East 86th Street Cinemas

210 East 86th Street,
New York, NY 10028

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East 86th Street Cinemas

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Built in 1934, a neighborhood movie theater in the predominately German speaking Yorkville section of Manhattan where German language imports had their U.S. premieres before moving on to the other German language houses like the Wagner Theatre in Ridgewood and, if I remember correctly, the Irvington Theatre in Irvington, New Jersey and other cities. This was in the very late-1940’s til the mid-1960’s.

As the ethnicity of Yorkville changed and the popularity of the Upper East Side increased, the theater was closed in 1965 and re-modeled into the 86th Street East Cinema. By 1968, it was daydating with Loew’s Capitol Theatre with movies such as “In the Heat of the Night” and ran for a good ten years as a United Artists showcase/Red Carpet theatre under the guise of Town & Country Theatres as a single screen. Movies shown at that time included “Around the World in Eighty Days” (re-issue), “The Hospital”, “The Scalphunters” and Jame Bond movies such as “On He Majesty’s Secret Service”. The seating capacity as a single screen was around 600-800 seats, in three wide aisles. After UA slowed down, and tended to send its movies to say the UA East Theatre, the 86th Street East Cinema was also a Universal and Warner Bros. showcase, with movies such as “Freebie and the Bean” and “The Great Waldo Pepper”.

It was twinned in the early-1980’s and played movies such as “The Accidental Tourist”, “Alien Nation”, “Blue Steel”, “Blue Heat” and “Miracle Mile”.

It was quadded in the late-1990’s, now having a great post-industrial feel, and is currently operated by City Cinemas.

Contributed by Erwin Markisch, Robert R, Seth Lewis

Recent comments (view all 32 comments)

owenspierre81 on June 24, 2008 at 12:34 am

Here is a list of films that were shown at the 86TH STREET EAST from 2002 to today.

¼/02- The Royal Tenenbaums
1/18/02- Snow Dogs
2/1/02- Birthday Girl
2/15/02- Super Troopers
3/1/02- 40 Days and 40 Nights
3/22/02- E.T.:The Extra-Terrestrial-The 20th Anniversary
3/22/02- Sorority Boys
3/29/02- The Rookie
4/5/02- High Crimes
4/5/02- National Lampoon’s Van Wilder
4/26/02- Life or Something Like It
5/3/02- Deuces Wild
5/3/02- Hollywood Ending
5/17/02- About A Boy
5/24/02- Insomnia
6/7/02- Bad Company
6/21/02- Lilo & Stitch
6/21/02- Minority Report
7/12/02- Halloween: Resurrection
7/12/02- Reign of Fire
8/2/02- Signs
8/7/02- Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams
8/9/02- Full Frontal
8/16/02- Possession
8/23/02- The Good Girl
9/20/02- The Banger Sisters
9/27/02- Sweet Home Alabama
10/11/02- Brown Sugar
10/11/02- Spirited Away
10/25/02- Paid in Full
10/25/02- The Truth About Charlie
11/1/02- The Santa Clause 2
11/8/02- Frida
11/22/02- The Emperor’s Club
11/27/02- Solaris
12/6/02- Analyze That
12/13/02- Drumline
12/13/02- The Hot Chick
1/3/03- About Schmidt
1/10/03- Antwone Fisher
1/10/03- The Pianist
1/17/03- A Guy Thing
1/17/03- Kangaroo Jack
1/24/03- Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
1/31/03- The Recruit
2/14/03- Daredevil
2/14/03- The Jungle Book 2
2/14/03- The Quiet American
2/21/03- Gods and Generals
3/14/03- Willard
3/21/03- Piglet’s Big Movie
4/4/03- DysFunkTional Family
4/4/03- A Man Apart
4/4/03- What A Girl Wants
4/25/03- Confidence
5/2/03- The Lizzie McGuire Movie
5/9/03- A Mighty Wind
5/23/03- The In-Laws
6/6/03- Whale Rider
6/13/03- Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd
6/20/03- Alex & Emma
TBA 2003- Swimming Pool
7/9/03- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
7/18/03- How to Deal
7/25/03- Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over
8/6/03- Freaky Friday
8/15/03- American Splendor
8/15/03- Freddy vs Jason
8/15/03- Open Range
9/19/03- Cold Creek Manor
9/19/03- Lost in Translation
9/19/03- Secondhand Lions
9/26/03- Duplex
10/17/03- Mystic River
10/17/03- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
10/17/03- Veronica Guerin
10/24/03- Scary Movie 3
11/7/03- Elf
11/14/03- Looney Tunes: Back in Action
11/26/03- Bad Santa
11/26/03- The Haunted Mansion
12/12/03- Love Don’t Cost A Thing
12/17/03- The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
12/25/03- Cold Mountain
1/9/04- My Baby’s Daddy
1/16/04- Monster
1/16/04- Torque
1/23/04- The Butterfly Effect
2/25/04- The Passion of the Christ
2/27/04- Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights
Feb. 2004- The Triplets of Belleville
3/5/04- Hidalgo
3/12/04- Spartan
3/26/04- Jersey Girl
3/26/04- Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed
4/9/04- The Alamo
4/16/04- Kill Bill Vol 2
4/30/04- Godsend
4/30/04- Laws of Attraction
5/14/04- Troy
6/16/04- Around the World in 80 Days
6/25/04- Fahrenheit 9/11
6/25/04- The Notebook
7/7/04- King Arthur
7/16/04- Before Sunset
7/16/04- A Cinderella Story
7/30/04- Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle
8/13/04- Yu-Gi-Oh: The Movie
8/20/04- Open Water
8/27/04- Hero
9/1/04- Vanity Fair
9/10/04- Cellular
9/17/04- Mr. 3000
10/8/04- The Motorcycle Diaries
10/8/04- Raise Your Voice
10/15/04- Shall We Dance?
11/5/04- The Incredibles
11/10/04- The Polar Express
11/12/04- After the Sunset
11/24/04- Finding Neverland
12/8/04- Blade: Trinity
12/17/04- The Aviator
1/7/05- White Noise
1/21/05- Hotel Rwanda
1/28/05- Alone in the Dark
1/28/05- Million Dollar Baby
2/18/05- Son of the Mask
3/11/05- Hostage
3/11/05- Robots
3/18/05- The Upside of Anger
3/24/05- Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous
4/22/05- King’s Ransom
4/22/05- A Lot Like Love
5/6/05- Kingdom of Heaven
5/13/05- Monster-In-Law
6/3/05- The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
6/10/05- The Adventures of SharkBoy and LavaGirl in 3-D
6/10/05- Mr. & Mrs. Smith
6/22/05- Herbie: Fully Loaded
7/1/05- Rebound
7/8/05- Dark Water
7/15/05- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
7/15/05- Wedding Crashers
7/29/05- Sky High
8/12/05- The Great Raid
8/17/05- Supercross: The Movie
8/26/05- The Brothers Grimm
8/31/05- The Constant Gardener
9/2/05- The Transporter 2
9/9/03- The Man
9/16/05- Lord of War
9/23/05- Proof
9/30/05- A History of Violence
10/7/05- In Her Shoes
10/21/05- North Country
11/4/05- Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
11/11/05- Derailed
11/11/05- Pride & Prejudice
11/18/05- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
12/9/05- The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe
12/21/05- Cheaper by the Dozen 2
12/25/05- Wolf Creek
1/6/06- Grandma’s Boy
1/13/06- Glory Road
1/13/06- Hoodwinked
1/20/06- Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World
1/27/06- Big Momma’s House 2
2/3/06- Something New
2/10/06- Curious George
2/17/06- Date Movie
2/17/06- Eight Below
2/24/06- Running Scared
3/3/06- Dave Chappelle’s Block Party
3/10/06- The Hills Have Eyes
3/17/06- V for Vendetta
3/24/06- Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector
3/31/06- Ice Age: The Meltdown
3/31/06- Thank You for Smoking
4/7/06- Take the Lead
4/21/06- American Dreamz
5/5/06- Hoot
5/12/06- Just My Luck
5/19/06- Poseidon
5/19/06- See No Evil
6/6/06- The Omen
6/16/06- The Lake House
6/16/06- Nacho Libre
7/7/06- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
7/14/06- You, Me, and Dupree
7/21/06- Clerks II
7/21/06- My Super Ex-Girlfriend
7/28/06- Scoop
8/4/06- The Night Listener
8/11/06- Pulse
8/18/06- Snakes on a Plane
8/18/06- Trust the Man
8/25/06- The Illusionist
8/25/06- Invincible
9/1/06- Lassie
9/1/06- The Wicker Man
9/8/06- Hollywoodland
9/15/06- Confetti
9/15/06- Everyone’s Hero
9/22/06- Jackass Number Two
9/29/06- The Science of Sleep
10/6/06- The Departed
10/20/06- Flicka
10/20/06- The Prestige
11/3/06- The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
11/10/06- A Good Year
11/22/06- Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny
12/1/06- The Nativity Story
12/1/06- Turistas
12/8/06- Blood Diamond
12/15/06- Charlotte’s Web
12/15/06- Eragon
12/22/06- We Are Marshall
1/5/07- Children of Men
1/5/07- Code Name: The Cleaner
1/5/07- Freedom Writers
1/12/07- Arthur and the Invisibles
1/12/07- Pan’s Labyrinth
1/26/07- Epic Movie
1/26/07- Seraphim Falls
2/2/07- Because I Said So
2/9/07- Hannibal Rising
2/14/07- Music and Lyrics
2/23/07- The Number 23
2/23/07- Reno 911: Miami
3/2/07- Zodiac
3/9/07- 300
3/16/07- I Think I Love My Wife
3/23/07- The Last Mimzy
3/30/07- The Lookout
4/4/07- Firehouse Dog
4/5/07- The Reaping
4/13/07- Disturbia
4/13/07- The Hoax
4/20/07- Fracture
4/27/07- The Invisible
5/4/07- Lucky You
5/18/07- Shrek the Third
6/1/07- Mr. Brooks
6/15/07- Fantastic Four: Rise of thr Silver Surfer
6/15/07- Nancy Drew
6/22/07- You Kill Me
6/29/07- Sicko
7/11/07- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
7/20/07- Hairspray
7/27/07- The Simpsons Movie
8/3/07- Hot Rod
8/10/07- Rush Hour 3
8/17/07- The Invasion
8/17/07- The Last Legion
8/24/07- Resurrecting the Champ
8/29/07- Balls of Fury
8/31/07- Halloween
9/7/07- Shoot ‘Em Up
9/14/07- Mr. Woodcock
9/21/07- Eastern Promises
9/21/07- The Hunting Party
9/28/07- Trade
10/5/07- Into the Wild
10/5/07- The Seeker
10/12/07- Michael Clayton
10/19/07- Gone Baby Gone
10/19/07- Rendition
11/2/07- Bee Movie
11/9/07- Fred Claus
11/9/07- No Country for Old Men
11/21/07- Hitman
12/7/07- The Golden Compass
12/14/07- Alvin and the Chipmunks
12/21/07- Atonement
12/21/07- P.S. I Love You
¼/08- One Missed Call
1/11/08- Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
1/18/08- 27 Dresses
1/25/08- Cassandra’s Dream
2/1/08- Over Her Dead Body
2/14/08- Jumper
2/14/08- The Spiderwick Chronicles
2/29/08- Semi-Pro
3/7/08- 10,000 B.C.
3/14/08- Never Back Down
3/19/08- Under the Same Moon
3/21/08- Drillbit Taylor
3/21/08- Shutter
4/4/08- Nim’s Island
4/4/08- The Ruins
4/11/08- Street Kings
4/25/08- Harold & Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo Bay
5/9/08- Speed Racer
5/9/08- What Happens in Vegas
5/30/08- Sex and the City
6/6/08- Kung Fu Panda
6/13/08- The Happening
6/20/08- Get Smart

