Park & 86th Street Cinemas

1280-1288 Lexington Avenue,
New York, NY 10028

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Park & 86th Street Cinemas

Viewing: Photo | Street View

This theatre was a small twin cinema that outlived the more historic Loew’s Orpheum one block east. I saw the movie “Battlestar Galactica” which featured Sensoround, which was awesome. At the time, was about 9 years old, so this theatre looked so large. As an adult, I realize this was a small intimate theatre.

It changed hands as far as I remember three times; as a RKO house, later Cineplex Odeon, and then Clearview took it over before it’s demise in September 2002. The last two films shown there were “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and “The Road to Perdition”. It now houses Duane Reade, which now has a window close to what was the screen in cinema 2 on the Lexington Avenue side of the cinema.

The only thing the theatre building retained was the escalator and elevator, the large marquee which now reads Duane Reade. The concession area downstairs now houses the checkout area.

Contributed by jamal p. savage

Recent comments (view all 43 comments)

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on March 3, 2010 at 11:39 am

This was the same venue as the RKO 86th Street Twin which opened in December 1971 and was closed by Cineplex Odeon in October 1986 with plans to quickly remodel the site and re-open.

That did not occur and landlord and construction delays continued until it finally re-opened in 1989.

RKO 86th St. Twin is an aka here.

alastad
alastad on February 5, 2011 at 11:32 pm

Is this the theater that was featured in the movie “Last Action Hero”?

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on September 5, 2011 at 11:43 am

“The Last Action Hero” featured the National interior and the Warner (Rialto) and Times Square exteriors.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 5, 2011 at 3:40 pm

While several Times Square theaters are seen throughout the movie, it was the old Empire Theatre, the 42nd Street grindhouse, that served as the exterior of the fictional “Pandora’s Arcade Theatre” – which is where the kid in “The Last Action Hero” is magically transported into the action flick being projected on the screen. If you go to the Empire’s page on CT, I uploaded a couple of shots of the theatre from 1993, when some of the set dressing from the movie still adorned the facade.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on September 5, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Ed, I did see those but we closed both the National and Warner for the filming. “Death” walks out the front door of the Warner at one point and interiors with ‘the kid’ (he was actually in his late teens) I believe were mostly done inside the National.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 6, 2011 at 9:47 am

Goes to show the magic of filmmaking. I got the impression that the interior of the “Pandora” was that of a much older and more ornate theater than I imagined either the National or the Rialto to be. Those are two of the few Times Square cinemas I never attended. Always figured the National for a modern unadorned box and the Rialto as more of a streamlined art deco affair. I just assumed the interiors were shot in L.A. The movie also makes use of the exit alley for the Empire that ran along the theater’s eastern side between it and the Liberty.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on September 6, 2011 at 10:57 am

I think there was some cut-away to other theatres but the Warner was actually more modern and bland than the National after Cineplex Odeon was finished with it. It was actually a brand new 70mm beauty with great seats that no one attended, for some reason.

The scenes with ‘the kid" were done in NY as they found him in Bay Ridge where he used to hang out at the Alpine.

bazookadave
bazookadave on August 6, 2012 at 10:21 am

The marquee is now gone. No sign anywhere that there were once theaters on this site. Very sad.

SeaBassTian
SeaBassTian on September 3, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Such a busy thoroughfare, it’s sad that this feisty twin couldn’t cut it. The grand marquee was probably the most distinctive thing about it though… Only movie I recall seeing here was Out of Sight.

stang119
stang119 on January 21, 2013 at 11:57 am

The opening attractions in it’s initial incarnation in 1971 were “Kidnapped” with Michael Caine and “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight”. I was there the first day to see the latter. Love the smell of a new theatre, freshly laid carpet, no musty pospcorn odors yet.

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