Gramercy Theater

127 E. 23rd Street,
New York, NY 10010

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Gramercy Theatre exterior

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened in 1937 as the Gramercy Park Theatre, a name it kept into at least the early 1950’s. The Gramercy Theatre was recently used for the Museum of Modern Art’s films. It was also the location shoot used in the Fugees video “Killing Me Softly”.

Since closing for movies it has re-opened in 2007 as the Blender Theatre at Gramercy, a concert venue operated by Live Nation. However, by 2009, it had reverted back to the Gramercy Theater name.

Contributed by gena

Recent comments (view all 121 comments)

Bway
Bway on August 19, 2009 at 8:29 am

Here’s the photo. Between that awning and that ridiculously placed tree, what good with the marquee be in a couple years?

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TPH
TPH on November 5, 2009 at 7:45 pm

Are there any archive links to photos of the previous marquee when the theater was still known as the Gramercy Park?

BrianF
BrianF on December 29, 2009 at 8:02 pm

FILLING IN SOME MISSING YEARS FOR YOU…. I was manager of the Gramercy from when Splash (Darryl Hannah + Tom Hanks) was playing in 1983 until about mid 1986( when i was transferred to Park and 86th St.) This covered the period during which RKO Century Warner AND Cineplex Odeon Corp successively took over. Also during my period the renovation to the beautiful RED interior, inaugurating the Gramercy’s brief Cineplex Odeon “red period” mentioned in earlier posts. I helped design the renovation, however, i wanted an “island” concession stand that turned out not to be electrically feasible. Yes, i remember when Garth came and paced off the theatre. I remember Real Butter. We had Media educators Group every weekend (SaSu moirnings) and also a lot of Richard Brown NYU film classes, usually with guest speakers who worked on the films being shown.When the ceiling of the Murray Hill collapsed during Psycho II, the Gramercy quickly got 70MM projectors installed and we opened with the movie ALIENs, inheriting all the former Murray hill customers and transforming us overnight from a sorta B-run house (getting movies 6 months after they opened uptown)to a Grade A house.
From then on we were always busy. Evelyn P was the elderly cashier also Ida S and Rebecca S. Who could forget Gwen the concessionistwho kept the popcorn bin full and cleaned the kettle so thoroughly every night, and held the staff together?
One of the doormen, William, was an expert film buff. There are many colorful personalities,much more colorful than me, including a spy and a mini-skirted punk-pierced usherette, but I’ll let them voluntarily comment. Out in the front alcove area during the winter you could play the Variety Club Wishing Well, where i cut my teeth as Rhyme Man, but i owe that all to William who began with the rhymes due to his marketing expertise…“Drop a quarter in the glass, help a child, win a free pass.” was the first rhyme (that was his). “Dont walk by give it a try.” “See a movie for a quarter. it must gain speed before it hits the water.” (Those were mine) “ Wouldn’t that be groovy?..to see a free movie?” (that was his)…[i continued rhyming the movies at seveal other theatres until 1997.] The School of Visual Arts held Freshman orientation at the Gramercy every September. When i was at the Gramercy dates all the way back before the days of bag-in-the-box soda..at the beginning we had figal tanks. As a Motion Picture Pioneer, i am credited as bringing the Bin On Wheels to New York (from Houston). Previous to my return to NY, ushers were dragging dripping plastic bags through the aisles to pick up popcorn tubs and drink cups. When Garth came from Canada (bringing his gf’s pink blouses and purple skirt-ed concession uniforms and his required “Real Butter” and “ Cineplex OdeonGift Certificate” posters, he made sure to have all the filled garbage cans removed from being kept in the auditorium fronts of all the “RKO Cinema 5” theatres because having receptacles in the seating area was “treating the customers like garbage.” I never kept any bins on wheels in the audience area. However, in the Gramercy’s case where storage was a -problem we only had 2 non mobile covered trash cans in the back, but he had those removed too the day Cineplex took over. Soon Real Butter was replaced with Butter flavoring (we all said butter-flavored? [consumer affairs was a lot more powerful then]). Later came charging extra for extra squirts of Butter Flavoring.]
One of our first female ushers was a 19-yr old Rosie Perez who had not yet been a dancer on “In Living Color” nor begun her illustrious film career. We used to hire cashiers and concessionists from Baruch College (because they could add and subtract. The school of Visual Arts students became ushers, usually.
The Gramercy was sandwiched between Rivka opticians and a lingerie shop + pizza place who were all tenants of the Gramercy. I had to collect their rent. Nathan Rivka recently moved his eyeglass shop to E 27th St.
If there are any other peeps from my era, please add your reminisces.I would love to hear how YOU remember the Gramercy.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on February 5, 2010 at 7:15 am

The Bollywood period here ran from late 1995 to early 1996.

Greenpoint
Greenpoint on January 18, 2011 at 8:15 pm

I can’t wait to see the Insane Clown Posse there on 4/29…the triumphant return of The Dark Carnivial to the NYC area…Juggalos unite!

rivoli157
rivoli157 on November 13, 2011 at 11:50 am

I lived across the street from the theatre from 1985-1990. Would look out my window to see how long the line was before going out.
Saw Aliens here, also Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Mystic Pizza, The Wizard of Oz and Fantasia. I loved being able to just walk across the street to the movies!

Bway
Bway on November 14, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Fantasia played for many weeks there. I remember it on the marquee when i used to go under it every day around 1990 and 1991.

bicyclereporter
bicyclereporter on May 23, 2012 at 5:21 pm

will be here for the BlipFest this weekend.

SeaBassTian
SeaBassTian on September 2, 2012 at 10:36 pm

I lived across the street circa 1991. Never my favorite, the only films I remember seeing were The Replacements and Oscar. I seem to recall they had a slow turnaround time, they showed The Doctor for what seemed like months.

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