The movies that were shown in this theatre are from these following
movie studios:

Paramount Pictures/DreamWorks SKG (16)
Beuna Vista Pictures <Touchstone/Hollywood/Disney/Miramax> (72)*
20th Century Fox/Fox Searchlight/Fox Atomic (52)
Universal Pictures (10)
Lionsgate/Artisan (11)
MGM (4)
Warner Bros./Warner Independent (51)
New Line Cinema/Picturehouse (47)
Focus Features/Rogue Pictures (15)
Weinstein Co. (12)
Newmarket Films (3)
Yari Film Group (2)
Other (5)

The 86TH STREET EAST is another favorite theater of mine.

*The studio that has shown the most movies at this theater.

jflundy on July 13, 2009 at 5:28 pm

Casino Theatre on 9/14/47 in Yorkville Casino Building.
View link

jflundy on July 13, 2009 at 5:30 pm

Above photo, a really rare image until recently, is posted courtesy of Warren.

kencmcintyre on August 19, 2009 at 1:45 am

I think this is the photo Warren posted on 6/10/07. This photo is from the Associated Press.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 27, 2009 at 2:01 am

In 1999, The New York Times published this article about the rather complex history of the building at this address (the article will probably vanish from the Internets soon if The Times decides to put its content behind a pay wall, so if you aren’t a Times subscriber read it while it lasts.)

The original building at 210 E. 86th Street, built for the Musical Mutual Protective Union in 1904 and designed by architects Trowbridge & Livingston, was replaced by a modern building in 1966, but the greater part of the East 86th Street Cinemas is located behind the surviving facade of an annex built on 85th Street in 1919, which was designed by the same architects. The entrance to the theater is in the 1966 building on 86th Street.

I don’t know who designed the 1966 building, but the architect for the 1999 renovation of the theater into a four-plex was John W. Averitt, Averitt Associates, who was best known for designing live performance spaces but who did at least three renovation projects for City Cinemas. The others that I know of were the City Cinemas Village East and the Murray Hill cinema, both done earlier than the 86th Street Cinemas.

AlAlvarez on August 27, 2009 at 10:42 am

Great article, Joe. Thanks.

JackCoursey on February 6, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Photos from 2009 of the East 86th Street Cinema: 1, 2

bigjoe59 on September 19, 2014 at 4:38 pm

to Ed S.–

you have always been most helpful in the past so I have a good one for you this time. a theater of one sort or another has occupied this location for over a hundred years. now prior to the 86 St. East 4-Plex opening this location was home to the 86 St. East a single house for decades. now was the single screen 86 St. East which was a decent sized building completely demolished or was it simply gutted and the current 4-plex built within said gutted skeletal structure?

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