Park & 86th Street Cinemas

1280-1288 Lexington Avenue,
New York, NY 10028

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Cineplex Odeon, Clearview Cinemas, RKO, RKO Century

Functions: Drugstore

Previous Names: RKO 86th Street Twin

Nearby Theaters

Park & 86th Street Cinemas

This theatre was a small twin cinema that outlived the more historic Loew’s Orpheum one block east. The RKO 86th Street Twin was opened on December 22, 1971 with Michael Caine in “Kidnapped” & Jerry Orbach in “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight”. On October 6, 1989 following renovations it was renamed Park & 86th Street Cinemas. 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 RKO Century, Cineplex Odeon, and then Clearview took it over before it’s demise on September 26, 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 42 comments)

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on September 5, 2011 at 8:43 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 12:40 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.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on September 5, 2011 at 3:28 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 6:47 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.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on September 6, 2011 at 7:57 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 7:21 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 6:48 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 8:57 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.

rivest266
rivest266 on October 7, 2020 at 3:26 pm

This opened on December 22nd, 1971. Grand opening ad posted.

ridethectrain
ridethectrain on July 4, 2021 at 9:27 pm

Please update, it open on December 22, 1971 as the RKO 86th Street Twin. It was renamed the Park and 86th Street Cinemas on October 6, 1989. Theatre closed on September 26, 2002 under the operation of Clearview Cinemas. The first chain was RKO, followed by RKO Century, then Cineplex Odeon. This theatre replace the old RKO 86th Street Theatre, see other Cinema Treasure page.

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