United Palace of Cultural Arts

4140 Broadway,
New York, NY 10033

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United Palace Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The fifth and last of the Loew’s “Wonder Theatres” to be built in New York, Loew’s 175th Street Theatre was thought to be the most elaborate of architect Thomas Lamb’s endeavors. Originally seating 3,444 when it opened on February 22, 1930, the exterior of the building is in the style of a spectacular Neo-Assyrian fortress, taking up an entire city block, and has decorative features around the entire building. The walls of the auditorium are embellished with Indo-Chinese decoration, designed by Manhattan decorative specialist Harold Rambusch, which are perforated and have an ever-changing kaleidoscope of colored hidden lights behind. The foyer features a palatial staircase leading to a grandiose, aurora borealis headed by a goddess decoration, all in the style of a gaudy Hindu temple. The Loew’s 175th Street Theatre is the only ‘Wonder Theatre’ to retain its original Robert Morton 4 manual 23 ranks ‘Wonder’ organ in situ. Loew’s closed the 175th Street Theatre in March 1969.

The theatre became home to Christ United Church, founded by the late evangelist Reverend Ike, and was known as The Palace Cathedral for church services. In recent years it has also been used as a concert venue and is known as the United Palace when booked for such events.

In June 2013 a fundraising campaign was begun to purchase a digital projector, which will be used to screen independent, foreign and classic movies. This project was successful, and the first movie screened in the theatre for over 44 years is “Casablanca” on November 17, 2013. It is equipped with a 4k DCP projector, a 50ft wide screen and 5.1 surround sound. In July 2017 it was announced the Robert Morton organ would be removed from the building by the New York Theatre Organ Society to undergo a complete overhaul.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 255 comments)

NYer
NYer on May 10, 2015 at 6:30 pm

Jamie Foxx, Quvenzhané Wallis & Rose Byrne filmed a movie premiere party scene in the lobby here for the 2014 “Annie”. Shot in photo section.

JAlex
JAlex on August 11, 2016 at 9:02 am

Brief lobby area shot appears in Woody Allen’s “Café Society.” Shot passes for a Hollywood movie palace.

npalmer
npalmer on August 28, 2016 at 3:02 am

This YouTube clip shows the organ console being presented on stage prior to restoration. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBJFNGj6Puw&feature=youtu.be

Lou_Lumenick
Lou_Lumenick on December 9, 2016 at 10:31 am

Just a note that I will be introducing “The Wizard of Oz'‘ here on Dec. 11. It’s the third film that will be shown with a much-upgraded sound system donated by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who introduced "Mary Poppins’‘ at the Palace in October. There’s an admission charge for the "Oz’‘ screenings, but there is a free open house from 12 to 4, including tours at 1:30 and 2:30.

Lou_Lumenick
Lou_Lumenick on December 9, 2016 at 10:34 am

Correction: It was the spectacular new DCP program system that was donated by Mr. Miranda. They are raising funds for the great new sound system, part of which is already there on approval.

MarkA
MarkA on July 17, 2017 at 2:22 pm

GREAT NEWS! The New York Theatre Organ Society (NYTOS) has removed the theatre’s Robert Morton Wonder Organ for a top-to-bottom as-built restoration. This was the last of Wonder Organs built by the former Robert Morton Organ Company of Van Nuys CA. NYTOS has a special website about “Restoring the Wonder.” It can be found at: http://www.restoringthewonder.org/. The website is fabulous and should not be missed. When the Morton is reinstalled in the theatre, the number of New York City’s playing theatre organ original installations will increase to three, the other two being the Radio City Music Hall (Wurlitzer) and the now being restored Brooklyn Paramount Theater (Wurlitzer).

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on July 17, 2017 at 7:25 pm

website says Sept 10 City Lights with live organ. Will that still be held?

