United Artists 64th & Second

1210 Second Avenue,
New York, NY 10021

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Pre-opening ad

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened in 1971 as the Columbia I & II, it was one of the better twin cinemas built at that time and was designed by architect Drew Eberson. The downstairs auditorium has the look of a single screen theatre complete with stage and luxurious drapes. The upstairs auditorium is not as nice but still scores above most. When UA added the third screen in an acquired space next store, they gave it it’s present moronic name. Why must theatres be names after the street they are on? What happened to names like Rialto, Roxy and Star?

Later known as the Gemini Cinemas, another noteworthy thing is that this theatre was run for many years by Bob Meyer who started his career as an usher in the Roxy. He was the last of a dying breed of old time theatre managers who knew what showmanship was all about. My friend ran this theatre after Bob Meyers' sad passing. He felt the theatre reached its zenith with the two week Manhattan exclusive of “Bugsy”.

Some of those that came there to see it were Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Tom Cruise, Liza Minnelli and Joan Rivers. The staff adored Liza. She always tipped the candy people $20, telling them they work harder than anyone else there.

It was closed around September 2012.

Contributed by RobertR

Recent comments (view all 56 comments)

Mikeoaklandpark on August 13, 2013 at 7:13 am

Anything happening with this theater? Why are all the east side theaters shuttering.

br91975 on August 13, 2013 at 11:06 am

Nothing particularly notable happening as of yet, Mike, beyond the removal of some ceiling titles in the ground-level hallway to the left of the lobby and a For Lease sign on the left-center glass entrance door which keeps falling to the floor.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on August 13, 2013 at 11:26 am

The Upper East side has extremely high property values and an aging population. Seniors who used to migrate to Florida are staying put. Older citizens without kids are more prevalent in this section of the city than in other parts of New York, making it difficult to sustain a theatre in an industry increasing focuses only on a very young demographic.

konaaz on August 19, 2013 at 7:34 pm

Can anyone tell me the contact number and name on the For Lease sign?

Alanem on September 18, 2013 at 3:31 pm

I’m a retired member of IATSE LOCAL 306 Projectionists union. I ran the projection of the opening of this theater with World Premiere of The Last Picture Show to FULL houses of 610 people, —and another 610 lined up around the block to see this film. One night, management had asked for a “snipe” (a public service notice-NO SMOKING) to be spliced into the film in the black between the end and the credits. When I came on duty for the Saturday night show the DIRECTOR Peter Bogdanovich (& girlfriend -lead actress Cybil Shepherd!) were in the audience! The District manager told me if Bogdanovich ever saw this, he would die! I quickly spliced OUT the “snipe”, but since I was splicing in black, there were NO frame lines. I was lucky to even get it out, much less keep the film in frame. Well, film ends and goes to black. As credits with quick scenes of lead actors comes on—FILM JUMPS OUT of Frame for a second. I quickly pulled it back in frame while holding the loop in the projector. Peter Bogdanovich lead actress Cybil Shepherd come up into the projection booth and ask me what happened? I told them about the snipe, and they were relieved that this would NOT happen again. Both main an Backup prints of the film were then edited correctly!

moviebuff82 on September 18, 2013 at 4:04 pm

Good for you alanem.

Mikeoaklandpark on September 18, 2013 at 4:14 pm

Any chance of this theater reopening?

br91975 on September 26, 2013 at 2:17 pm

konaaz: the company representing the property is Sarasota, FL.-based Marisa Rose Management and their contact number is 941.782.8649.

rivest266 on September 26, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Better copy of the grand opening ad as Columbia I & II in 1971 as well as of the July 21st grand opening ad as Gemini uploaded in the photo section for this cinema.

br91975 on October 22, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Construction work has begun within the former 64th & Second space. No word as of yet on who the next tenant will be.

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