Carnegie Hall Cinema

881 Seventh Avenue,
New York, NY 10019

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Showing 1 - 25 of 81 comments

Ed Miller
Ed Miller on September 29, 2013 at 11:10 am

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.

bigjoe59 on April 30, 2013 at 3:07 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.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on April 25, 2013 at 6:52 pm

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

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on April 25, 2013 at 12:30 pm

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

bigjoe59 on April 25, 2013 at 12:16 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 23, 2013 at 1:44 pm

bigjoe59, the Lyric is here:

bigjoe59 on April 23, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Hello to Al A.–

you have been most helpful with questions i have had since i discovered this website. now they say if you search the Internet long enough you’ll find what you’re looking for but that’s not strictly true. this where your help comes in.

there is a well known photo i believe by Bernice Abbot of a Lyric Theater on 3rd Ave. between 12th and 13th Sts. the date the photo was taken is given as 4/24/36. the headline film for the day is a Chaplin flick noted by a cardboard cut out of Charlie himself directly to the right of the box office. my point being i don’t think there was ever a movie theater called the Lyric on 3rd Ave. between 12th and 13th Sts.

i was in the area this past weekend so i decided to investigate. if you look at the left side of 3rd Ave. between 12th and 13th Sts. all the building are older than the theater would have been. there is a newer building in the middle of the block but it only occupies the space between the two adjacent older buildings. also the front is way to narrow when you consider how wide the front of the Lyric is in the photo. also the same thing happens if you look at the right side of 3rd Ave. between 12th. and 13th Sts. all the buildings seem as old or older than the theater would have been. again there is a newer building in the middle of the block but it again only occupies the space between the two adjacent older buildings. likewise the front is way to narrow to be be occupying the same space as the theater’s wide front did.

my point being as evidenced by my survey this past weekend there may very well have been a Lyric Theater with a wide front showing a Chaplin film on 4/24/36 in Manhattan but i don’t see how it could possibly have been located on 3rd Ave. between 12th and 13th Sts.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on April 21, 2013 at 11:17 am

During the 1974-1975 period the Lincoln Art down the street was showing hard core porn, the Paris was showing the x-rated “EMMANUELLE: and the Fine Arts was showing the controversial hard R "THE NIGHT PORTER”. The line between art and smut was very murky then.

bigjoe59 on April 21, 2013 at 10:46 am


oddly enough the Bleeker Street Cinema always played porn during its final years. i believe it was gay rather than straight.

Wellington1 on April 20, 2013 at 12:46 am

I didn’t know this theater had a porn past. Seems like a very odd neighborhood for that. I lived in NYC from Sept 1974 thru 1981 and during that whole period the Carnegie Cinema was a repertory theater showing classic films. I used to look forward to their schedules every month. And the same goes for Bleeker Street Cinema, for that matter.

cblog on November 5, 2012 at 2:35 am

Big date venue. I saw ‘The Misfits’ there.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on September 3, 2012 at 6:32 am

This closed in late October 1997 with “MRS. BROWN” and “IN THE COMPANY OF MEN”.

SeaBassTian on September 2, 2012 at 10:16 pm

Not sure if the closure dates above are correct cause I definitely watched Unhook the Stars here in ‘96. Can we get a confirmation on its final week in business?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on May 8, 2012 at 11:30 am

I assume they started as soft core and moved into hard core after DEEP THROAT raised (ahum) the bar.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on May 8, 2012 at 11:28 am

Al, you sly puss. (Were these hard-core?)

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on May 8, 2012 at 11:16 am


By mid 1973 both the Carnegie Hall Cinema and the Bleecker St. (same owners) were showing “adult male films” grind.

bigjoe59 on May 8, 2012 at 10:06 am


granted posting an old newspaper ad would be proof positive but how about the fact i went there to see a aptly titled porn film(gay)– AMERICAN CREAM.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on May 7, 2012 at 7:49 pm

Usually one can find ads in old issues of the Village Voice for the porn theaters —any been found showing this house?

bigjoe59 on May 7, 2012 at 4:33 pm

as reiterated by AL A. this theater was most definitely a porn house for a short time in the late 70s. as for the Carnegie Hall Corp. i bet they realized $$$ is $$$.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on May 7, 2012 at 2:45 pm

This was indeed a porn house, gay and straight, for several years in the seventies.

bigjoe59 on May 7, 2012 at 1:03 pm


not mentioned as yet is that for a short period in the late 70s i believe this theater was a gay porn house.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 30, 2011 at 7:04 am

Tinseltoes, those white walls were common in a lot of multiplex jobs during the late ‘70’s and early '80’s. I remember when the multiplex opened on the site of the old Sunrise Drive-In in Valley Stream, I had the same complaint. Movie theater interior walls should be dark, to absorb the light, not painted in such a manner that they reflect light almost as brightly as the screen does!

miclup on August 29, 2011 at 9:42 pm

Carnegie Hall Cinema was never a great place to see a movie but the programming was staggering. Does anyone remember that it was actually owned by the same team as the Bleecker Street Cinema? That was the heyday for this place when revival houses were on every street corner, the Carnegie Hall Cinema was the best place to see an arthouse or cult double feature. Their programming was better than film school. The renovation by Cineplex was lovely but the new release programming paled. I must say Carnegie Hall has done a magnificent job converting this space into Zenkel Hall but as mentioned above, it’s not a true conversion but a total redesign utilizing the same space. For me, the Carnegie Hall Cinema underscores the issue we probably all have regarding a specific theater, what makes a movie theater a cinema treasure—the building or the programming? For CHC, it was never the theater, it actually became quite a dump but the programming so memorable.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 8, 2011 at 6:13 am

It appears that the link in the very first post at the top of this page by Bryan Krefft is no longer an active page (the photo has been removed).

Here is the new page showing a glimpse towards the rear of the house as it looked after the respectful 1988 renovation by Cineplex Odeon.

Looks like the projection booth was built right into the former balcony and the side boxes on the orchestra level were tastefully walled-in. Makes sense, since those seats would have been pretty useless in a cinema and the new walls allowed for surround sound speaker placement and – I would imagine – better acoustics for a film presentation.