Loew's Rio Theatre

3837 Broadway,
New York, NY 10032

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keithyorkcity on January 19, 2017 at 12:40 pm

The building has been extensively renovated as of late 2016/early 2017. The main auditorium is now home to a two-level SuperFoodTown. The upper floor has an exposed ceiling, and you can see the original beams of the theater roof, which is neat. Little else is recognizable. Some detailing around the old theater entrance survives, though partially obscured by signage.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on March 15, 2016 at 8:05 am

The Picker family owned theatres in Manhattan and the Bronx before selling the operating leases to Loew’s. The current David Picker is the son of Eugene Picker, who became an executive of Loew’s Theatres and eventually president by the time the Tisch brothers bought control.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 15, 2016 at 1:59 am

The April 3, 1920, issue of Motion Picture News said that the Rio Theatre on upper Broadway had opened “…a few days ago.” It was originally operated by David B. Picker, who I believe was the grandfather of the producer David V. Picker who has, in recent decades, been at various times the head of Paramount, United Artists, and Columbia Pictures.

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.

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”.

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

The movie palaces of Washington Heights and Inwood.

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TLSLOEWS on December 11, 2009 at 9:47 am

Still looks like a theatre.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

DavidHurlbutt on July 24, 2004 at 11:46 am

Rio is not a unique name for a theater. Chicago, St Louis and Philiadelphia had theaters named Rio. The largest theater in Wisconsin outside of Milwaukee was the Rio (1800 seats) in Appleton. Texas had some 25 Rio theaters located in different towns.
The name may have been chosen in the larger cities because it would fit between other popular theaters (Rialto, Rivolli, Riviera, Ritz) in listings. But since smaller towns with five or six theaters ( Appleton, Wisconsin and Harrisburg, Penn.) had Rio theaters, there must have been some other reason for choosing the name.

Movieplace on July 23, 2004 at 7:30 pm

The Rio was designed by Herbert Krapp. According to a friend in the NYPD there are remenants left of this theater above the false ceiling. The name may have come from a nod to The Hispanic Soceity and Museum nearby.

joemasher on April 3, 2004 at 7:21 am

The Rio is still standing—the framework for the vertical is there and the marquee frame supports the supermarket sign. The whole place was converted to a supermarket after closing and is still very recognizable as a theatre.