Symphony Space/Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theatre

250 W. 95th Street,
New York, NY 10025

Unfavorite 12 people favorited this theater

Symphony Space/Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

This classic art house opened in 1931 as a 299-seat neighborhood movie house on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

By the 1960’s, the Thalia Theatre had become an intellectual staple for the community (and even appeared in Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall”) . It remained popular until it closed in 1987.

The Thalia opened a lower Manhattan theater (called the Thalia SOHO) to satisfy the need for indie and art house pictures, but it found little success and eventually closed.

Today, Symphony Space, an arts and cultural organization is bringing the Thalia Theatre back to life by incorporating the old theater into its newly redesigned complex.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 95 comments)

TSB
TSB on December 30, 2011 at 9:01 am

LesW — I have a full program schedule from the Thalia’s summer festival from 1969. It’s good, totally readable. Do you want me to scan it and send it to you? Or photocopy and mail it to you? Let me know.

LesW
LesW on December 30, 2011 at 12:48 pm

That would be wonderful! If you can scan it and email it to me I would be most appreciative. My email address is Happy New Year!

Logan5
Logan5 on July 24, 2012 at 10:39 pm

Malcolm Leo’s documentary “The Beach Boys: An American Band” (1985) showed here. Janet Maslin reviewed the film in the November 22, 1985 edition of The New York Times.

RRF
RRF on July 7, 2013 at 7:50 pm

I remember meeting Richard Schwartz when he was operating the Thalia. What a passionate person when it came to film. He had a bed in a storage area so I assumed he must have camped out in the cinema. I remember the old screen speaker ( Western Electric? ) in use….he said it was cheaper to keep it running than to endure the labor cost to replace it.

cblanc10708
cblanc10708 on August 30, 2013 at 1:38 pm

I was wondering if anyone has an old Thalia Theater program that can be scanned and emailed to me. Thanks

mfarricker_1
mfarricker_1 on April 7, 2014 at 9:10 pm

I have fond memories of the Thalia theater. It was located on ninety fifth street around the corner from the Symphony theater, which was on Broadway. I frequented both these movie houses as a teenager. The Symphony showed mostly English films and many old classics. The Thalia showed mostly foreign films and some silent movies, too. I was enthralled with all of them and I learned so much about life and the world from them. I usually went by myself, because most of my friends were not interested in those films. It was not unusual to be sitting next to a celebrity, in the Thalia. I remember seeing Tony Randall and many other actors in that theater and around that area. Our neighborhood was full of people from the stage and screen. Sometimes, when I still walk past that corner I get a sense of loss when I don’t see the little Thalia, tucked in among the dull towering buildings. I know that the Symphony is still providing some civilized entertainment, with book readings, but my old celluloid friends are all gone and I miss them. Now, in the twilight of my life, I often wonder if the wrecking ball really was a good thing.

WalterM
WalterM on June 26, 2014 at 12:51 pm
I was 14, and the world was 1957, when I saw my first Janus film – Cocteau’s Blood of a Poet – and the logo of the two-faced Roman god is forever twinned for me with the experience of sitting in the small Thalia Theater on Manhattan’s West 95th Street. For some reason, perhaps to do with the underlying geology, the floor of the Thalia slanted upward toward the screen, in direct contradiction of every other movie theater in the world. With that extra pressure on our backs, the audience at the Thalia was poised, like the crew aboard a rocket ship, to take off into another world. The flickering appearance of Janus was the countdown to launch.
                
                     My neighborhood theater, the Nemo, at 110th street and Broadway, showed the usual twice-weekly double-bills coming out of Hollywood. I went there often enough, especially when I was younger, for the Saturday showings of serials, cartoons, and newsreels presided over by stern matrons with flashlights for billy-sticks.
                
                     My reactions to the movies I saw at the Nemo were like my feelings about the weather, or landscapes glimpsed from a train: I liked some of them, and was disappointed, mystified or oppressed by others. But strange to say, I never thought of those films as the result of human effort: like any natural phenomena, they simply were and could not be otherwise.
                
                     Films with the Janus logo, however, began to awake something else in me which I couldn’t put my finger on, but over and over again they drew me back to the Thalia. Finally, in 1958, I saw Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, and things fell into place. Bergman’s vision was so distinctive that I left the theater shaken by the self-evident realization:  somebody made that film. Intellectually, of course, I had been vaguely aware of this, but now it hit me emotionally. with full force. I still can recall that twenty-block walk back home to 119th and Riverside, dazedly repeating: somebody made that film.
                
                     The unspoken corollary was that if somebody made a film, I could make a film. The Thalia had provided the crack in the cosmic egg through which I might be able to squeeze. But the idea was too much for a fifteen year-old with no family connections to the film industry, and so it lay dormant for a number of years until finally erupting.
                  
debsutherland
debsutherland on December 6, 2014 at 4:53 am

Thank you for all your comments. I am the daughter of the Martin and Ursula Lewis, who ran the Thalia and programmed all the films there from the 1930s to 1973. This was truly its heyday.

bobob
bobob on December 7, 2014 at 4:45 am

debsutherland: Do you have a copy of the summer movie list from the 50’s/early 60’s. It had wonderful double features of the best movies ever. It was printed on large heavy paper that was folded into a compact size. If you do I would love to see a copy of the same. Bob OBrien. I can be reached at; Thanks.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater