored, redwood panneled, back-lit, glass-walled lounge.There was also one wall of roman brick with a modern fireplace accented by recessed ceiling lighting. Original modern paintings were exhibited in that space.

The Parkway Theater with mid-Westchester location and design played sophisticated films.

In 1975 the Parkway Theater was converted to one of the first non-profit educational Classic Cinema Centers. It was equipped with a huge intergrated sound system and a seperate downstairs venue for videoart and 16mm cinema. Live jazz concerts were staged, and school programs were also established.

Unfortunately, in 1975 the concept was a bit avant-garde for the suburbs and didn’t receive enough support. The opportunity was lost, and today the space is used as a funeral parlor.

Contributed by Robert Steinberg

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

lgk697386
lgk697386 on July 24, 2006 at 12:32 pm

This theater was one of the only places to see Mary Poppins in Westchester when it had its wide release. I was there opening night and the place was packed. I always thought the lounge was cool….and a lot of what is described above remained intact into the 60s and 70s. Saw the Exorcist there.

It still looks the same from the outside…..even as a funeral parlor.

RobertR
RobertR on September 17, 2006 at 1:35 pm

In 1958 billed as Interboro’s Most Intimate House playing “Raintree County"
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springfever
springfever on March 23, 2008 at 6:29 pm

I would be interested in hearing from Robert Steinberg, who along with Freddie, were sons of Nat & Terry. I spent considerable time at the magnificent home in Greenwich as a youngster, and also at the Parkway as I had a lifetime pass from the Steinberg family. Bob Mayer

cblanc10708
cblanc10708 on June 13, 2008 at 7:35 am

The Parkway Theater in the ‘70s and 80s was primarily a second run house, with films coming there after their initial engagements elsewhere..

The price of admission was lower, naturally and the theater was not particularly memorable, except for the fact that the patrons thermselves changed over the years.. lots of rowdy kids, who truly ruined the pleasure of going to the movies here. espcially in what was a really nice neighborhood.. Now its garbage..the good old days are gone..

SusanMy
SusanMy on July 30, 2009 at 8:53 pm

Wow, this really brings back memories. I grew up (and my parents still live) just about ¼ mile north of the former Parkway Theater. I remember seeing a double feature of Grease and Saturday Night Fever (watered-down PG version) as a kid back in the seventies, as well as The Verdict (as pictured on the marquis in Lost Memory’s photo) in the early eighties. And guess what? I worked concessions there when I was in high school. There was a creepy manager, a pothead projectionist (you could get a contact high just sticking your head in the booth), a sketchy janitor (more than once I ended up having to clean the bathrooms), and us two girls working the concessions stand. I have such fond memories of sneaking friends in and sitting in back during Dangerous Liaisons and Mississippi Burning, among others (not Beaches, though—couldn’t stand it).

It was a truly beautiful theater and it breaks my heart whenever I pass where it used to be. The Bayou does not occupy the Parkway’s old space. It’s always been next door to the Parkway although the restaurant’s expansion a couple years ago may have pushed a bit into the old theater space. The theater abutted/overlooked the Cross County Parkway (hence the name. )I don’t think I’ll ever get over seeing a funeral home where that lovely movie house was (and IMHO should still be).

NateSteinberg
NateSteinberg on February 9, 2011 at 7:16 pm

Nathan V Steinberg was my grandfather, Robert is my uncle, and Fred is my father. Nice to know people have so many good memories of this place. I remember it when from when I was a kid, but would love more info if any one has any!

smayer
smayer on August 31, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Nate….like my cousin, Bob Mayer who commented above, I, too ,knew the Parkway very well…in the late 50’s and early 60’s. My dad was an optometrist right around the corner and my sister and I would go to all the Saturday matinees for kids. Christmas time was particularly fun there..They always played Leroy Anderson’s “Sleighride” while we waited for the film to begin. As I got older, I’d take my high school dates there (at night of course!) It was a great little theatre. I saw it had become a funeral home the last time I was in Mt. Vernon. I, too, remember your grandparents and swimming in the pool at their lovely home in Greenwich. Please send regards to your father and uncle from the Mayer family.

Philtheusherdoorman
Philtheusherdoorman on August 25, 2012 at 1:23 pm

As a teenager, I served many an evening as the tuxedoed doorman of the Parkway Theater. When Brigitte Bardot starring in “The Girl in the Bikini” opened, I watched theater of another sort play out as Monsignor Delaney of nearby Sts. Peter & Paul Church intercepted surprised parishioners enroute to the ticket box!

