Loew's Canal Theatre

31 Canal Street,
New York, NY 10002

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View from the balcony

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Not much is known about this aging relic dating from September 1927, which is located on the far eastern end of Canal Street.

The theater is entered through a narrow entrance on Canal Street, which leads towards a large auditorium whose west wall is shared with a side street.

The theatre was opened and operated by Loew’s Theatres, until the 1960’s. Then, it became an ‘indie’ before it closed circa 1979-1980. Structurally, the theater appears to be in good shape. Exterior staircases on the side street are still present. Additionally, while shuttered, the theater has not yet been converted to retail space.

In 2010, hope was raised for the possible renovation of the long shuttered Loew’s Canal Theatre when the building’s current owners supported an effort by the Committee to Revitalize and Enrich the Arts and Tomorrow’s Economy(CREATE) to conduct a feasibility study for the conversion of the Canal Theatre into a multipurpose performance arts center. The group received $150,000 from the city for a feasibility study and $140.00 for additional studies.

Also that year, the facade of the lobby portion of the building was declared a city landmark. The auditorium was reported to be in remarkably good shape, with most of the decor intact.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 147 comments)

theatrefan
theatrefan on February 6, 2015 at 4:08 pm

Matt, Your photography of this palace is absoloutly amazing. I can’t wait to see your book on the Kings when it comes out. I used to go into the lobby when it was an electronics store, but they had so much stuff it was kind of hard to make a lot of the terra cotta details out, never got as far as the auditorium though.

theatrefan
theatrefan on February 12, 2015 at 9:54 am

Auditorium #10 in the Sony/Loews Theatres Lincoln Square complex on New York’s Upper West Side is named in honor of this former Loew’s Motion Picture Palace.

NYCer
NYCer on October 5, 2015 at 8:37 am

Walked by yesterday and saw a green box with an X inside it spray painted on the Canal Street sign. As I understand it, this is done by the Fire Dept. after an inspection to indicate a hazardous vacant building. The appearance of the box indicates the level of hazard. Plain box = entry permitted. Box with one diagonal line = proceed with extreme caution and make no heroics to save structure. Box w/ X = do not enter due to unsafe conditions which may have been caused by previous fire on building partial collapse. There are some numbers next to the box to identify the fire company that inspected. Didn’t see any markings like RO for roof out or FO for floor out. Seems like the owner is just letting the building rot.

theatrefan
theatrefan on October 5, 2015 at 9:23 am

Yes the place is crumbling away, here is some info from the NYC Department Of Buildings Site:

1) FIRE STARTED TO HEAT PIPES CAUSED PARTIAL COLLAPSE OF INT WA LLS, NO APPROVED PLANS ON SITE. STOP ALL WORK, ENTIRE SITE 2)TIE BACK ON METAL LATH & PLASTER WALL ROTTED CAUSING WALL TO BECOME UNSTABLE W/ THE POTENTIAL OF COLLAPSE.

Unless the owner does something soon, the inside will rot and fall away to nothing, like what happened to the Loew’s Pitkin.

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on March 24, 2017 at 7:44 am

The Canal is one of the 24 theaters in my new book, “After the Final Curtain: The Fall of the American Movie Theater,” which is available on Amazon or your local bookstore

Willburg145
Willburg145 on March 29, 2017 at 4:40 pm

I’m sure we can say goodbye to this theatre. The land is very valuable. Another damn apartment will replace it.

Willburg145
Willburg145 on March 29, 2017 at 4:50 pm

I found this on the Landmarks commission website.

http://a836-acris.nyc.gov/DS/DocumentSearch/DocumentImageView?doc_id=2012032000346001

MarkA
MarkA on May 4, 2017 at 6:51 pm

Matt … you book is a “must buy.” The Canal Theatre opened with a Wurlitzer organ. My theatre organ group, myself included, is restoring it. This is a link sbout the organ. Some of information, particularly about the second theatre were the organ was housed is outdated. http://theatreorgans.com/freestate/where_did_this_organ_come_from.htm.

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on May 5, 2017 at 6:43 am

Mark – That’s amazing that the organ console was sealed under cement for so many years. Thanks!

MarkA
MarkA on May 6, 2017 at 3:07 pm

Matt, you are welcome. Work continues every week on restoring the organ. However, a larger on is being rebuilt … with four keyboards.

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