Sunshine Cinema

143 E. Houston Street,
New York, NY 10002

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Sunshine Cinema

The entertainment beginnings on this Lower East Side site began in 1909 when the Houston Hippodrome opened as a venue for Yiddish vaudeville acts and films.

It was demolished around 1916 and on May 15, 1917 the 600-seat Sunshine Theatre opened on the site. It was operated by Charles Steiner & Jack Schwartz. In the late-1930’s it was renamed Chopin Theatre. The theatre closed in 1945 and had been used as a storage warehouse into the mid-1990’s.

Following a three-year, $12 million renovation project, the Sunshine Cinema reopened on December 21, 2001 and was set to do battle with the famed Angelika and Film Forum theatres which, up until recent years had been the favorite destinations of the art house set.

The Sunshine Cinema certainly filled a need in the area as there are few movie theatres in or around the Lower East Side. The façade was restored and 3 of the 5 auditoriums contain stadium seating, while all have plush seats and the latest sound and projection equipment.

The theatre was the first for Landmark Theatres in the much coveted New York indie market. The building was sold in May 2017 and Landmark decided not to renew their lease. The popular Sunshine Theatre closed January 21, 2018 and was demolished in July 2019.

Contributed by Cinema Treasures

Recent comments (view all 106 comments)

midtown_kc on August 7, 2019 at 9:21 pm

it is gone.

ridethectrain on August 22, 2019 at 1:43 am


bigjoe59 on September 15, 2019 at 9:30 pm


does the demolition of this theater effect the
kinish bakery next door?

cinemasoul on October 20, 2019 at 11:38 pm

I saw The Little Hours in the last year the theater was still existing with a friend. Never realized how tiny it was. Have they demolished it yet? Such a shame about this theater. It was absolutely lovely when I went.

moviebuff82 on May 8, 2020 at 2:08 pm

it was ahead of its time when it first opened and it was the first modern art house theater that gave the Angelika a run for its money not to mention the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas and Paris Theater. State of the art projection and sound before Landmark at 57th took over. Sadly the cinemas are shut due to covid 19 so people are watching more movies than ever at home.

hdtv267 on May 8, 2020 at 4:35 pm

You clearly do not spend much time in New York City.

The Sunshine was in no competition with the Lincoln Plaza or Paris since those two venues are in totally different parts of the city than the Sunshine.

The last line is unnecessary. Yes, theatres are closed due to the Covid-19. We get it. In fact this place was long gone before it even started, so that comment has absolutely no place here and fail to see how it’s a contribution to any conversation and what topic other than an unhealthy obsession with a deadly virus. I can’t wait until the posts start with hornet nests close to them.

grindhouse on May 8, 2020 at 5:23 pm

“The Sunshine was in no competition with the Lincoln Plaza or Paris since those two venues are in totally different parts of the city than the Sunshine.”

Really? Maybe for you. If a picture opened on more than one screen, my friends and I chose the best theater, most comfortable, best screen and sound and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas usually wasn’t it, even though I lived across the street from it for years.

“The last line is unnecessary. Yes, theatres are closed due to the Covid-19. We get it.”

Yeah, we get it today, but someone reading this thread in two years will get it too.

hdtv267 on May 9, 2020 at 8:50 am

spoke in general terms about the theatres and city dwellers being territorial. There are always exceptions to a rule, should someone make a special trip to go to a particular cinema, kudos. But that was few and far between.

If someone needs to be reminded about a virus killing family & friends because of others selfishness & stupidity by reading some prattel on a movie board, so be it. I know I won’t forget this for the rest of my life.

Yes, theatres might not reopen because of the business impact. If a particular place never reopens, and that is the reason, of course it should be documented. The Sunshine was long closed before this thing happened – I’m taking exception of the OP’s peppering it unnecessarily in an almost ghoulish manner on select comments on this site.

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