Loew's 34th Street Showplace

234-238 E. 34th Street,
New York, NY 10016

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Loew's 34th Street Showplace

This theatre I think was in a free standing building and had three cinemas from it’s opening. I forget how they were set up, whether one cinema was upstairs and two were downstairs or all three were piggybacked together downstairs. I only went there once to see “Throw Mama From the Train”.

Loew’s had begun to throw up cinemas like this all over the tri-state area with no balcony but a sloping floor, which was I guess pre-stadium style seating of the 1980’s, but this offered bad sight lines and were also very boxy including the screen. All of its auditoriums were the same size and had the same screen. Loew’s did this style of theatre with the Loew’s 84th Street, the 19th Street, the refurbished and sadly rebuilt Orpheum on 86th Street.

This theatre withstood the opening of the Kips Bay 14 around the corner in 1996 or 1999. Two or three years later, it was quietly shuttered and then demolished. It was the second on 34th Street of the three on that strip in that area at the time.

Contributed by jamal p. savage

Recent comments (view all 28 comments)

KingBiscuits on April 19, 2012 at 7:14 am

Porky’s opened as a test engagement in two cities in November 1981 before going wide on March 19th, 1982. Porky’s was also one of the opening engagements of the National Twin when that theatre was redone.

SeaBassTian on September 3, 2012 at 6:46 am

Despite its schlocky pedigree, I found myself going to this theater quite often. Location, I guess! The first film I saw as a Manhattan resident, Married to the Mob, was shown here. But yes, ugly carpeting, weird lighting and every tacky design you can imagine about the 80’s.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on September 3, 2012 at 3:05 pm

“Schlocky pedigree”, are you referring to Loews?

Jack Theakston
Jack Theakston on February 24, 2015 at 5:23 am

I would love to see some interior photos if someone rustled them up. I remember the decoration was terrible—very much the type of stuff Loew’s was doing all over at the time. I remember the Murray Hill Cinema was the better venue with better selections, but this one had the better projection.

Movieholic on September 16, 2015 at 9:21 pm

Of all the Manhattan cinemas I had the pleasure of visiting this is one out of the three or four I frequented the most. I saw many movies here, most of them good. The list is long but distinguished. I’ve included them below in no particular order. The basement auditorium was probably the best for seeing an event movie, like “Star Wars,” or “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” especially in 70 MM. The two upstairs ones were fine too. I liked the sloped seating.

Return of the Jedi A View to a Kill Explorers Rocky IV The Delta Force Pretty in Pink Back to School Radio Days Moonstruck The Accused Rain Man Mississippi Burning Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade The Hunt for Red October

Movieholic on September 19, 2015 at 2:20 pm

I’m wondering if anyone would be able to list the bookings after the first five years. Just curious. It’s fun to see which movies played here and at other theaters back in the day.

jarkin on February 9, 2016 at 9:22 am

Watched ‘Raiders’ 1 and 2 here. Back in the days when you could camp out and watch the same movie several times in a row. The manager at this theatre, Lewis $Hart, found my wallet once after a screening of ‘Jaws IV – The Revenge’ and proudly returned it to me. Claimed that Brooke Shields and Warren Beatty, “your boy,” regularly watched movies here. We became good friends and he and his boys once helped me push my pathetic VW Karmann Ghia down the street when the carburetor gave out one afternoon. Lewis moved to the Kips Bay 14, cleaned the theaters there and recently retired. He thought for years that I was actor Christopher Atkins. Before the theatre was built – one of the few places I can remember before construction and after demolition – it was a parking lot, and my friend Orhan and I would roll empty beer bottles across its puckered concrete until they would disintegrate like Steve Austin’s space craft making its ill-fated landing. Good times.

Coate on May 22, 2016 at 6:12 am

Here is a list of the 70mm presentations held at the 34th Street Showplace, extracted from 70mm in New York. (Sorry, I don’t have the duration data for these. But if anyone wants that info, it shouldn’t be that difficult to obtain now that you’re armed with the relevant titles and start dates.)

1981-05-22 … Outland
1981-06-12 … Raiders of the Lost Ark

1982-03-19 … Quest for Fire
1982-05-21 … Annie
1982-06-04 … Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

1983-05-13 … Blue Thunder
1983-05-25 … Return of the Jedi
1983-07-29 … Krull

1984-05-23 … Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
1984-06-01 … Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
1984-12-07 … 2010
1984-12-14 … The Cotton Club

1985-08-16 … Year of the Dragon
1985-11-27 … Rocky IV
1985-12-04 … Young Sherlock Holmes
1985-12-10 … A Chorus Line

1986-05-16 … Top Gun
1986-08-01 … Howard the Duck
1986-11-26 … Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

1987-06-03 … The Untouchables
1987-11-13 … The Running Man

1988-05-20 … Willow
1988-06-10 … The Presidio
1988-08-12 … Tucker: The Man and his Dream

1989-05-24 … Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
1989-06-09 … Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
1989-09-22 … Black Rain

1990-03-02 … The Hunt for Red October
1990-06-27 … Days of Thunder
1990-12-25 … The Godfather Part III

1991-12-06 … Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

1992-05-15 … Lethal Weapon 3
1992-06-05 … Patriot Games

1993-06-18 … Last Action Hero

1994-08-05 … True Lies (moveover)

Movieholic on May 22, 2016 at 9:49 pm

Thanks Coate for posting this. The Hunt for Red October was the last movie I saw here.

tone10029 on June 17, 2019 at 6:43 am

I remember seeing Lethal Weapon 3 here!

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