City Theatre

114 East 14th Street,
New York, NY 10003

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Tinseltoes on April 8, 2011 at 8:17 am

For the Easter holiday week in April, 1944, the City Theatre switched policy by presenting a 2-in-1 Stage and Screen Show honoring our wartime Soviet ally. The Russian stage revue featured Constantin Poliansky and his WOR-Radio Balalaika Orchestra, cabaret singer Marusa Sava, dancer Vladimir Lazareff, and others, under the direction of Mischa Balanoff. On screen was the B&W Russian feature, “Lenin in October,” shown with English sub-titles. Performances were continuous and at popular prices.

AlAlvarez on July 8, 2010 at 7:21 am

Ad for the newsreel theatre in April 1942, after America entered the war.

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TLSLOEWS on June 29, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Nice 1938 photo of City Theatre Robert R.

EcRocker on March 28, 2010 at 3:14 pm

What a shame. All those years that I worked at the Academy of Music I never knew that it was ever there. Based on what I saw in the picture and seeing the alley way and parking lot it does look like it could have been a theatre there. Dang all that time and I never knew.

RobertR on February 11, 2010 at 9:53 am

A great shot from 1938
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AlAlvarez on January 19, 2010 at 3:52 pm

This disappears from the New York Times movie ad pages around March 16, 1952.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on June 13, 2008 at 7:26 am

On April 2nd, 1942, this became the City Newsreel Theatre. In theory, the City would have been the largest by far of all of NYC’s newsreel cinemas, but I suspect that upstairs sections of seats were closed down for this shift in policy. Other newsreel houses had 500 to 600 seats at most: View link

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on December 17, 2006 at 4:14 am

Part of the City Theatre’s ground site is now occupied by a P.C. Richard & Sons store, which has its entrance further east and uses an address of 120 East 14th Street. The City’s entrance on 14th Street was fairly narrow, and if it still existed, it would be right next to an NYU residence hall that occupies the former site of Luchow’s and uses the same address as that restaurant (110 East 14th Street).

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 4, 2006 at 4:08 am

In 1948, the City was part of the Hyams-Green circuit, along with the Little Met and Irving Place Theatres:

RobertR on June 13, 2005 at 3:45 pm

Judging by the above picture this theatre looked really nice on the outside. I found an ad from sometime in 1948 and the two films on the program were very exploitation looking. “Panic” promised sex, suspense and murder and the second feature was called “Fiesta”. No studio is in the ad but I’m sure it was Monogram or Republic.

jeffg718 on April 9, 2005 at 2:36 pm

Here is a link to a photo of the City Theatre.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on December 3, 2004 at 4:10 pm

The first attraction at the City Theatre was Florenz Ziegfeld’s stage production of “Miss Innocence,” starring Anna Held, which had previously played “uptown” at a higher price scale. By 1936, it had been reduced to a late-run “grind” movie house, with four changes of double features per week on Friday, Saturday, Monday, and Wednesday (with an “amateur night” added on stage on Thursday). In 1942, it became the City Newsreel Theatre, with 90-minute programs of newsreels and short subjects shown continuously from 9AM to midnight. At the end of WWII, it returned to late-run double features of Hollywood and “foreign” movies until demolition in 1952.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 16, 2004 at 8:22 am

This was known as the City Theatre, not The City. It should be noted that the City was the very first theatre by architect Thomas W. Lamb. It first opened on April 18,1910, with a reported 2,267 seats divided among the orchestra, boxes, two separate balconies, and a topmost gallery. The decor was described as French Renaissance, a style that Lamb used often in later theatres. The auditorium walls were wainscoted in scagliola marble, and topped with rose damask. Gilding encrusted the richly molded plaster frame of the proscenium and the capitols of the interior columns. A painted mural by Arhur Brounet was the only decoration on the ceiling. The sight lines were claimed to be remarkably good, with no posts except for a few at the side and rear of the orchestra to support the first balcony. Over the years, as the City declined in popularity, the seating capacity was reduced by shutting off some of the upstairs seating. At the end, the City’s seating capacity was reported as only 934.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 14, 2004 at 9:49 am

Due to its location near Broadway & Union Square, the City was once one of the leading theatres on 14th Street. Built by William Fox, it was the most successful of his New York area theatres until he got greedy and decided to build the larger and more sumptuous New Academy of Music further east in the same block. But when opened in October, 1926, the new theatre, featuring a movie with a stage “presentation” similar to the ones at the big midtown palaces, failed to do as well as the City, which had built up a large and loyal following with traditional vaudeville supporting the movies.
Fox then tried switching the Academy to double features, but when that failed to attract crowds, he moved vaudeville to the Academy and leased the City to the Shuberts for use as a playhouse on the so-called “Subway Circuit.” With the onset of the Depression, the City reverted to the Fox circuit, which was then in bankruptcy proceedings. The City ended up with the Academy of Music under the management of Skouras Theatres, which favored the Academy in its bookings and made the City a subsequent-run movie house with program changes several times a week. In the late 1930s, the City was given a modernized front and marquee to make it more visible to the bargain shoppers who crowded into nearby Klein’s and Ohrbach’s. The City survived the WWII years but was an early victim of TV competition. It was demolished, but the ground was used as a parking lot for some years before an apartment building was erected on the site.