Plaza Theatre

42 East 58th Street,
New York, NY 10022

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Plaza Theatre

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The Plaza Theatre opened on January 20, 1930, and was designed in a Tudor style. This theatre later had a modern style that somewhat mirrored the Beekman Theatre with it’s rising balcony toward the back. It had a decent sized screen and sound. The curtains closed after every presentation. I saw “Crossing Delancey” there, and a year before it closed I saw the indie film “Straight Outta Brooklyn” there. It was on a side street and was hard to find. It’s amazing how that theatre stayed in business.

It closed in January 1996 and became some kind of tourist attraction showing films about New York like the old New York Experience used to do in Rockefeller Center. That later stopped and now it’s home to an Asian sushi restuarant named Tao.

Contributed by jamal p. Savage

Recent comments (view all 153 comments)

jay58
jay58 on August 19, 2013 at 1:52 am

Hi, dave-bronx. Thank you very, very much for the information about Arthur. The first time we met was when Mr.Evans' health started failing and he was brought to the Plaza to fill in. You’re so right about his reputation…he could be a doosey to the employees. He suffered some sort of injury that caused him a permanent limp. Not sure what that was. I remember that (cashier) Polly paid absolutely no attention to him and, given her seniority and her senior years and her oddities and her reputation, he could do nothing about it. Very funny story about his shoes! From time to time, he would visit us upstairs. Yes, very nice guy. Again, thanks so much for the info.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on August 19, 2013 at 8:30 am

jay58: I worked at Cinema 5/City Cinemas from 84 to 94. Mr. Marks was not there when I was. I went to Loews in 94. Did you know Gene Shafran, an Austrian guy who would mumble to himself in German? He was a manager at the Plaza at one time. When I started at Cinema I-II in 84 he was a part-time mgr there, Tue & Thur evenings. During the day he worked at Saks. He had plenty of stories about the Plaza, where he met and was supposedly tight with John Cassavetes, Gena Rowland and Peter Falk.

There are a million stories from all these theaters – I once worked with a cashier who always said “With all the stories that go through this place I ought to write a book!” I think a book could be written about every theatre, but who would read them other than us?

jay58
jay58 on August 19, 2013 at 2:37 pm

D-B: Indeed, I did know Mr. Shafron. He had a mighty, bony handshake. He used to comp me regularly on the nights he was at I and II because of our relationship at the Plaza. Are you sure that he was Austrian? We used to talk about European politics and I’m taxing my brain trying to remember his heritage. He had been with the Company a very long time. Yes, he did work at Saks. You have a very good memory. So, I sure would like to find out about Robbie, the Plaza’s Jamaican porter/handyman. What a lovely guy. I remembered a Plaza anecdote: Arthur marks couldn’t stand the Plaza’s little office. Literally. It was immediately to the right and was built under some steps or the balcony or something so that there was hardly any headroom. As tall as he was, he had to hunch down and that was hard for him. Did you ever look around with a flashlight in the Plaza basement?

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on August 19, 2013 at 8:21 pm

jay58: I was never in the Plaza. By the time I came to Cinema 5 “The Queen” (aka Alexandra) was reigning there. OMG the stories about her! She claimed Mr. Rugoff gave her a lifetime contract to manage the Plaza. Ass’t mgrs had a shelf life of a week, new floor staff about a day. By all accounts she was a terror so I steered clear of the place because I was new and needed my job, although I really wanted to see the inside of it. She lived over near the Beekman somewhere, and she always had the armed Burns guard walk her home at night because she thought one or all of the ass’t mgrs or staff members that she fired would kill her on the street. An older woman usher at C I&II, a very nice pleasant lady who never had anything bad to say about anybody, was sent over there to be the assistant. After two days she came back boiling mad, slamming doors, and using some very colorful language to recount her adventure at the Plaza and exactly what she thought of Miss J. – we’d never seen her in such a state. needless to say, she did not return there.

jay58
jay58 on August 19, 2013 at 8:40 pm

D-B: It’s a shame that you never saw the theatre. It was terrific. The reason that I asked about the basement is because Mr. Evans let me go down there a few times and, with flashlight in hand, I could readily see the old stonework that made up the corrals for the horses. It was amazing. Don Rugoff stored a lot of old Cinema V papers down there.

jay58
jay58 on August 19, 2013 at 8:41 pm

D-B: I was a shareholder and went to the meetings around the corner at 595 Madison and I don’t remember Alexandra. I think she came on board after my time.

jay58
jay58 on August 19, 2013 at 8:52 pm

I just uploaded some pictures that I think you will like.

rivest266
rivest266 on September 25, 2013 at 12:18 am

Uploaded the small grand opening ad in the photo section for this cinema.

Vinniep
Vinniep on April 1, 2014 at 7:04 am

I was sad to hear of the passing of Eddie Lawrence, the “Old Philosopher”. In the late 1960’s Eddie used to come by the Plaza and try out some of his new material on us. He was a kind and gentle man.

jay58
jay58 on April 1, 2014 at 12:59 pm

Thanks, Vinnep. I hadn’t seen the obit. Neighbor Eddie Eisner lived next door to the Plaza in the same building where I and my siblings were raised.

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