Loew's Rio Theatre

3837 Broadway,
New York, NY 10032

Unfavorite 4 people favorited this theater

Loew's Rio in 1914

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Rio Theatre was already a thriving vaudeville-movie theatre when Loew’s took over in the early-1920’s, but I have no information about its architectural style or what the name signified. But I some how doubt that it related to anything Brazilian. Due to its location so far uptown at Broadway and 160th Street, the Rio Theatre was probably patronized only by residents of the area.

After the opening of Loew’s 175th Street in 1930, the Rio Theatre was reduced to playing the same programs, but two weeks later. Loew’s Rio Theatre closed in March 1957, and became a supermarket for the next 50 years. In 2011, it was in multiple store use as ‘Plaza de Las Americas’.

Contributed by Warren G. Harris

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

JimRankin on August 29, 2004 at 6:55 am

It should be remembered that the word RIO is Spanish for RIVER, and there could easily be an intended reference by some to nearby rivers. Also, shorter theatre names were much in vogue in the early days of the 20th Century when such as the BIJOU (GEM), FOLLY, STAR and such other almost four-letter-words were popular long before longer names became inevitable. Also, there is the ‘exotic’ factor in choosing an exotic-sounding name to be most memorable — and cheaper when paying for the name signs!

Divinity on October 18, 2004 at 4:48 pm

The Hispanic Society of America was founded on May 18, 1904 on the historic Audobon Terrace, the block between 155th and 156th Streets west of Broadway in upper Manhattan, like the nearby Church of the Intercession and Trinity Church Cemetery, was originally part of an estate belonging to the painter and naturalist, John James Audobon.

Ziggy on December 10, 2004 at 8:01 am

I think the obvious reason for naming this, and other theatres, the Rio is simply that Rio de Janeiro was considered to be a world class sophisticated city in the early decades of the previous century. It was frequently referred to simply as “Rio”, as in the movie title “Flying Down to Rio”. To name a theatre the Rio was to conjure up a romantic getaway type of image, similar to Rialto, Tivoli or Rivoli.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 10, 2004 at 8:23 am

The location of the Loews Rio Theater on Broadway is by 160th St. In the Film Daily Yearbook, 1930 a seating capacity of 6,603 is given.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 10, 2004 at 8:25 am

Sorry, thats a typo, the seating capacity given in 1930 is for 2,603.

TLSLOEWS on December 11, 2009 at 9:47 am

Still looks like a theatre.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 14, 2010 at 12:19 pm

The movie palaces of Washington Heights and Inwood.

View link

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on February 27, 2010 at 8:51 pm

The Rio closed in March 1957. The last movies were “Abandon Ship!‘ and "The Strange One”.

lynnje on February 19, 2012 at 10:38 am

Loews Rio was at 159th Street and Broadway, not 160th Street. I grew up on Riverside Drive and 159th Street and regularly attended Loews as a kid.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater