Loew's 72nd Street East

1230 Third Avenue,
New York, NY 10021

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4 Dec 2010

Viewing: Photo | Street View

This was the replacement for the grand Loew’s 72nd Street Theatre that previously occupied the entire Third Avenue blockfront between E. 71st Street and E. 72nd Street. This cinema opened in 1962 and has now lasted longer than it’s predecessor which lasted only 29 years. It is part of a 42 story condominium apartment building that was designed by Emery Roth & Sons, Architects.

The cinema occupies the 71st Street corner of the one-story commercial wing of the building. The entrance is on Third Avenue. When you enter from the street you are on the balcony level. It has a split balcony, with seating only above the aisle and the wall on each side. What would be the center section of seats is the projection room. From the street level lobby you descend a stairway to the main auditorium area. Upper and lower lobbies are microscopic, considering the capacity of the auditorium.

It was built in the days when New Yorkers expected to have to stand outside in line. With the closing of the Astor Plaza this is Loew’s last single screen theatre in Manhattan, it is also the oldest of the Manhattan theatres that were built by Loew’s.

I was told that seats from the Astor Theatre were used to re-seat this theatre, which at one time was in desperate need of comfortable seats. The Tower East plays a mixture of art-house product along with general release films. You can’t play just anything there and expect to make money. The upper-east-side neighborhood loves the place when it plays an upscale type of film.

The auditorium is pleasantly decorated with red curtains on the screen that really do open and close, though they are left open because of the slides on the screen during intermissions. (The Astor Theatre closed their curtain at the end of the show only because the throw was too far for the ordinary slide machines used). The side walls are covered with red and gray draperies and the ceiling is painted black. It has 70mm capability – but 70mm prints are few and far between.

Having absorbed Loews theatres, AMC tookover. On December 9, 2010, the Loews 72nd Street East closed with the political thriller “Fair Game”. Still known to moviegoers by its original name, the ‘Tower East’ enjoyed a long 48 year run as a prestigious Upper East Side single screen moveihouse. It was converted into an Anthropologie store which opened on February 15, 2012.

Contributed by dave-bronx

Recent comments (view all 98 comments)

shua22 on April 1, 2011 at 4:10 pm

So sad to see this when I walked by today.

Lots of asbestos abatement signs.
There’s a for rent sign where Victoria’s Secret was… the listing is for the entire block front.
View link

Here’s a pic from today.

shua22 on April 1, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Oops, sorry… here’s a better link to the rental listing
View link

TLSLOEWS on April 18, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Thanks Tinseltoes.

br91975 on May 25, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Coming soon to the former AMC Loews 72nd Street East 1 space – Anthropologie. Story: View link

ReddHeddJedd on August 24, 2011 at 11:06 am

I worked here in 85, and we had the premier showing out Out Of Africa, right at the time the city made way for a new sidewalk, so the patrons had to entre on wooden planks, I loved this place and I’m saddedned it closed :(

ReddHeddJedd on August 24, 2011 at 11:07 am

But I always knew it as the Tower East, and when i went back to work in 05, I kept saying Tower East when I answered the phone !

Ed Miller
Ed Miller on November 14, 2011 at 10:40 pm

I saw two Streisand films here in sneak previews, “The Way We Were” and “Funny Lady”. A very restless and disrespectful crowd sat through “The Stepford Wives” waiting for “Funny Lady,” and a lot of very funny comebacks were hurled at the screen.

dave-bronx™ on January 4, 2012 at 5:31 am

So, what’s the scoop? Did they ever open that Anthropological store in here? Is there anyone with a camera nearby to possibly snap a few pics of it with the new tenant and inevitable changes to the exterior and post them on this site? If so, thanks in advance.

br91975 on March 6, 2012 at 2:06 pm

The Anthropologie store opened on February 17th. Some photos and a brief write-up: http://ny.racked.com/archives/2012/03/02/new_anthro.php#4f510fb285216d08a70038ba

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