Loew's Delancey Theatre

140-146 Delancey Street,
New York, NY 10002

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Loew's Delancey Theatre

Located next door to the historic Ratner’s dairy restaurant, the Loew’s Delancey Street Theatre 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 theatre and the surrounding neighborhood declined. Loew’s Delancey Theatre was closed around May 1976.

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

The current condition of the theatre’s interior is unknown, though it’s probably safe to assume most, if not all, of the theatre 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 theatre 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 48 comments)

bassmanbobby
bassmanbobby on March 30, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Still trying to find new pictures!

artwong
artwong on October 15, 2013 at 3:07 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
AndrewBarrett on December 27, 2014 at 10:28 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!

theatrefan
theatrefan on February 6, 2015 at 7:12 pm

Are there any photo’s out there of the inside of this theatre?, I also wonder if there is anything left of the original auditorium & balcony inside, some say there is still some stuff intact inside. Makes me wonder.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 7, 2015 at 2:31 am

AndrewBarrett: It has just occurred to me that johndousmanis was probably talking about standpipe pumps, which were part of a theater’s built-in firefighting equipment, required by law in New York. It wouldn’t have had anything to do with the organ. Standpipe is another name for a fire hydrant.

theatrefan: I’ve just noticed in Street View that there is a white square with an X through it painted on the front wall of the theater, with the words “ABOVE STORE.” I wonder if that could be an indication that the building is vacant above the first floor? It’s quite possible that in this neighborhood, which was very low rent for a long time, only the ground floor was ever converted for other uses.

No new windows have been cut into the upper parts of the walls, so it certainly wasn’t converted into offices. In fact a few old windows (maybe for the mezzanine lounge, manager’s office, or rest rooms) that must have been part of the original design have been sealed up. I’d say the chances are pretty good that something remains of the upper part of the theatre.

theatrefan
theatrefan on February 8, 2015 at 8:53 am

Joe, I have checked the NYC Department of Buildings information system website, it does not look like any demolition permits were issued for the upper levels. So there might be a good chance that some of the original aspects of the Delancey as a Movie Theatre could indeed exist in the upper portions of the building.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on March 8, 2016 at 8:46 pm

Circa 1962 photo added courtesy of the AmeriCar The Beautiful Facebook page. Marquee on the far right. Great pic if you like picking out automobiles.

theatrefan
theatrefan on March 19, 2017 at 6:29 pm

In an old issue of the THS publication “Marquee” from 1982 it was mentioned that part the original neon Loew’s marquee logo from the Delancey wound up in the Century Restaurant on West 43rd off Times Square it filled the entire back wall of the bar. Does anybody here know what ever happened to it after?

jordanlage
jordanlage on March 19, 2018 at 9:09 pm

And now, the Sunshine is gone, too.

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on March 20, 2018 at 4:14 pm

Theatrefan – There’s nothing left of the interior. Not sure when it was removed though.

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