Orlando
Orlando on September 13, 2017 at 8:03 am

The Sept. 10 screening of “City Lights” drew over 600 customers, some first time visitors were in awe of the theatre. It was preceeded by a Chaplin short “By The Sea” which was accompanied by the original organ on the lift which has been electrified. Thanks Mike Fitelstein.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on May 21, 2018 at 6:10 am

The 2018 schedule is below:

Jan 28: Wall-E

Feb 11: My Fair Lady

March 25: Metropolis

April 29: On The Waterfront

May 6: Aliens

June 3: Inside Out

Aug 19: Lawrence of Arabia

Sept 16: Sister Act

Oct 28: The Exorcist

Nov: Annual Gala Screening

Dec 16: It’s a Wonderful Life

Past movies include:

2017

Mar 5: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Apr 2: Blade Runner (2007)

May 7: The Sound of Music

June 5: Dog Day Afternoon

June 25: Coming to America

Aug 6: Jaws

Sept 10: City Lights (with live organ)

Oct 29: Night of the Living Dead

Nov 19 (Annual Movie Gala): Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

Dec 17: It’s a Wonderful Life

2016

“It’s a Wonderful Life” with pre-show caroling and introduction by Donna Reed’s daughter Mary Owen

“The Wizard of Oz” introduced by New York Post Chief Film Critic Lou Lumenick

“Mary Poppins” with pre-show thank you to Lin-Manuel Miranda

“Fiddler on the Roof” with pre-show mini-concert by musicians from the Broadway revival, including violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins

Opening night of the Dominican Film Festival of New York with the international premiere of “La Familia Reyna” (The Reyna Family)

“Wild Style” with Q&A by director Charlie Ahearn and a pre-show breakdance

“Singing in the Rain” with song and dance routine by the Bathtub Ginnys

And a vintage clothing fashion show

“Frozen” with a magic show by Queen Elsa

2015

“Miracle on 34th Street” as part of “The Women of Fox Film Festival” with the Fort Lee Film Commission

“Seven Year Itch” as part of “The Women of Fox Film Festival” with the Fort Lee Film Commission

“Phantom of the Opera” with live organ, mini concert by Broadway performers, and costume parade

“Down Argentine Way” as part of “The Women of Fox Film Festival” with the Fort Lee Film Commission

“A Fool There Was” & “Bright Eyes” as part of “The Women of Fox Film Festival” with the Fort Lee Film

“Mad Hot Ballroom” The 10-year anniversary and reunion

“Selma” and Q&A with Amelia Boynton Robinson

“On the Town" with Lou Lumenick and mini concert by cast members from the Broadway show

“Rear Window” with Lou Lumenick and a vintage clothing fashion show

“Sweet Smell of Success” with Lou Lumenick

“Moonstruck” with Lou Lumenick

2014

“It’s a Wonderful Life” with Donna Reed’s daughter Mary Owen

“Elf” with youth performances by Broadway Performing Arts Center

“Frankenstein” with Gary Lucas performing the world premiere of his new score

“Guys and Dolls” with Lin-Manuel Miranda and mini concert by Broadway performers

“The Fisher King” with Lin-Manuel Miranda and writer Richard LaGravenese

“Manhattan” with Lin-Manuel Miranda and assistant director Fred Blankfein

“The Warriors” with Lin-Manuel Miranda and Lemon Anderson

“King Kong” with John Landis and Lin-Manuel Miranda

“Ghostbusters” with Lin-Manuel Miranda, David Margulies (Mayor Lenny), and “real life” Ghostbusters

“West Side Story” with Rita Moreno and Lin-Manuel Miranda

“The Muppets Take Manhattan” with Lin-Manuel Miranda and actor/director Lonny Price

2013

“Casablanca” with Lou Lumenick and a celebration of the Return of Film to the Palace

The U.S. premiere of “200 Cartas”

“Celebrating Sousa in Film and Musical Theatre”

The Best of the Dominican Film Festival

The World Premiere of “Trouble in the Heights”e the official website changes-

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on May 21, 2018 at 6:11 am

Article- https://www.6sqft.com/behind-the-scenes-at-the-united-palace-theatre-washington-heights-opulent-wonder-theatre/

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