Loew's Rio Theatre

3837 Broadway,
New York, NY 10032

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Loew's Rio Theatre

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 15 comments)

Divinity
Divinity on October 19, 2004 at 12:48 am

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
Ziggy on December 10, 2004 at 4:01 pm

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 4:23 pm

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 4:25 pm

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

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on December 11, 2009 at 5:47 pm

Still looks like a theatre.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on January 14, 2010 at 8:19 pm

The movie palaces of Washington Heights and Inwood.

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AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on February 28, 2010 at 4:51 am

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

lynnje
lynnje on February 19, 2012 at 6:38 pm

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.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on May 24, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Here’s a 1980s tax view of the building from the Municipal Archives: lunaimaging

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