Loew's Delancey Theater

140-146 Delancey Street,
New York, NY 10002

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Loew's Delancey Theater

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located next door to the historic Ratner dairy, the Delancey Theater was once a cornerstone of life on New York’s Lower East Side. It was built in 1911, opening in 1912. But, with the later rush to the suburbs, the theater and the surrounding neighborhood declined.

Today, the theater is closed, and has been converted to retail space. Specifically, the front facade and first level of the theater are now occupied by four different tenants, including a Burger King, Subway, and Children’s Place store. A sign on the theater’s exterior indicates the upper floors are also available for rent.

The current condition of the theater’s interior is unknown, though it’s probably safe to assume most, if not all, of the theater is gutted.

Sadly, the Lower East Side, even today, remains dramatically under-screened. Until the February 2002 opening of the Sunshine Theatre, there was not a single movie theater on the Lower East Side and the nearest multiplex or megaplex was at least 15 minutes away.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 41 comments)

mhantholz on May 20, 2010 at 10:54 pm

Loew’s DELANCEY [natives pronounced it “Lowee’s, btw—-you did too if you didn’t want to get tabbed as an auslander]was THE REAL DEAL for action double-features 1960s-70s. It was like Times Square come to the Lower East Side [=L.E.S.]. HUGE screen, master-blaster sound system and balcony made for a well-spent $1.25 [early show]. Saw the best double-feature of the early 1970s there: "Hammer Of God” with “Hatchet For The Honeymoon”—-top-shelf Shaw Bros. kung-fu with Mario Bava horror. Gets no better. Now they pay $20 to sit in a cracker-box and watched feature-length model shoots [hawk-ptoo]

robert59 on September 16, 2010 at 10:38 am

does anyone know about beauty pagents held at the theatre in the late 1940s, i was told my mom was “miss Loews Delancey” in about 1947

celaniasdawn on March 25, 2011 at 5:43 pm

There was a movie made a long time ago with Marlo Thomas called Thieves (if I remember right) and she would say in the movie how she used to go to the Lowes Delancey. There is a brief shot of the interior of the theater, showing the stage and the asbestos fire curtain down halfway, the curtain had Lowes Delancey on it.

celaniasdawn on March 25, 2011 at 5:45 pm

I meant Loew’s not Lowes sorry

SinatraHandball on March 26, 2011 at 9:29 pm

Bittersweet nostalgia. Growing up on the Lower East Side meant the Loew’s Delancey was the movie theater of choice during my teenage years during the 60’s. Although the Loew’s Canal theater was in close proximity, this theater was situated on a “main street” as it meant good food as well as convenient shopping (in addition to street fare on Orchard, Essex, Clinton.)

I remember watching James Bond double features, Von Ryan’s Express, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Duel at Diablo, A Guide for the Married Man, The Battle of The Bulge, to name a few (good movies.)

Strange, I remember movie going weekend afternoons with my adolescent friends, eating the food there, laughing, carrying on, but not being admonished by adults for doing so. I think kids made up all most of the audience during the day. As an aging adult, these days I couldn’t tolerate such a distraction.

Every time I past by and see the outer building it’s like looking at a ghostly hulk of a sunken ship. Quite heart breaking as this area still doesn’t have a decent movie complex in addition to empty undeveloped lots across the street.

For the past several years I’ve been getting ecstatic experiences of times past whenever I’ve gone to the restored Loew’s Jersey Theater (unashamed plug) in Jersey City, viewing classic films. The symmetry and decor inside is reminiscent of immense showcases like Delancey and the defunct 14 st. Academy of Music. The venue is a gigantic bonus to simply watching an old great film, say, as shown at Film Forum. The sound, the screen, all should be experienced by those with and without remembrances of what New York City used to have.

TLSLOEWS on March 27, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Thanks SinatraHandball.

bassmanbobby on March 30, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Still trying to find new pictures!

artwong on October 15, 2013 at 12:07 pm

The “historic Ratner deli” should be “historic Ratner’s dairy restaurant”. The dairy-only menu attracted observant Jews as well as non-observant fans of blintzes and cheesecake.

AndrewBarrett on December 27, 2014 at 7:28 pm

Dear Mr. Dousmanis and CinemaTreasures readers,
[By the way hello from a fellow AMICA member!] You mention being up in the upstairs part of this theatre, and specifically, “The top floors of the dressing rooms contained old air conditioning compressors and equipment. Well stripped by past junkies. There is more equipment under stage stand pipe pumps” Could any of this “equipment” or “pipe pumps” have been parts or pieces of the old Seeburg-Smith theatre pipe organ that was installed in this theatre?

According to “The Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ” by Mr. David L. Junchen, pg. 630, the “Delancey Street Th.” in New York, New York, originally had a Seeburg-Smith theatre pipe organ installed in 1921. This organ had a 5 horsepower Kinetic blower, serial #J169, which produced 10" of static wind pressure.

Although the book does not give the size (# of manuals, # of pipe ranks) of the organ (not known at the time of publication), my comparison of the data on known Smith organs shows that only the very largest organs the company built (10 to 16 ranks) had blowers that were 5 horsepower.

Most of the rest of the Smith organs that the various Smith companies installed from 1913-1928 (mostly 4 to 9 ranks) had blowers of 1 HP, 1 & ½ HP, 2 HP, and 3 HP sizes. Only a relative handful (about 10) of the 200 or so Smith organs built were known to have been 10 ranks or larger, or had a 5 HP or larger blower that would also indicate the size of the organ.

Does anybody know where the Seeburg-Smith organ from the Delancey Street Theatre, or its parts, is/are today? Thanks!

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