Metropolitan Theatre

241 East 14th Street,
New York, NY 10003

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Metropolitan Theatre exterior

Viewing: Photo | Street View

At its closing in 1988, the Metropolitan Theatre was perhaps the most notorious porno theatre in New York City, but it first opened in 1914 as the New 14th Street Theatre. Prolific architect Lorenz F.J. Welher’s design was one of his first for a full-fledged movie theatre rather than nickelodeon.

Around 1940, the theatre was re-named the Arrow Theatre, which stuck until the 1960’s, when it turned XXX as the Metropolitan (known to regulars as the Met).

Through the decades, the interior was never changed or even re-painted. The original screen still hung against the back wall, with a newer, larger screen placed some feet in front. The sliding glass skylight remained affixed to the ceiling, and soiled red damask covered the walls.

The theatre has since been razed and replaced by an apartment building.

Contributed by Warren G. Harris

Recent comments (view all 30 comments)

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on April 13, 2009 at 5:52 pm

Is this a photo of this Metropolitan?

View link

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on April 15, 2009 at 2:43 am

Sure looks like it. (I just got a little dizzy with thoughts of a mis-spent youth…)

Bway on April 16, 2009 at 5:52 pm

I don’t even know if it should say “retail” as this theater’s function, as it most definitely was demolished. It appears to currently be a condo or apartment building, and doesn’t even appear to be retail on the first floor. Compare to the photo alalvarez posted on april 13th, which still has “Einstein Bros” on the building next door. Here’s a google street view:

View link

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on May 25, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Since Ken Roe has added another porn Metropolitan does anyone know when the Metropolitan closed and when THE MET opened?

The Village Voice ads above are from 1970.

William on September 22, 2011 at 8:11 pm

In the Google picture above the theatre was located at the 235 East 14th Street. Which is the building to the left of the DVD Store.

bigjoe59 on May 22, 2012 at 9:54 pm


i first became aware of this theater when i was a delivery boy for a local supermarket in the early 70s at which point it was already showing porn. i have always assumed it was a vaudeville house which had seen better days. but from the intro at the top am i to understand it was built from the ground up as a movie theater in 1914 and was not a conversion/renovation of an older structure into a movie theater and that it was strictly a movie theater its entire life?

Matthew Prigge
Matthew Prigge on November 17, 2012 at 2:45 am

If anyone has any stories about going to/ working at this threatre in its adult days, I would love to hear them. I am chronicling the histories of adult theatres in the US. Please contact me at Thanks!

ryan79 on March 12, 2017 at 6:56 am

I also thought this was a vaudeville house…it had the most peculiar configuration with two narrow balconies the length of the theater on both sides of the hall. On the outside facade were two devils? satyrs? It was by far the sleaziest porn theater and that is saying a lot. I would never want to live in the apartments on this site. If there are ghosts then this is the place.

robboehm on March 12, 2017 at 6:37 pm

Sounds like a great plot for a novel: ghosts from the theater menacing apartment owners.

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