Park & 86th Street Cinemas

1280-1288 Lexington Avenue,
New York, NY 10028

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Showing 1 - 25 of 40 comments

stang119 on January 21, 2013 at 10:57 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.

SeaBassTian on September 3, 2012 at 8:48 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.

bazookadave on August 6, 2012 at 9:21 am

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

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on September 6, 2011 at 9:57 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.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 6, 2011 at 8:47 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 5, 2011 at 5:28 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 5, 2011 at 2:40 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 10:43 am

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

alastad on February 5, 2011 at 10:32 pm

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

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on March 3, 2010 at 10:39 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.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on February 22, 2010 at 12:16 am

This opened in October 1989 with “When Harry Met Sally” and “Welcome Home”.

markp on February 23, 2008 at 3:27 pm

Having worked for Jimmy Dolan and his band of pencil pushers, its no wonder they forgot about the lease. They were too busy getting rid of qualified union workers (like me), defending Isiah against Anucha, and just plain ruining everything they get their hands on. I’m surprized the Ziegfeld is still doing O.K. And give the Beacon a few more years.

br91975 on February 7, 2008 at 10:35 am

Did the Park & 86th really become that much of a move-over house in its final months of operation? Makes me wonder how far in advance Clearview knew they had to leave the space (per their forgetting the lease renewal and Duane Reade stepping into the breach)…

owenspierre81 on January 20, 2008 at 9:31 am

I also forgot to mention that the comedy/drama HUMAN NATURE was also shown at the PARK & 86TH STREET on April 12, 2002

owenspierre81 on January 19, 2008 at 4:13 pm

Here is a list of first-run movies that were shown at the PARK & 86TH STREET from December 2001 to August 2002

12/21/01- How High
12/21/01- Joe Somebody
¼/02- A Beautiful Mind
1/25/02- Kung Pow: Enter the Fist
2/8/02- Big Fat Liar
3/15/02- Ice Age
5/16/02- Star Wars: Episode II-Attack of the Clones
6/14/02- The Bourne Identity
8/16/02- Blue Crush
TBA 2002- My Big Fat Greek Wedding

After its last two showings, this theater has closed in September of 2002.


moviebuff82 on May 17, 2007 at 11:03 am

As a CVS employee, I’m disappointed that this theater wasn’t turned into my favorite drugstore, but a city rival. Were there any old movie theaters turned into CVS or other drugstores?

efriedmann on May 17, 2007 at 9:09 am

I lived on East 86th Street between Madison and Park Avenue from 1994 to 2003 and went to a lot of movies at this theater. The last movie I saw there was STAR WARS: EPISODE II – ATTACK OF THE CLONES before it closed and became a Duane Reade pharmacy. At least I went out with a bang!

dave-bronx™ on March 27, 2006 at 7:06 pm

His Majesty The Grand Pooh-bah from Toronto would not have known class if it hit him in the head –

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on March 27, 2006 at 11:18 am

Cineplex Odeon named it Park & 86th Street even though it was closer to Lexington because they thought Park sounded classier. They also refused 86th & Park for the same reason.

The previous name, RKO 86th Street Twin (opened December 22, 1971) should be added here.

bazookadave on December 13, 2005 at 7:38 am

Hi dave-bronx, thanks for the information! I think I posted the pics at the page for the East 86th Street Cinemas. It is amazing how many theatres there were in Yorkville that are now vanished.

dave-bronx™ on December 12, 2005 at 3:57 pm

davebazooka – the theatre you photographed, the East 86th Street Cinemas was called, prior to it becoming a quad, 86th St. East Theatre.

This theatre at Lexington, while operated by RKO, was called RKO 86th Street Twin. But when it re-opened after the building was converted His Majesty The Grand Pooh-bah from Toronto had taken over, and, genius that he was, renamed it “Park & 86th Street Cinemas”. The place was a mile away from Park Avenue, but only a stones-throw from Lexington. If you were on Park Ave. looking for it you never would have found it.

bazookadave on November 7, 2005 at 10:58 am

I am so confused about the theatres on East 86th street. i was at the street on Saturday November 5. A beautiful day! I took some pics of this theatre which is on 86th street between Third and Second Avenues, on the downtown side of the thoroughfare, closer to Third. I used to go to this theater a lot when I was a kid. The last show I saw here was “Jewel of the Nile” in the 1980s after attending a party with my cousin. We were drunk and decided for some reason to take in a show. Despite being snookered, I remember this was NOT a great movie.

Here are the pics:

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Is this theatre listed under another name? If anyone knows the name this theatre is listed under, I’ll post these on the correct page.

This is the theatre that was twinned at some point a long time ago, I recall going in for some show either in the late 70s or early 80s and seeing right off the bat that a big dividing wall had been erected right in the middle of the formerly large auditorium, creating two narrow theaters. Also i recall this theater went thru some scary times when troublemakers went up and down the aisles beating up patrons at random, usually on weekends.

dave-bronx™ on September 26, 2005 at 7:49 am

The HMV has been replaced by Best Buy, and there is a Barnes & Noble and Staples on the Lesington Ave. side.

bamtino on September 12, 2005 at 4:12 pm

Since most theatre ads just list the intersection, I can’t say anything with a certainty beyond the fact that numerous Certificates of Occupancy from the early 1990s list the building at 1280 Lexington with 2nd Floor theatres with a capacity of 1133. In other words, the Department of Buildings' designation for the 17-story building in which the theatre (and other retail space) was located is 1280 Lexington.
The building makes up the following addresses: 1280-1290 Lexington, 125-131 East 86th Street, and 114-136 East 87th.