Riviera Theatre

2575 Broadway,
New York, NY 10025

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Showing 1 - 25 of 29 comments

Movieplace on March 18, 2014 at 12:38 pm

The chase goes by twice. Many is the time I framed by framed on the VHS release of this picture. Thank god for DVDs. A bit of geographic cheating going on. But hills are almost obligatory in a car chase (thanks Steve McQueen)and there is a hill starting at Amsterdam Avenue.

peltz on March 18, 2014 at 5:06 am

actually, the riverside.

peltz on March 18, 2014 at 5:05 am

In the movie The Seven Ups the car chase goes by this theater.

Movieplace on May 12, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Ed, I put some pictures on the Riverside Theater page as well.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 30, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Thanks, Movieplace, for this and that.

It’s too bad that there isn’t a way for CT to notify when there is an update (such as new photo upload) for specific theaters, in addition to notifying when a new comment is added to a subscribed thread.

Movieplace on September 28, 2011 at 7:01 pm

I love the new picture. I grew up nearby and I remember the stores were occupied up til the end. So this must be close to the end. There was a Barton’s Candy store and a liquor store that I clearly remember in addition to “Chess City” and the “Eat Shoppe” on the corner of 96th street. Years ago I met the son of the owner of that liquor store. He is a few years older than me and told me tales of his explorations of these beautiful theaters.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 8, 2010 at 4:39 am

Here are two small photos depicting the Riverside and Riviera theaters, featured in an ad for the builder, Libman Contracting Company, from the Year book of the Architectural League of New York, 1914.

The Riviera was builtin 1913, by the way, not 1912. The Riverside was built in 1911.

AlAlvarez on February 26, 2010 at 3:14 am

The last movie ad I could find for the Riviera was for a martial arts and exploitation double feature of “The Screaming Tiger” and “Black Mama, White Mama” in November of 1973.

AlAlvarez on October 1, 2009 at 3:09 pm

I believe a glimpse of the Riviera and Riverside marquees can be seen in the 1962 version of “The Manchurian Candidate” as Frank Sinatra and Janet Leigh take a taxi ride home from the police station.

Can anyone confirm it was these two theatres?

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 25, 2007 at 6:08 pm

The introduction needs correcting. William Fox (not the Shuberts) built the Riviera. Please see Weldon Durham’s post above of 9/27/05 for confirmation of that, and the later deal that Fox made with the Shuberts for booking and operating the Riviera.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 25, 2007 at 5:59 pm

After a 74-week reserved-seat run at Loew’s State on Broadway, “Ben-Hur” had its first Upper West Side engagement here in July 1961, day-and-date with Loew’s Orpheum on the Upper East Side: www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/wyler61.jpg

Movieplace on September 30, 2005 at 8:21 pm

Dear Lost Memory,

how do you happen to come by this information. I am, you may have noticed, alittle obsessed with the Riverside and Riviera theaters. Is there some source that I have missed?


durhamw on September 27, 2005 at 2:26 pm

I don’t know, but you can email MaryAnn Chach, the curator of the Shubert Archive, and ask her. If you’re in New York City, they’re quite accessible on the 4th floor of the Lyceum Theatre on 45th Street. Try

Movieplace on September 27, 2005 at 12:53 pm

Are there any photos of the Riviera in the Shubert Archives?

durhamw on September 27, 2005 at 11:31 am

Records in the Shubert Archives indicate that William Fox owned the Riviera. From 1918 to 1923, the Shuberts had a profit-sharing booking contract with Fox whereby a Shubert subsidiary, the Sam S. Shubert Amusement Company, booked attractions into the Riviera for 50% of the net receipts. Shubert Theatrical Company leased the theatre from Fox in 1923 for $40,000 per year. They extended the lease in 1926 and terminated it in 1931. The Riviera became the Shubert Riviera in 1923.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 18, 2005 at 3:25 pm

The 1945 edition of the Motion Picture Theatre Directory published by the New York Film Board of Trade gives an address for the Riviera Theatre of 2575 Broadway. The Riverside’s address is reported as 2563 Broadway. No more specific address than Broadway & 97th Street is provided for the Japanese Garden (above the Riviera), which is reported as “closed.”

