Metropolitan Theatre

241 E. 14th Street,
New York, NY 10003

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Showing 1 - 25 of 40 comments

markp on February 7, 2018 at 3:58 pm

Al Alvarez, when they were filming porn movies in the 70s and 80s they would film two versions. The hard version would show the close up of the private areas, and the sex act, the soft would only show from the waist up on both men and women.

bigjoe59 on February 7, 2018 at 3:19 pm


I thank Al A. and NYer for their replies. I’m guessing the two films mentioned in the ½/69 VV ad were soft core or exploitation films and not actual porn but still I suppose they were considered the “porn” of their day.

so I’m guessing that the theater went “adult” per se around the mid60s after being closed up even for a relatively short period of time. I say this because I can’t believe it was showing a 3rd run neighborhood engagement of a studio film that played say the Loew’s State or Criterion a few months before one week then
the next week was showing “adult” films.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on February 6, 2018 at 7:05 pm

The question bigjoe is asking may not have an answer. Sexploitation films of the seventies often issued a soft core version for the drive-in trade. How would anyone know when The Met switched to hard core versions for good unless they were regular customers or worked there.

NYer on February 6, 2018 at 6:48 pm

According to the January 2, 1969 Village Voice, it was already a grindhouse and called The Met Adult Cinema and showing “Orgy Girls” and “Hot Skin And Cold Cash”.

bigjoe59 on February 6, 2018 at 2:06 pm


in terms of Al A.’s question. by “regular” film I mean a studio film having a 3rd run neighborhood engagement. or possibly a low budget American indie. also a foreign language film. in fact I should have just asked what was the last non-porn film to play the theater.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on February 5, 2018 at 9:01 pm

Define “regular” in the early 1970’s.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on February 5, 2018 at 8:29 pm

The usual progression was from mainstream to art/foreign movies, to early nudies and then to hard-core porn by the early 70s.

bigjoe59 on February 5, 2018 at 3:53 pm


does anyone know the last regular film to play this theater? I doubt it was playing a 3rd run neighborhood engagement of a big studio film one week than playing adult films the next week.

Bronxboy on February 4, 2018 at 3:40 pm

The theater showed straight pornographic films but was very popular with gays and straight men looking for “down low” sex. The theater was crawling with sexual activity in the seats. in the dimly lit passageways on both sides of the theater that led to a large, dark space behind the screen where anonymous sex was always going on, and of course in the restrooms. It was sleaze personified.

RobertEndres on June 13, 2017 at 7:33 am

During the ‘70’s I was on a Local #306 Projectionist’s union team picketing a porno house around the corner from the Metropolitan. Our picket signs were stored in the Metropolitan booth. When our shift ended I volunteered with another member to take the picket signs back up to the booth. We got as far in the balcony as perhaps 30’ from the booth door when the stench got to me and I left the signs with my partner and headed for the exit. It was the only time in my life that I got that close to seeing a new booth and didn’t go in. “Sleazy” — I’d say!

Willburg145 on June 13, 2017 at 12:44 am

Why was it so sleazy? I am intrigued

robboehm on March 12, 2017 at 1:37 pm

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

ryan79 on March 12, 2017 at 12:56 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.

bigjoe59 on May 22, 2012 at 3:54 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?

William on September 22, 2011 at 2:11 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.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on May 25, 2011 at 9:36 am

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.

Bway on April 16, 2009 at 11:52 am

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

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on April 14, 2009 at 8:43 pm

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

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on April 13, 2009 at 11:52 am

Is this a photo of this Metropolitan?

View link

Judith Thissen
Judith Thissen on May 16, 2008 at 9:50 am

Just checked a court case against Steiner dating of 1936. It lists all the shareholders of the Greater M & S Circuit, Inc.

The large stockholders (2500+) are Louis Schneider,Elias Mayer, Jacob Borodkin (& family), Max Cohen, and LB Appleton.

One Abraham C. Mayer had 100 shares, the same amount was in the hands of the Estate of Ch. Mayer. So C. Mayer may have been a family member involved in the day-to-day operation of the New Law Theater.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on May 16, 2008 at 9:37 am

During the leasing of the New Law in March 1922, a blurb in the NYT lists two Mayers and a Schneider as the directors of M & S.

E. Mayer, C. Mayer and L. Schneider.

Judith Thissen
Judith Thissen on May 16, 2008 at 8:21 am

Warren, you’re right there is little doubt that the S is of Louis Schneider — not of Schwartz who was also involved in the larger M & S circuit via the SWS (Charles Steiner, Hyman Weisner & Jacob Schwartz). Initially, SWS ran the Metropolitan according to the incorporation documents. It was merged into the Allwon Theaters group in 1922.

The M is from Elias Mayer I think. His name pops up everywhere in the legal documents. Mayer and Schneider operated from the same office in Brooklyn. I have been trying to solve the puzzle of the M & S network but without much success. It was a powerful syndicate in Jewish neighborhoods. I’d love to know who really was the central figure. Charles Steiner did much of the work but the money went elsewhere (I met his grandson). Any information on Louis Schneider?

Other persons that were heavily involved in the network: Jacob Borodkin, Max Shapiro, Harry Blinderman, David Rosenzweig.

Judith Thissen
Judith Thissen on May 16, 2008 at 3:42 am

Lorenz F.J. Weiher also designed the Palace Theater (133-135 Essex Street), the Clinton Theater and the 1917 Sunshine Theater on East Houston (listed Sunshine Cinema). Like the New 14th Street Theater, all three were part of the M & S Circuit.

The address of his office was 271 West 125 Street.

In the mid 1910s Weiher’s main competitor on the Lower East Side was architect Louis Sheinart.

Ziggy on May 2, 2008 at 4:26 pm

The theatre in the photos from January 11 was built as the “Theatre Francais”. It specialized in French plays and is identified in the book “Lost New York”.