Columbia Cinema

2700 Broadway,
New York, NY 10025

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Columbia Cinema

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Built in 1913, this house was located on Broadway between 103rd and 104th Streets. Most of its life was showing second and third run double bills. In the late 60’s it went Spanish, sometimes English films with Spanish subtitles and eventually all Spanish language. In 1988 it was sold and given a mild renovation and the name changed to the Columbia.

With City Cinemas booking it, it opened “La Bamba” and then “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” exclusive on the west side. City Cinemas ran it for two years at which time many of the newer multiplexes had opened and upper and lower west side could play day and date. The last two years it was a $3 discount house, and once in a while would get a first run engagement and charge full price.

It closed in 1993 and became a Lucille Roberts gym. It has now been demolished.

Contributed by RobertR

Recent comments (view all 21 comments)

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on December 12, 2005 at 3:25 am

City Cinemas booked and operated the Columbia under a management agreement with the same owner as the D.W.Griffith, Nick and Justin (although Justin had passed away) in an effort to increase their number of screens and leverage with the studios. The place was a dump, all I remember is it had a hideous yellow wall in the lobby, and the auditorium floor was made of wood. They didn’t have a 306 projectionist – a friend or relative of the owner ran the machines, and we never heard from the union. The ushers were kept busy chasing the rats and hitting them with brooms. After a short time City Cinemas realized what a disaster the place was and got out. It was then converted into a Woolworth store.

RobertR
RobertR on December 12, 2005 at 4:24 am

I have a lot of pictures of this theatre before and after the renovations (including the yellow wall). When I locate them I will post them.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on July 31, 2006 at 6:48 am

Here’s a 1985 ad from the Spanish language publication El Diario:
El Carro de la Muerte 9/20/85

The paper also ran a neighborhood movie guide catered to its Spanish speaking and bilingual readers:
Cartelera Cinematografica 9/20/85

Both clippings list the theater as “Nuevo Edison”.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on July 14, 2008 at 5:14 pm

Advertised as the Broadway Photoplay in 1919.

RobertR
RobertR on March 29, 2009 at 7:02 pm

I finally dug out and scanned some pics of the Columbia from a night it hosted a live bodybuilding show.
Marquee shot from across Broadway
View link
The outer lobby display cases
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Lobby
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The imortal yellow wall
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Auditorium
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I have opening night of La Bamba pics which i will scan and post when I locate them.

TPH
TPH on November 23, 2009 at 1:23 pm

By the time that City Cinemas came on the scene it was too late to rescue this shabby theatre. Unlike its predecessor chain, Cinema 5, City Cinemas may not have had the inclination nor the resources to accomplish a substantial upgrade as Cineplex Odeon did when it acquired the Olympia. Even in its outer borough venues such as the Avenue U and the Tuxedo, Cinema 5 always ran a class act.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 27, 2011 at 5:25 am

Street View shows that the Edison Theatre/Columbia Cinema has been demolished, and a high rise project has been built on its site. Compare the photo Al Alvarez linked to earlier.

jerryon103St
jerryon103St on December 1, 2011 at 12:59 pm

I remember to going to see The Song of Bernadette (film)at this theater in the 1940s. The theater was just down from the Horn & Hardart Automat where my Mom worked.

Rollich
Rollich on March 29, 2012 at 8:07 am

I knew this house as the Edison theater, which makes sense if it later became the Nuevo Edison. I remember the nearby Harn & Hardart with fondness.

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