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 236 comments)

Bway on October 22, 2013 at 5:28 pm

I sure would like to try, but not sure.. I am kicking myself for not going to the Ridgewood theater some years ago when there was a group of people here going. No one would have thought it would have closed soon after. Casablanca, It’s a good choice of movie too. A shame Star Wars or Wizard of Oz, the first two choices weren’t possible due to licensing, as I can see how those would have been the first two choices. Casablanca is a good third choice though….it’s also a classic.

kidblast on November 12, 2013 at 7:47 am

If only a handful of Facebook.com users attend it should be very, very crowded on November 17th!

kidblast on November 13, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Tinseltoes: Please, picky, picky, picky ….

markp on November 14, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Hello. Perhaps LuisV or someone can help me. I am hoping to make it there Sunday. The only thing that would stand in my way is work. My question is, Im coming from Jersey. I would be taking a bus to the port authority. From there (besides taxi) how would I get there? I really do not want to drive into the city. Any help greatly appreciated.

AlAlvarez on November 14, 2013 at 5:14 pm

Markp, take the “A"or the "C” train from the Port authority NORTH to 168th street and then walk up to 176th Street on Broadway.

markp on November 16, 2013 at 5:41 am

Thanks much AlAverez. As luck would have it I am now working, but have made a note of how to get there in the future. Thanks again.

LuisV on November 18, 2013 at 10:12 am

I went to the showing of Casablanca last night and it was a roaring success. Announced attendance was over 1,100 people! They had to open the balcony to handle the crowd. A large number of people came in Black Tie and Gowns in the spirit of Rick’s Cafe (and the free admission to those who did). The theater is spectacular! They announced that regularly scheduled classics would begin in 2014 with curating help from Lin Manuel Miranda, the genius behind the amazing “In The Heights!” The fist series will be films which highlight New York and the first one to be shown will be “The Muppets Take Manhattan!”

robboehm on February 14, 2014 at 11:53 am

Loew’s 175 Street opened on February 22, 1930 (in those days the George Washington National Holiday). It was the last of the “wonder theatres” in the NY-NJ area; preceded by the Valencia, Paradise, Kings and Jersey City. See opening ad in the photos section.

Lou_Lumenick on January 8, 2015 at 8:50 am

I will be hosting a free screening of “Moonstruck'‘ at the United Palace with my special guest, author Farran Nehme ("Missing Reels’‘) at 5 p.m. this Sunday (Jan. 11). If you can’t make that, I’ll be back with free screenings of "Sweet Smell of Success’‘ (with James Wolcott of Vanity Fair, Feb. 8) and "Rear Window’‘ on March 8. You’re all invited!

More info: http://unitedpalace.org/upca

Bway on January 8, 2015 at 12:25 pm

The theater is now called United Palace of Cultural Arts, and should probably be changed in the main heading above:


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