Cosmo Theatre

176 E. 116th Street,
New York, NY 10029

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Warren's photo of auditorium

The Cosmo Theatre opened in 1922 by Steinman & Greenberg. By 1926 it was operated by the Meyer & Schneider circuit. This neighborhood house played out its last years with double feature action flicks. An occasional Cannon or New Line film would open here first run. It closed around 1983.

Contributed by RobertR

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

yma225 on May 15, 2006 at 3:58 am

I went to the old Cosmo’s theatre as child with my older brother and friends. The building still stands and was unfortunately converted into a clothing store sometime in the mid 80’s. I have lots of good memories of the theater. My older brother would take me there in the early & mid 60’s to see movies such as “Godzilla”, “King Kong”, and “Children of the Damn” along with one hour worth of short films and news. The Cosmos showed both English and Spanish films untill its closing. They also gave live concerts there. I saw Spanish artist such as Iris Chacon,Sandro,Rafael,Tito Puente, Celia Cruz long before they played Radio City Music Hall or Madison Square Garden. My babysitter, who did not speak English and loved the movies, would take me to see the old Mexican cowboy movies, as well as the “Cantinfla” movies staring Mario Moreno. They also showed lots of badly dubbed American films targeted to the Spanish speaking public. The theater closed for good some time in the early 80’s. The movie house was known as The Cosmo until its closing and kept its art deco “Cosmos” signage until the very end. The Theater was located at on 116th between Lexington and Third Avenues in “Spanish Harlem” better known as “El Barrio” to the thousands of Puerto Ricans, such as myself, who were the resident immigrant group of that time.

joot29 on October 27, 2008 at 3:07 pm

OMG. I’ll never forget being at the Cosmo when the blackout hit NYC (was it 1977?). If I remember correctly, it was either “Westworld” or “Island of Dr. Moreau” (or both?). Anyway…..the lights go out, the movie stops, etc…..but no one is freaking out just yet…..we’re just waiting for things to get back to normal. But they don’t. Then I can hear some commotion outside. My mother is freaking out. The noise is escalating, and then people start storming out of the theater. My mother grabs both my hand and my brother’s so hard that the next day we still had red marks on our wrists! As we walked out of the theater, it was a surreal scene. Stores being looted, traffic, commotion, sirens going off. I’ll never forget it.

DeliaFernandez21 on December 16, 2010 at 6:58 pm

My God! Blast from the past! I grew up in Spanish Harlem in the 70s and 80s when La Marqueta was still functioning. I vividly remember our family’s weekly outings to the Cosmo Thearter! My mother, father, brother and I! I can still smell the popcorn! The beautiful marble floors and staircases, the old fashioned bathrooms and the long velvet drapes that hung from ceiling to floor in the screening room itself! What a beautiful time to grow up in and what a beautiful community with such flavor and sense of family! The best time of my life! What a great memory and an even greater loss! Those times in Spanish Harlem with my family will live in my heart forever! Que viva El Barrio y las jentes latinas que se vivieron y suigen viviendo en esa communidad tan especial!

jrock on January 26, 2012 at 7:16 pm

great story joot29. i lived up there for 8 years in late 1990s-2000’s and remember the blackout if 2003(or was it 04)…different times

AndrewBarrett on December 28, 2014 at 3:02 am

Does anybody have some current exterior or interior photos of the Cosmo? What store(s) is/are occupying the building now, and how much of the theatre interior is still intact?

According to “The Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ” by Mr. David L. Junchen, pg. 630, the Cosmo Theatre in New York City, New York had a 2 manual, 8 rank Smith organ (with a Kramer nameplate) installed in 1921. This organ had a 3 horsepower Kinetic blower, serial #J415, which produced 10" of static wind.

Does anybody know where this organ (or its parts) is/are today?

Are the organ chambers still intact in the building?

If so, what is currently in them, and would the owner(s) allow me to take pictures of the chambers (and the building) if/when I come visit the East Coast?

This is for my Smith theatre pipe organ history webpage. Thanks a lot!

Jack Theakston
Jack Theakston on January 21, 2019 at 7:06 am

Originally opened in 1922 and was run by Steinman and Greenberg. Seating was listed as 1,200. Ran 100% Universal Pictures when it opened.

bigjoe59 on June 9, 2019 at 8:53 pm


traveling west along 116 St. just before you get to 3rd Ave. one sees that the auditorium section still exits. has it been gutted or simply covered over for retail use?

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