East 86th Street Cinemas

210 E. 86th Street,
New York, NY 10028

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Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 2, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Bigjoe59… Sorry for the delayed response, but I don’t have notifications set up for this cinema. The answer to your question is in the description at the top of the page. The single screener was divided, first in two, and then, later, into its current quartet format. All within the same structure original structure. Had the original building been torn down, with a new edifice erected in its place – as with the old Loew’s State on Broadway – then we’d have two separate listings on CT (again, see the seperate entries for the Loew’s State and the replacement Loew’s State Theatre 4 herein.)

tone10029 on October 2, 2014 at 3:06 pm

I remember when this theatre was just one screen in the mid seventies.Great theatre.I saw a number of big movies there when I was growing up in the city,including Moonraker,Poltergiest,Jaws3-D, and Scarface.

bigjoe59 on September 19, 2014 at 1:38 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?

JackCoursey on February 6, 2010 at 4:58 pm

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

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on August 27, 2009 at 7:42 am

Great article, Joe. Thanks.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 26, 2009 at 11:01 pm

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.

kencmcintyre on August 18, 2009 at 10:45 pm

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

jflundy on July 13, 2009 at 2:30 pm

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

jflundy on July 13, 2009 at 2:28 pm

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

owenspierre81 on June 23, 2008 at 9:34 pm

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.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on November 30, 2007 at 7:40 pm

The 86th Street East had at least one XXX adult engagement in 1975 – and that would be for the film “S.O.S.” produced by and starring Al Goldstein of Screw Magazine fame and released on April 29th. The tag for the film was “The magazine you swore you’d never read … becomes the film you can’t miss. I imagine that Goldstein might have four-walled the theatre for this premiere engagement.

This is a very small image of an ad for the movie.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on April 29, 2006 at 12:33 am

That photo really tells a story, Warren. I wonder if the Cameo faced a similar scenario during the cold war?

EMarkisch on July 18, 2005 at 8:28 am

The double feature playing at the Casino in Warren’s 1963 photo must have been reissues, because “Monpti” had its New York premiere on 4/20/59 and “Confess, Dr. Corda” on 10/23/60.

If memory serves correct, Munio Podhorzer’s import company was called the “Casino Film Exchange”. His imports would usually play their first run at the 86th Street Casino and be reviewed by the New York Daily News. After a week or so, they would move on to the Wagner Theater in Ridgewood and then on to the Irvington in Irvington, NJ. I presume that, from that point on, they then went on to other US cities that had sizeable German speaking populations such as Chicago, Milwaukee, etc.

BoxOfficeBill on July 17, 2005 at 1:59 pm

My wife, who grew up around the corner in the 1950s, tells me that every afternoon an old guy would sit on the steps with a bag of live eels, selling those delicacies (die Aale) to regular customers from the neighborhood. Many a relative of hers first met his or her mate in the Tuxedo Ballroom next door.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 17, 2005 at 10:31 am

The Yorkville Casino is listed in the American Motion Picture Directory 1914-1915.

BoxOfficeBill on July 8, 2005 at 8:52 am

Yes, “Monpti” as “Mon petit” makes all the sense in the world (though I don’t recall the film). I had misread the correct title.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 8, 2005 at 8:41 am

That is one interesting photo. I never saw anything of this theatre. I believe the film Monpti (phonetic German for the French phrase “mon petit”) and starring Romy Schneider, had bookings in other more “mainstream” art houses in a subtitled verion.

BoxOfficeBill on July 8, 2005 at 8:37 am

That’s a terrific image of the Casino! I don’t recognize the films, “Confess, Dr. Korda” and “Monpii(?),” but they are typical of the fare there in ‘63. I saw Gustav Grundgens’s “Faust” there around that time. Shortly afterwards (mid-'60s, no?) the theater was modernized and switched to current Hollywood product, first playing subsequent runs to the RKO and Loew’s houses on the other side of the block, and then joining one or another of the Showcase presentations for first-run offerings. I’d practically forgotten the steps up to the auditorium, and even the Tuxedo Ballroom next door. Across the street, above the Automat next to Loew’s, was a fencing studio where you could study (and practice) your swordsmanship. Colorful neighborhood. Thanks for the picture!

RobertR on June 20, 2005 at 1:59 pm

Was this ever known as The Grande? I have an ad from 1947 showing a theatre called the Grande at 86 & Lex.

sethbook on November 2, 2004 at 9:19 am

Here’s what I wrote about the old theatre in 1997:

Going to this theatre (to see Mimic) was like being in a time warp, but not in a good way. This theatre was clearly built or remodeled in the 1960s, and has not changed since. The theatre displays its personality in the form of bizarre lampshapes and big chess pieces on the back wall near the projectionist’s peepholes. The seats are originals, and therefore uncomfortable. Seating technology has come a long way since the 1960s. There is something to be said for the upsurge of chain theatres in Manhattan; the seating is vastly improved over the older theatres. If you really can only see a movie here, then by all means, go. Otherwise, pick the Loews Orpheum around the corner on Third Avenue. A trip to this theatre is merely a (bad) trip down memory lane. On the plus side, the woman at the ticket window was very nice. Not the usual surly variety.

Since that time, the theatre has been renovated and features a clean but dark and austere metal design scheme reminiscent of something “Dieter” of SNL sketch fame would like. A vast improvement over the old theatre.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 24, 2004 at 1:29 pm

But all German, Italian, and Japanese film prints were confiscated and sequestered by the U.S. Government and housed at some army base during the war years. I know that some of the Italian film prints from that period are still preserved by the Library of Congress. I too truly doubt that any German films could have been shown at the Casino at that time.