American Theater

1450 East Avenue,
Bronx, NY 10462

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American Theater

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Built in 1939 for the once-thriving Parkchester neighborhood of the Bronx, Loew’s American Theater was opened on December 26, 1940. The American Theater eventually fell on hard times.

After years of neglect, the theater was purchased by Stewart Epstein, who turned the dilapidated movie house into a 1,400-seat multiplex.

The current layout is as follows:
The orchestra level has a dividing wall right down the middle. In each of the two auditoriums, the back quarter has been walled off creating two more, totaling four downstairs. Two seat approximately 380 each; two seat approximately 80 each. The balcony was also twinned – one side seats approximately 250. The other side was divided again creating two auditoriums, each seating 105.

The renovated theater won’t solve the Bronx’s ongoing financial woes, but for now, it has brought the movies back to Parkchester. It was taken over by Bow-Tie Cinemas in April 2008 and further renovations were carried out. It was closed in September 2013 when Bow Tie’s lease ran out and the buildings' owners plan ‘other uses’ rather than movie theatre.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 64 comments)

DARCYDT on September 12, 2013 at 5:22 pm

73 years there, they were closed a bit from 94 to 95 till Stuart Epstein bought it and reopened it. Used to live in that area and we also had the Circle and the Palace both long closed.

bigjoe59 on September 15, 2013 at 10:52 am


i was saddened to hear of the theater’s closing.
i believe that leaves the Bay Plaza as the only
movie theater in the Bronx.

but i don’t understand as a Bow Tie spokesperson said in the News 12 video that he lease can’t be renewed? it not like the building was something else previously and the owner wanted to return it to its original use. it was built as a movie theater. so i assume we’re dealing with a typical greedy NY landlord.

DARCYDT on September 15, 2013 at 4:55 pm

There’s a 10 plex at 161st and Grand Concourse.

DARCYDT on September 15, 2013 at 5:00 pm

I wonder if Bow Tie will close any of the other theaters they acquired from Clearview. Their Herricks theater in New Hyde Park doesn’t have any recent openers either. Their Main Street theater in Port Washington seems to be losing a lot of new movies to the recently reopened and renovated Soundview theater also.

robboehm on September 15, 2013 at 6:29 pm

Yes, bigjoe59, the Bay Plaza is the only theater left in the Bronx, of the 118 listed on Cinema Treasures in that boro. To DARCYCDT, not all of the Clearview properties were assumed by BowTie. I would have thought they wouldn’t have acquired any they were likely to drop. Leases are a funny thing. I know the Port Washington property is leased. A big problem there is parking. Clearview owned some properties, the Roslyn in particular. Don’t know if BowTie actually purchased Clearview owned properties or leased them from them.

rivest266 on September 16, 2013 at 1:47 pm

For the record, it opened on December 26th, 1940.

fred1 on September 16, 2013 at 3:42 pm

This was the last theater in NYC that still maintained its glory even after renovations. I can imanaging that my folks or my grandparents walking through its doors.

Nicholas Vargelis
Nicholas Vargelis on September 19, 2013 at 9:53 am

I was at the theater this past weekend the day it closed. I learned that the lease with Bow Tie Cinemas was terminated so that a TJ Max can take over the space.

Here is a link to photos I took during my visit:

In the photos you can see so many of the original architectural details are still intact. I suspect much of this will be lost if plans go forward to alter the space to accommodate a large retail store.

NanBronxChapter on January 4, 2014 at 9:38 am

Please Sign and pass around to Concerned Organizations and or individuals

fred1 on January 4, 2014 at 1:29 pm

Bowtie took great care in maintenance and renovations so the theater maintain its classic appearance.

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