Trans-Lux 52nd Street Theatre

586 Lexington Avenue,
New York, NY 10154

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Tinseltoes on March 10, 2013 at 5:49 am

Sixty years ago today (3/10/53), MGM’s Technicolored “Lili,” a sentimental fantasy with Leslie Caron in the title role, opened its world premiere engagement at the Trans-Lux 52nd Street. Thanks to favorable word-of-mouth and the popularity of the theme song, “Hi Lili, Hi Lo,” the run extended into a second year.

unowen on May 27, 2012 at 7:02 am

I live on 1st and 51st. The Trans-Lux was the theatre that Marilyn Monroe walked over the subway grate in front, which blew her skirt up.

The night they filmed it, there were huge crowds, and a (very) angry Joe DiMaggio.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 12, 2010 at 1:46 am

A picture of the exterior from 1952 appears in Boxoffice Magazine, April 19, 1952. Go to page 26.

AlAlvarez on March 2, 2010 at 7:16 pm

This theatre was already operating as a newsreel site in December 1938.

The 1953 release of “Lili” ran for almost two years.

It closed in 1965 after a run of “cat Ballou”.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 24, 2009 at 12:32 am

The Trans-Lux at 52nd and Lexington was a Thomas Lamb design. A picture of its streamline moderne auditorium was featured in an ad for Anemostat air diffusers that appeared in Boxoffice, January 5, 1946.

AlexNYC on September 7, 2009 at 5:03 pm

I’m pretty sure this theater is demolished, not just closed. There is a modern office building in it’s place. I don’t thing I have ever even seen a photo of this theater. Has anybody?

RobertR on October 27, 2005 at 9:10 am

There is a small ad here for “The Shaggy Dog” day and dating with the Odeon.
View link

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 24, 2005 at 12:08 pm

Of course the “original Italian version” has Anthony Quinn and Richard Basehart dubbed in Italian. You hear their own voices in the English version.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on July 24, 2005 at 10:28 am

When it finished its run here, “La Strada” played the Loew’s neighborhood circuit, but in an English-dubbed version. The second feature was UA’s “Trooper Hook,” a B&W western with Joel McCrea and Barbara Stanwyck. After the Loew’s break, “La Strada” played NYC “arties” in the original Italian version with English sub-titles, and usually as a single feature.

BoxOfficeBill on July 24, 2005 at 6:13 am

Proprio quello che intendo anch'io.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 24, 2005 at 5:51 am

D'accordo! For me the best Fellini films are Le notti di Cabiria, La strada, I vitelloni… and I bow to his somewhat later film Amarcord.

BoxOfficeBill on July 24, 2005 at 5:39 am

Seeing “La strada” at the T-L 52 (along with seeing “Seven Samurai” at the Guild a few months later) provided one of those unforgettable compass points in my movie-going life. As a h.s. kid who’d just discovered the thrill of converting my lunch money into subway tokens and box-office tickets, I found that those fims (and “Rififi” at the Fine Arts and “Ladykillers” at the Sutton and “The Lady Vanishes” at MoMA, all in the same short season) expanded my horizons past the point of no return. They taught me that there is a world beyond my shores and a past full of wit and wisdom beyond my ken. As a cynical college kid a few years later, I renounced “La strada” as too sappy and sentimental when measured against the likes of “La dolce vita” and “8 ½.” Now I’d reverse the judgment.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on July 24, 2005 at 12:31 am

This theatre closed quite a few years ago. It was either demolished (which seems likely) or converted to retail space. Unfortunately, NYC Property Search is closed for weekend repairs, so I can’t do a check of the address.

RobertR on July 23, 2005 at 4:16 pm

The Beatles on a holiday re-issue
View link

Astyanax on March 26, 2005 at 7:09 am

Status is listed as “open”. What is currently there?

teanal on March 23, 2005 at 7:02 am

My Father managed the theater for several years in the 50’s and I had been there many times as a child.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 15, 2004 at 5:15 am

This was known as the Trans-Lux 52nd Street and located at 586 Lexington Avenue. The 539-seat theatre was originally a newsreel house and converted to first-run features in the 1950s. MGM’s “Lili” had a long and successful run there. It’s most famous for the sidewalk in front of the theatre, where Marilyn Monroe filmed the scene in “The Seven Year Itch” where her skirt blows up from a gust of wind from a subway grate.