Cinema Manhasset

2124 Northern Boulevard,
Manhasset, NY 11030

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Not to be confused with the still open Manhasset Theatre, this single screen gem was a part of the upscale Miracle Mile shopping center on Northern Boulevard. Originally opened by Ruggoff Theatres in 1957, it was later absorbed by Cinema 5, the theatre showed art films after their exclusive East Side engagements.

Eventually the property was worth more to the mall to have an upscale tenant to reside along Tiffany and Gucci.

Contributed by Robert Rauschenbach

Recent comments (view all 23 comments)

RobertR
RobertR on October 17, 2005 at 12:41 am

In between art films the Cinema Manhasset would play a mainstream movie, but always a top notch film. In later years the policy would become a lot of average commercial things.

cheebalicious
cheebalicious on January 21, 2006 at 2:09 pm

I recall seeing D.A.R.Y.L. here with my grandparents – possibly the last movie I saw with my grandfather. Also remember I was supposed to see Young Sherlock Holmes with my grandmother – when we got to the theater, the poster was still up but the theater was locked. I think I remember a posting on the door saying they were closed permanently.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 31, 2006 at 12:26 pm

The architect was John J. MacNamara. The Rugoff & Becker theatre first opened on August 6, 1957, with “The Green Man,” a British comedy starring Alastair Sim. News reports claimed a seating capacity of 400, and 1,600 parking spaces in the shopping center in which the theatre was situated. The opening coincided with the 50th anniversary of circuit co-founder Herman Becker’s entry into show business. His first job was as an office boy with vaudeville’s Gus Edwards in 1907.

efriedmann
efriedmann on June 8, 2007 at 7:02 pm

This theater held a nice position amongst all the stores of the Miracel Mile; just a few stores away from Swensens ice cream parlor (now closed, too). I saw a STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK, BEVERLY HILLS COP (twice!), D.A.R.Y.L. and EUROPEAN VACATION before it innevitably closed.

cinepaul
cinepaul on October 2, 2007 at 1:40 am

Wasn’t this the most elegant little cinema on Long Island? After years of longing to go, I persuaded my Dad to take me – it was a double bill of “Winning” (Paul Newman racing cars, and competing with Robert Wagner for the affections of Joanne Woodward), and “Tell Them Willie Boy is Here” (Robert Redford and Katherine Ross, and Robert Blake in the title role). Only two seats in each of the side aisles (against the wall), and a black-and-silver motif. Of course, it was a Rugoff/Cinema 5 theater – the only one on LI – so it was like a Manhattan theater in the ‘burbs’. After I got a car in ‘74, I came here frequently – for the Lina Wertmuller hits (Love and Anarchy, Swept Away, Seven Beauties); Dona Flor and her Two Husbands (at which a friend of mine discovered that subtitles aren’t so bad!).

Wonderful place to see movies.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 2, 2007 at 2:35 am

Which store currently occupies the former cinema’s space in the mall? My mother worked for Rugoff back in the early ‘70’s. I was quite young at the time and only ever visited their offices once (to get our free passes to see the revival of the Marx Brothers’ “Animal Crackers” at the Sutton Theatre in Manhattan). I wish I had been a bit older and a bit more aware so I could have made sure my mom got her hands on some good memoribilia (like ads, lobby cards, etc.)!

jamienow
jamienow on September 15, 2009 at 6:16 pm

Yes, an elegant gem. Howard Ackely was the manager when I was working there in 80’s. He wore his black tuxedo every Saturday night, greeting patrons at arrival and running a tight ship. His Assistnat manager, Mary, was more of a Janis Joplin character with a big heart. Quite the polar opposites. A friend staged his garage band after hours on the stage one night and that placed rocked. My career was almost ended by the theme to Chariots of Fire that ran for something like 10 months straight. Diva was also a memorable showing. I was fired when the new manager, George, arrived who was probably alright but I hated that he was messing with our clubhouse. I still have my dark red initials that I salvaged from the marquee alphabet.

RandyHintz
RandyHintz on March 3, 2010 at 5:39 pm

Wow, those names bring back a lot of memories. I worked in the theater in the early 80’s. I split my time between the Garden City Park East, the New Hyde Park Alan, and the Cinema in Manhasset. Lots of great memories. I remember when “The Outsiders” played at the Cinema. I also remember bringing in my homemade mixed tapes to play during intermission. Worked a lot with both George and Mary. George loved his coffee from the diner across the street. Mary was a lot of fun to work with. I remember selling the Toblerone candy bars and Cappuccino at the snack stand. I believe we had the Berzerk video game in the lobby at the time. I wish I saved some of those marquee letters, I had fun putting up the new movie names when I worked there. I still have movie posters somewhere around the house.

bobpdx
bobpdx on September 5, 2010 at 6:00 am

I started at the Manhasset Cinema in the summer of 1979. Because it was in the shopping center it had to be open for matinees. The first movie I worked was “Tree of the Wooden Clogs”, a three hour movie about Italian peasants. We might get five people in a midweek matinee.
Howard and Mary were the odd couple but it all worked. I used to hide Mary’s cigarettes. I worked through my senior year of high school. Later Mr. Ackley would always find work for me when I came back for college breaks, I later worked for him again when he moved to the Roosevelt Field Theatre.
It was a fun place a work, so many good memories of people there.
It seems odd now to think of movies running for months at a theatre, but they did. Chariots of Fire did run forever! and the theme song drove you crazy after a while. I fondly remember the Laura Antonelli movies and admiring her breasts as she was ravished in a barn or elsewhere. La Cage Aux Folle ran forever too and certain scenes always cracked me up.
I went back for a visit years ago and it was the site of the Met Museum Store. The plug holes for the stands for the ropes were still in the sidewalk.

RobertR
RobertR on November 10, 2010 at 11:15 pm

I wonder why the lines “occasionally a first run general release usually from Tri-Star or Paramount would play in-between art films” was removed from the introduction I wrote? After 6 years?

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