Loew's 34th Street Showplace

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

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Loew's 34th Street Showplace

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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 25 comments)

GaryCohen on January 10, 2010 at 4:16 pm

I went to this theater the first day it opened in 1981 to see “Outland.” I saw numerous films there throughout the ‘80s: Star Trek II,III, and IV, For Your Eyes Only, The Living Daylights, The Untouchables, Ghostbusters,Return of the Jedi, etc. I remember all three of the theaters to be fairly large and always found it to be a pretty nice theater. I was very surprised to hear that it closed.

johndereszewski on January 10, 2010 at 5:15 pm

It is amazing how quickly this place came and went. I remember when it opened and, since my doctor’s office was situated in the vicinity, would occasionally catch a late afternoon showing after a visit. I also distinctly remember seeing Prizzi’s Honor with my parents just after its release. After the film, we had a fine seafood dinner at a place called Dolphins which, alas, is also history.

I remember my shock when, sometime in the early 1990’s, I paassed the site of I knew of as being a modern movie house, and saw a vacant lot instead.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 17, 2010 at 5:45 pm

I see you have"PORKY’S" playing March 82.I could have sworn it was a summer movie,but i guess you are right with the bookings.

KingBiscuits on April 18, 2012 at 11:14 pm

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 2, 2012 at 10:46 pm

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 7:05 am

“Schlocky pedigree”, are you referring to Loews?

Jack Theakston
Jack Theakston on February 23, 2015 at 9:23 pm

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 1:21 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 6:20 am

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 1:22 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.

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