United Palace of Cultural Arts

4140 Broadway,
New York, NY 10033

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United Palace

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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 theater became home to Christ United Church, founded by the late evangelist Reverend Ike, and is 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.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 246 comments)

theatrefan
theatrefan on February 11, 2015 at 10:17 am

Was here on Sunday for “The Sweet Smell Of Success”, this theatre is very similar to the Landmark (Loew’s State) in Syracuse NY. It is maintained in meticulous condition & truly a stunning sight to behold. I encourage everyone to can to try to make it up to see this Wonder theatre, it’s well worth the trip! Also on February 22nd it will be 85 years old! Happy Birthday United Palace!

theatrefan
theatrefan on February 12, 2015 at 10:27 am

In the 1999 WNET-TV channel 13 Special A Walk Up Broadway with David Hartman and Historian Barry Lewis, the visit the 175th Street, go into the original projection room & fire up the old projection equipment & of course everything still worked, exactly like it did way back in 1969, when it was a Loew’s House. They don’t make stuff like they used to anymore.

markp
markp on February 12, 2015 at 11:04 am

theatrefan, is there any link to that show on youtube or somewhere else?

theatrefan
theatrefan on February 12, 2015 at 11:14 am

markp, unfortunately not, but I believe they sell the video on the tv stations website. Perhaps someone has that clip and can post it for us on youtube. The only tour show I recorded was when the played the Wurlitzer organ at the Brooklyn Paramount Theatre.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 7, 2015 at 5:23 pm

I know this is late notice, but tonight, April 7th, at 8:30, WNYE-TV channel 25 will be airing an episode of their Blueprint NYC series devoted to the Loew’s Wonder Theaters. If you miss it, you may be able to watch the episode at their website after it has aired.

NYer
NYer on April 7, 2015 at 7:01 pm

The 2002 comedy “The Guru” starring Jimi Mistry, Heather Graham & Marisa Tomei filmed a big Bollywood number here. Screen shots in photo section.

guarina
guarina on May 9, 2015 at 9:02 pm

I remember Loew’s 175th from 1951 and it was still a theater in 1957. The “Big Three” railroad-car style diner was across 175th Street, there was a photo studio across Broadway. My cousin worked as an usher there while in high school.

guarina
guarina on May 9, 2015 at 9:03 pm

How depressing! I think I saw “Giant” with Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor there in an early February, there was a heavy snowfall.

guarina
guarina on May 9, 2015 at 9:07 pm

Tinseltoes, Then it must have been the RKO Coliseum. I remember Broadway was blocked by the snow, it was February 1st, we took a taxi coming out of the theater, but the driver stopped in front of the Presbyterian Medical Center and told us to get off, he couldn’t go on.

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.

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