Plaza Theatre

42 East 58th Street,
New York, NY 10022

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Showing 1 - 25 of 141 comments

Jctorres on July 24, 2014 at 10:35 am

My name is Julio Torres and I also worked at the Plaza Cinema for Alexandra Jones. When I started working there, Diva was being shown followed by the Pasant due San Souci. I can’t remember every movie we had there but I do remember those I worked with. I would like to know of what happened to them. What happen to Ms. Jones, the old janitor who looked like he was 120 years old when I worked there. Tara Leigh Spitzef concession it’s along with me. Gary Smith Usher. There was once a beautiful cashier who was from Belize. Mr. Joyner who managed the DWGriffith. Any feed back would be appreciated. I am living in Florida and am a public school teacher.

jay58 on April 1, 2014 at 7:59 am

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.

Vinniep on April 1, 2014 at 2:04 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.

rivest266 on September 24, 2013 at 7:18 pm

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

jay58 on August 19, 2013 at 3:52 pm

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

jay58 on August 19, 2013 at 3:41 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 on August 19, 2013 at 3:40 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.

dave-bronx™ on August 19, 2013 at 3:21 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 on August 19, 2013 at 9:37 am

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™ on August 19, 2013 at 3:30 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 on August 18, 2013 at 8:52 pm

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™ on August 18, 2013 at 5:25 am

jay58: Arthur Marks was the Managing Director at Loews 84th. You could set your watch to his routine, and one day in the fall of 1995 he failed to show up at the theatre. The police were sent to his apartment and found him, he had passed away from a heart attack. Prior to 84th St. he worked at Loews Ridgefield Park over in Jersey. Prior to that, he owned a sports bar on 3rd Av-34th St. That business failed and he came to Loews. I didn’t know he worked for Rugoff, or maybe i did and forgot. And yes he was very tall but was haunched over a little. In his youth he played basketball for Tulane. And huge shoes – once when I came to work evening shift and he had opened the theatre in the morning, I rushed up to the boxoffice and asked the cashier, with an urgent tone, “did Mr. Marks come in today?” She said yes of course. I said “thank God – i was worried – last night when I was going home I saw a tugboat pushing one of his shoes down the East River!” He put up a gruff facade, but once you got to know him he was a nice guy, as long as you did your work, that is. He didn’t put up with a lot of nonsense from the people at the home office, either. His demeanor actually scared a number of them.

burdelleaste on August 18, 2013 at 3:59 am

I saw “My Own Private Idaho” there its opening day. It was just a TAD out of focus (meaning less detectable to the disinterested eye). I went out in the lobby to complain and one of the (young) staffers took a look and saw nothing wrong. So I told him/her to have the projectionist check it anyway, a request met by rolled eyes. It never went into sharp focus UNTIL the end credits began. Guess it was already a platter house. I later found out that the Plaza projectionist was doubling at the Ziegfeld as well.

Garth on August 7, 2013 at 6:33 pm

I recalled seeing the movie “Montenegro” in a Manhattan theatre when it first opened in 1981. I checked the NY Times movie review archive to see what theatre it was,thinking it was The Sutton. It turned out to be The Plaza, but I recall nothing at all about the place.The film was not all that memorable either.

jay58 on January 22, 2013 at 9:35 am

Vinnie, do you remember anyone who lived next door? Do you remember the kid who kept his bike in the alley on the west side of the building and was friendly with Robbie, Mr. Evans and Mr. Marx?

Vinniep on January 22, 2013 at 1:43 am

I worked there after graduating high school in 1963 and left after graduating college in 1967.

Astyanax on January 21, 2013 at 6:39 pm

NY’s Channel 13 had abroadcast this weekend of the original Bedazzled with Dudley Moore & Peter Cook. This little gem, not to be confused with the recent re-make, was the quintessential film to premiere at the Plaza.

jay58 on January 21, 2013 at 9:35 am

Well done, Tinseltoes…thanks for posting!

Astyanax on January 17, 2013 at 2:48 pm

I may have been the 6th person who saw the Hunger, but not at the Plaza, but at the Kips Bay with a double feature with a Viveca Lindfors film, Night Games. Both were dark, b/w, depressing, Scandinavian films, Per Oscarsson received accolades for his acting in the Hunger. Would certainly not want to sit through either one of these again.

jay58 on January 16, 2013 at 10:09 am

Vinniep: What years did you work at the Plaza? Do you know what happened to Robbie? Arthur Marx? Polly? Mr. Evans?

Vinniep on January 15, 2013 at 10:05 pm

During the time I worked there Mr. Lopert brought over a foreign language film called “The Hunger”. It had to be the most boring film I ever saw. The typical audience consisted of no more than 5 people. I recall Mr. Evans saying that even for Mr. Lopert this film was pretty far out there.

jay58 on January 15, 2013 at 8:04 am

…so well expressed, Astyanax, and I agree!

Astyanax on January 14, 2013 at 11:36 pm

A movie-going experience like no other. Warm and intimate, with dedicated and professional staff. Preferred it to the Sutton, and even the Beekman. Frequented it during the Rugoff-Cinema V era. Only recently did I learn that Ilya Lopert a reknown producer and foreign film importer was an owner preceding Rugoff. I recall an off-handed comment in the original Auntie Mame movie where the characters are returning from a classics matinee at the Plaza. Can’t fully describe what a unique experience it was to put the world behind you and be enveloped in the theatre’s rarefied atmosphere.

Lockjawal on January 14, 2013 at 1:19 am

Good day Cptblood & Jay58. I am also an alumni of The Plaza from 1978-80. I do remember Polly (older worman, always made up & Robbie who was the custodian. I’m suprised nobody mentioned Morris, the elderly jewish gent who was the doorman (I always had to lock the door open for him as he couldn’t reach the latch). Also Mike Snyder (Asst Mgr), Lori the cashier with the jealous hubby and who could ever forget (as much as one might try), Ave Jones (it’s Miss Jones to you..). Also met Mr. Rugoff (he hired me) & found out as a kid, he went to the summer camp I used to work at. It was a beautiful looking theatre. it closed up while I was living in Germany. Came back to find an Asian restaurant in it’s place. (Movies I worked: Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe, Who killed the Great Chefs of Europe, Premiere of “The Kids Are Alright,” The Innocent, and countless other foreign & first run films like “The Wiz.”

jay58 on September 21, 2012 at 8:23 am

Hi, Capt: I grew up next door to the Plaza in the same building that housed the 58th Street Pharmacy. Unfortunately, all of the people that I asked about clearly pre-dated you. They were well-known in the Community and to the Plaza regulars. Polly was a former thespian — about 4 feet tall — who sold tickets long before there was a candy cart, an item that I don’t even remember. The only candy in my time was in ancient, mechanical machines in the basement. Polly had quite the style and worked until she was in her 80s. Robbie was the Jamaican custodian, a classy, affable man who had the task, among many, of polishing all the brass on the beautiful front doors. Mr. Evans, the Manager, was a Plaza legend. I don’t remember his background but he was always well-dressed and a gentleman. He, too, worked until he was in his 80s. Mr. Marx was a relative newcomer. He was very tall and walked with a marked limp. He replaced Mr. Evans but was ultimately transferred to, I think, the Murray Hill.