When I was there the traditional candy and popcorn laden concession stand was still to come. I do recall a problematic solitary soda vending machine by the stairway door to the office and projectionist booth. More times than not It would forget to drop the cup requiring the disappointed patron to seek a refund from the cashier.

Interestingly, well before the aroma of freshly brewed coffee wafted through Barnes and Noble, Mary the Matron at the Parkway was serving demi cups of complementary coffee to early arrives in the modern styled lower lounge. Fifty years ago it was the kind of touch which made the smartly styled Parkway Theater in Fleetwood a special place.

Looking back, it was a wonderful time to own a movie house or two and work at one. Hits like A Summer Place, North by Northwest, The Train, and so many more sent ticket lines flowing over the Fleetwood parkway bridge on warm summer evenings. Throwing the doors open at the end of so many great films and watching faces of exiting patrons seemed evidence enough that some kind of profound collective experience had taken place in our tiny theater.

When Val became manager, I recall special “art” film screenings. One night “Day of the Painter” was screened. It had been shot by the water in New Rochelle or thereabout. It later won an Academy Award in the Short Subject category.

Mention of the Parkway owners sons, brothers Fred and Bobby, was a reminder of Fred’s friendly and outgoing way. Fred was the car guy of the duo. Always drove something interesting. With what has happened to small picture houses he probably wishes he held onto every single one of those cars!

Dave_M
Dave_M on September 11, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Wow… this brings back memories!!

I worked in the Parkway Theatre for many years under the ownership of the Steinbergs (anyone remember Geraldine in the office around the corner?) and, later, Jay and Murray, who also owned the Kent Theater in Yonkers. I never worked for the final owners after Jay and Murray.

I’d say my single most significant memory of the Parkway was, of course, Mary. Anyone familiar with the theatre knows who I’m talking about. She was a fixture in that theatre for many years and was heartbroken when it finally closed, as was I. Mary was like a second mother to me… she has now passed on. I remember Elaine the cashier, and later Tilda the cashier, Joe the doorman, Val the manager, his sons Val and David, Ben and Harry the early projectionists in the 70’s, Sydney the janitor, Max the maintenance guy and many, many more! I still have the tuxedo from the theatre!

I was there before the concession stand was installed, and I remember when it was installed, along with the abstract art pictures.

The Parkway was a beautiful theatre… I’m unsure about the comments left above by SusanMy. She made the Parkway’s staff sound like a bunch of thugs. Totally unjustified. For what it’s worth, I have no memory of her working there.

The lights dimmed at the beginning of the show, the curtains (yes, curtains!) opened, the music faded and the show began! The projectors were well maintained and the shows ran remarkably well. The seats were very comfortable velour. I remember lines of people waiting to get in, extending back over the bridge on the weekends, and a lobby full of waiting patrons!! The most expensive admission price was $3, and that was only for special features. I remember standing in the projection booth when the blackout of ‘75(?) occurred. Fortunately, we had many flashlights and newly installed emergency lighting to help guide everyone out.

It’s a shame that the Parkway had to go, but time marches on I guess. As a side note, the address listed on this site in incorrect. The correct address for the Parkway Theatre is 584 Gramatan Ave. The two phone numbers were 914-664-3311, which got you the showtimes recording and 914-664-6411 which got you a live person. That person might have been me!!

springfever
springfever on March 5, 2013 at 10:08 am

Nate, I assume you know that before going into Real Estate and owning 4 movie theaters, that Nat was a boxer. He decided, rightly so, that investing was better than getting his head beat. I’ve had some contact with Elena, but I was hoping to connect with Fred. When Fred took over Navist Theaters, he had a small office on Broad St. around the corner from the theater. This was next to the barber shop and HiFi Pizza ($.15 a slice). As Sandy mentioned above, we have great memories of the Parkway, and also the many times I explored the 19 acres and 26 room house in Greenwich. Horses, Dogs, Tennis, Pool & Cabana, formal gardens, etc. It had it all. My mom (Edith), Terry and Rhoda (Glass) were the best of friends from Roosevelt high school in the Bronx. I’m working on a 50th reunion and am looking for Mount Vernon artifacts to display. Give your dad my email Bob Mayer

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