Murray Hill Cinema

160 E. 34th Street,
New York, NY 10016

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M Hill

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Originally opened as the Murray Hill Lyceum in 1893. By 1926 it was listed as the 34th Street Theatre with a seating capacity of 600.

Later known as the Murray Hill Theatre, this was a moderatley sized cinema that sort of mirrored the Sutton uptown and the former 34th Street East down the block. It was remodeled in 1959 in a ‘Moderne’ style to the plans of architect Benjamin Schlanger. This theatre was about to be renovated again when in 1986 while screening the film “Psycho III” the ceiling collapsed. Fortunately, no one was injured. The theatre was shut down and eventually demolished.

It was rebuilt as a quad with the same name but in the style of the City Cinemas 1-2-3 on 59th Street. This, too, was short lived, as Loew’s Kips Bay 14 opened up in 1999. Two years later as business diminished for this and the Loew’s 34th Street Showplace down the street, they felt no need to continue operating. The theatre was closed in 2002 and demolished to make way for a high-rise apartment.

Contributed by jamal savage

Recent comments (view all 47 comments)

AlAlvarez on January 16, 2011 at 11:17 am

Thanks for that Dave-Bronx.

Here is a relaunch ad:

Note the claim about the birth of NYC exhibition having occurred on 34th Street.

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dave-bronx™ on January 16, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Wow I never saw that ad. Do you know the date and what paper it was published in? Thanks.

AlAlvarez on January 16, 2011 at 2:50 pm

October 9, 1959.

I am pretty sure it was Variety.

Astyanax on January 17, 2011 at 5:22 am

Had been to the Murray Hill several times before it was turned into a quad. In its early years as a Rugoff house it showcased foreign filsms – saw a bouble feature of Repulsion & il Bombole (the Dolls). Later it became a Premiere Showcase outlet daydating the Astor & the Trans-Lux East for United Artist product.

Don’t recall the original seating, but never visited th MH after the quadding since I imagined that the theraters would have been too cramped. Makes sense now that the first renovation only occupied half of the theater.

johndereszewski on February 19, 2011 at 2:19 pm

This is where I saw “2001, A Space Odyssey” in the late 1960’s. While I did visit this theater several other times, I will always remember it for providing me with the tremendous eperience of viewing this very special film.

AlAlvarez on February 23, 2011 at 9:32 pm

This Boxoffice Magazine has photos and an article of the remodel;

View link

Smeeglereegle on November 13, 2011 at 10:57 am

I worked at the Murray Hill from ‘79 to '82 along with my friend peterdamian (see earlier posting), in the years that I attended film school. I started with the film “JAWS 3-D,” and then “Animal House.” I shot part of my thesis film in the main entrance and outside of the theater. (Someday I’ll post the footage!) Even though our boss, Mr. Bradley was very strict, we really were a family there. There was also quite a history of tragedy at that theater. Aside from the fire in the earlier days of the building, and the ceiling collapse during Psycho III, our friend and co-worker, John, committed suicide there on May 21st, 1980. So sad.

SeaBassTian on September 4, 2012 at 8:56 pm

I used to patronize this place quite often in the 90’s. By the time I arrived the decor was very white, stark, almost clinical. Ironically, I believe it’s now an NYU Medical Center. I caught Here on Earth in spring 2000.

jackbauer24 on February 9, 2013 at 8:28 pm

I remember my father used to work as a manger there back in the mid 1970’s. I remember seeing many films there including the movie Rollercoaster. I liked how the Murrary Hill had there outer doors painted to match the film they were showing at the time. Does anyone remeber my father who worked there in the mid 70’s and was the manager?

Logan5 on September 24, 2014 at 11:45 am

“The Rocketeer” showed at the [City] Murray Hill in 70mm 6-Track Dolby Stereo SR beginning on Friday June 21, 1991 (the film’s nationwide release date).

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