Carnegie Hall Cinema

881 Seventh Avenue,
New York, NY 10019

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Carnegie Hall Cinema

Viewing: Photo | Street View

This was a cute cinema tucked under the famed Carnegie Hall. It had a moderate size cinema and then a screening room size cinema on the lobby level all on the side entrance on Seventh Avenue of the landmark. It showed indie films. In the early-1970’s it was screening gay porn movies.

It closed for a while and then reopened under Cineplex Odeon management for a five-to-seven year run and then closed again in late-October 1997. It was gutted and turned into added concert hall space.

Contributed by jamal savage

Recent comments (view all 84 comments)

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on April 23, 2013 at 4:44 pm

bigjoe59, the Lyric is here:

bigjoe59 on April 25, 2013 at 3:16 pm

to Al A.–

as always thanks for the info. as i said in my previous post i wasn’t completely ruling out the existence of a Lyric Theater on 3rd Ave. between 12th & 13th i just didn’t see how it was possible. all of the buildings on the left side of 3rd Ave. between 12th & 13th St. are rather small/narrow so i do see how only one building could possible have housed a movie theater of any note. is it possible that when it was the Lyric has captured in the famous photo that the auditorium per se was in fact a combination of two buildings? i only remember it as the Bijou a gay porn house and assumed the Bijou was housed in only half of the original building.

also take a look at the photo again. since it was taken in the late 30s shouldn’t there be a shadow from the 3rd Avenue El?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on April 25, 2013 at 3:30 pm

A shadow would depend on the time of day. On all counts, the Lyric was a small house.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on April 25, 2013 at 9:52 pm

There is so much info about the Lyric on the Lyric page, especially in links that Tinseltoes has already posted.

bigjoe59 on April 30, 2013 at 6:07 pm

hello to Tinseltoes-

you certainly make a valid point. so this past weekend i did some further investigating. the notes of which are posted on the Lyric/Bijou’s own page.

Ed Miller
Ed Miller on September 29, 2013 at 2:10 pm

The last time I was in the Carnegie Hall Cinema was, sadly, in the late ‘70s. I went with some very close friends to see, with what could be described as a VERY receptive audience, a revival of “Suddenly, Last Summer”. What a treat to see one of my all-time favorite movies on a big screen; in fact, it was the ONLY time I’ve seen this movie in a theater. What a pity that the days of revival houses in Manhattan have passed.

Jerrr26 on October 29, 2015 at 9:42 am

I was an usher when the theater first opened. I remember it showing the Apu Trilogy and I saw those films a zillion times… not a bad cinema & music education! I was a music major then at City College and the theater was owned by the family of my fellow music major, Peter Schlosser. Film Forum is now showing that famous Trilogy and that’s what made me think to search and find this site. I think it was around the summer of ‘59 or '60, when it opened and I worked. A few years after that, I studied Indian music seriously and that was partly due to the Apu influence. I think that Philip Glass, who I later worked with, was also influenced by Ravi Shankar’s great score. I never was back to the theater after that summer and sometimes wondered whatever happened to it. I had no idea of its later history & decline.

Susanjosephs on December 17, 2015 at 1:02 am

I was a high school sophomore in the fall of 1960. On Yom Kippur, I saw the Apu Trilogy, watching all three films back to back. It was a life changing experience. I have never forgotten those films and was worried that if I saw them again, I wouldn’t have the same reaction. I was wrong. I am viewing them now and find them to be even more emotionally brilliant than when I first saw them 55 years ago. The Carnegie Cinema holds a special place in my heart and memory.

Ben Davis
Ben Davis on March 24, 2017 at 2:39 pm

The Carnegie Hall Cinema is one of the repertory movie theaters included in my recently published book, “Repertory Movie Theaters of New York City: Havens for Revivals, Indies and the Avant-Garde, 1960-1994.” It’s listed on Amazon and

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