Empire Theater

2094 Richmond Terrace,
Staten Island, NY 10302

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Garth on November 4, 2012 at 6:27 pm

The theatre has now been transformed into a church. The lower half of the facade has been renovated and there is now a set of wooden double doors at the entrance. I did not see any name of the facility, there is still a Farrell Lumber sign on the side of the building. Unknown if it has opened for services.

Garth on March 9, 2011 at 10:46 am

The other day I passed by on the bus. The doors were wide open , and it looked like the interior was vacant. The marquee is gone. I think someone bought it and may be preparing it for demolition….

AdamBomb1701 on May 5, 2009 at 8:40 am

I’m quite sure that the Empire was showing porn even back in the late sixties, Garth. I turned 14 in 1968, and the theater ran porn all my young life. Except for the brief time it ran regular movies in 1977 I mentioned above. I wish the lobby poster in the 1968 shot was visible, but I’d bet the farm the theater ran porn in ‘68.

Garth on April 24, 2009 at 7:20 am

That’s a great photo Lost. Any idea what kind of movies they were showing? I notice the marquee says open evenings only , but I don’t think they started showing porn until the early ‘70s…

AdamBomb1701 on April 13, 2009 at 10:13 am

Here’s an article from the S.I. Advance about the local theaters of yesteryear. The “Empire” is mentioned.

View link

Garth on March 27, 2009 at 7:10 pm

Maybe someone will resurrect it as a “dirty movie” theatre…..

dangel on March 21, 2009 at 7:33 pm

Hi. Leo also had a storefront built on Port Richmond Avenue, located at 112-114 Port Richmond Ave – now ZAZA’s Thrift shop. His mansion once stood on the same site. Perhaps SI’s James Whitford is the architect? He was known for these types of buildings. I am involved with efforts to landmark its exterior. Th neighboring church- the Dutch Reformed Church is on the NY state register and nominated to be a city landmark. For more updates visit www.sitreasure.com/Blog

AdamBomb1701 on March 13, 2009 at 1:05 pm

Farrell Lumber has closed its doors, and is now out of business. This occurred sometime around March 1, 2009.

View link

TwnMt on May 24, 2008 at 6:54 pm

Does anyone remember my grandfather, Harry Allen? He ran the place during the 50’s when women received free dishes and kids movies were shown. He was a great guy.

AdamBomb1701 on March 11, 2008 at 10:48 am

Yes Garth, I’m positive it was the Empire. I even took my friend Jim to “Black Sunday” (it was my third trip to see that movie) and I saw another guy at the movie that I remembered from high school. I was surprised when the theater dropped the porn films it had run since I was a kid (it would run them again in short order.) By the way, the first flick under the dollar policy was Streisand’s “A Star Is Born,” sometime in the spring of 1977. I don’t remember what the last one was.

Garth on November 24, 2007 at 2:22 pm

Adam , not to dispute your comments , but I followed these theatres closely back then and I don’t recall this policy. Are you sure it was the Empire?

Yves Marchand
Yves Marchand on November 24, 2007 at 8:56 am

We went to the Empire Theater two weeks ago and the friendly boss of Farrell Lumber company accepted us to go inside the auditorium.
It’s used as storage but keeped its original ceiling with little ornaments, even if the theater had a very simple design.
Projector room is still there too but was stripped from any projectors or original artifacts.

AdamBomb1701 on November 15, 2007 at 11:42 am

I never saw porn at the Empire, but I sure remember it. For a brief time in 1977, in between stints as a porn house, they ran regular movies, albeit third or fourth-runs. I saw “Annie Hall” and “Black Sunday” there, for a dollar per film. The place was really seedy, and poorly attended. And although “Black Sunday” was a wide-screen film, the screen didn’t open wide to accomodate it. I guess the “dollar-a-film” policy didn’t work, because by the end of 1977, the theater went back to running porn. It closed soon afterward, when Farrell Lumber took it over.

Garth on June 11, 2006 at 8:34 am

a buddy who deals with farrell lumber tells me he’s been in the theatre , all remnants (seats , etc.) of being a movie theatre are gone and it is strictly a storage area. he said you would never know (from inside) that it was once a theatre. too bad….

Garth on June 6, 2006 at 12:17 pm

i recently attended the film festival at the st. george and spent most of the time admiring the spectacular theatre. i started to think of how many of these magnificent movie palaces ended their life as porno houses . the empire was the only one on s.i. to go out that way. i only visited twice as a teen , it was showing porn and i recall it being non-descript , but then it was hard to tell because they kept it pitch-dark in there…..

Garth on November 5, 2005 at 10:25 am

while driving by today i actually stopped and got a good look at the exterior of the Empire , it is in surprisingly good shape compared to other shuttered theatres. i suppose farrell lumber maintains it well since it is a storage facility. i was hoping the employees would be going in to retrieve supplies , i was going to ask to have a look around as a movie theatre enthusiast . maybe next time…..

Garth on December 7, 2004 at 1:28 pm

i drove by the other day and the former theatre is still in use as a storage area for farrell lumber.

Garth on August 11, 2004 at 5:21 pm

i fondly recall seeing my first x-rated flick there, at age 16 (they werent too concerned about patrons being 21 ). my buddies were annoyed there was no concession stand. a part of the ceiling near the screen collapsed during the screening. the theatre closed about a week later.

William on November 14, 2003 at 6:01 pm

The Empire Theatre seated 775 people.

Jean on February 13, 2003 at 2:22 am

Formerly known as Leo’s Empire.