Lostnyc on August 14, 2005 at 11:20 pm

These theaters were abandoned, and then torn down when I was 16 (1976) and I entered both theaters several times over a period of time.
I removed one of the white glazed terra cotta Columbia face keystones over the marquis on the top floor of what was “Chess city”. and I removed a mohogany newel post cabinet from the Japanese Rootop Garden.
Under the newel post which had a door and cabinet inside it, I found some old ticket stubs, a progran featuring Theda Barra and a 1910 Mercury Dime.
I also removed a small stained glass window from the Riverside’s staircase that was about 10" x 12" with just a flower in it.

I rememevr the Japanese rooftop theater was totally destroyed by vandals, the pipe organ console and a piano in the pit or stage area were smashed and wrecked.

As I remember, the organ was in a loft room on the left and I rememver taking home a few of the smaller wood pipes, the rest of the pipes I believe were still there.
From one of the posts of that loft room I removed a plaster duck head.

I have a couple of rather poor instamatic shots of both buildings, always looking to add more if anyone has any;

View link

View link

Movieplace on June 9, 2005 at 4:20 pm

I believe that Peter Weir’s Walabout opened there (or The Riverside) because I saw it accidently when I was 9 with my little bother who was 4 or 5. I do not think the UA staff asked for proof of age at that time.

RobertR on June 9, 2005 at 3:44 am

It seems this was a very popular theatre for all of the showcase runs starting in the early 60’s. When “A Countess From Hong King” opened on 6/7/67 at Universal Premiere Presentation houses the UA Riviera was one of them along with Alpine, Harris 42 St, Loews Orpheum and Loews Sheridan. In the Bronx at Loews American, Brandt’s Luxor, Riverdale Cinema and UA Valentine. The Brooklyn theatres were Centurys Avalon, Loews Kings, Loews Oriental and Randforce Ridgewood. Queens had Interboro’s Elmwood, Century’s Meadows and Loews Triboro. Staten Island had one theatre Fabian’s Island. Nassau County had six theatres B.S. Moss Central, UA Cove, Century’s Grove, Century’s Roosevelt Field, UA Squire and Fox Plaza Twin North.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on June 25, 2004 at 6:18 pm

Some of the introductory information is incorrect. William Fox built all three theatres. During a brief period in the 1920s, he made a deal with the Shuberts to run the Riviera with vaudeville and stage plays. The attempt was unsuccessful and the Riviera reverted to Fox management…The Riviera and its upstairs Japanese Garden were built by Thomas Lamb at the same time as he was working on a similar duplex for Loew’s in Toronto, Canada. The two ground theatres were similar in design, but the upstairs ones were radically different. Toronto’s Winter Garden replicated the outdoors with trees, flowers, and plants. The Riviera’s Japanese Garden was very exotic, with curved Chinese roofs over the sidewall boxes and proscenium arch, stained glass windows depicting an oriental landscape, scores of Japanese lanterns hanging from the red and green ceiling, and a huge mural of Mount Fuji.

SethLewis on June 22, 2004 at 8:11 pm

These theatres were great Westside showcases for Columbia, Fox and Universal product until the early 70’s…Easy Rider ran for months in subrun at one or the other theater…do acknowledge they were separate entities and not a twin

nycmovieplace on June 22, 2004 at 5:32 pm

Warren is correct. These theatres were built seperatly and served different functions. The Riverside was much larger than the Riveiera. Like Jean, the last movie I saw there was American Grafitti (16 times). I was devastated by the loss of these two theaters. I have been obsessivley Searching for pictures and I finally have slides of them. I have also seen the original floor plans for these theaters. Drawn by Thomas Lamb on linen, these works of art are at the Avery Archecture Library at Columbia University.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 15, 2004 at 9:41 pm

These were entirely separate theatres. They should not be listed together as if they were twins.

JimRankin on April 15, 2004 at 9:08 pm

There is now a page on his site for the JAPANESE GARDENS theatre:

William on November 17, 2003 at 9:35 pm

The Riverside Theatre was located at 2561 Broadway and it seated 1710 people. The Riviera Theatre seated 1718 people.