Rialto Theatre

1481 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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1978 photo courtesy of Al Ponte's Time Machine - New York Facebook page.

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Originally on this site stood Oscar Hammerstein’s Victoria Theatre, which was demolished and a new movie theatre was erected, designed by Thomas Lamb and opened in 1916 as the Rialto Theatre.

The first Rialto Theatre was torn down and this second Rialto Theatre was built in 1935. The new Rialto Theatre was one of the new Art Deco style movie houses built in New York City.

The theater was also outfitted with a TV studio that was used by everyone from Gerald Rivera to Montel Williams.

The theater’s fortunes were often in sync with the vitality of Times Square for better or for worse. By the 1970’s, the Rialto Theatre became an adult house and then clung to life for the next two decades.

Finally and sadly, the theater was razed in 1998 to make way for the 30-story Reuters building.

Contributed by William Gabel, John Chappell

Recent comments (view all 119 comments)

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on October 19, 2010 at 5:33 am

Woody, I think that photo may have been just after the opening as the Warner. By the time it closed the 42nd Street marquee was long gone.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on December 26, 2010 at 8:26 am

Can you post the ad that you got that info from, Tinseltoes?

KingBiscuits on March 10, 2011 at 11:24 pm

The Cineplex Odeon run lasted from 6/12/1987 (opening with Predator) to 7/5/1990 (closing with The Hunt for Red October).

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on July 21, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Times Square porn theatres circa summer 1970.


rivoli157 on November 18, 2011 at 7:31 am

I believe this theatre had legit fare in the late 70s ,early 80s. “Musical Chairs”,“Marlowe” and a revival of the musical version of “Canterbury Tales”

Matthew Prigge
Matthew Prigge on November 17, 2012 at 11:14 am

If anyone has any stories about going to/ working at this threatre in its adult days, I would love to hear them. I am chronicling the histories of adult theatres in the US. Please contact me at Thanks!

DavidZornig on October 21, 2015 at 9:37 pm

1970 photo added courtesy of Al Ponte’s Time Machine – New York Facebook page.

Ed Miller
Ed Miller on November 5, 2015 at 10:37 am

“Cat People” played to packed houses at the Rialto in 1942, and was held over for many weeks. The Rialto audiences were considered “the most savvy movie-goers in the world”.

Ed Miller
Ed Miller on November 5, 2015 at 10:44 am

How odd that the Rialto is listed here as “closed,” and not “demolished”.

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