Cosmo Theatre

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

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Tinseltoes on June 30, 2012 at 3:38 pm

The Cosmo’s marquee can be seen in the top right corner of this page from a 1946 trade journal: boxofficemagazine

Tinseltoes on May 18, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Portions of the marquee and vertical sign can also be seen at the extreme left here: lunaimaging

Tinseltoes on May 18, 2012 at 5:50 pm

The Cosmo Theatre can be seen at the left side of this 1932 photo from the Municipal Archives: lunaimaging

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

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!

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.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 11, 2008 at 3:29 pm

Here’s a new link to a vintage view of the auditorium:
View link

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on June 7, 2007 at 5:06 pm

It seems that there was alot of crime at this theater.

MELT DOOR OFF SAFE, COOL MONEY, ESCAPE; Thieves Get $6,000 After Using Acetylene Torches and Fire Extinguishers in Theatre.

NY Times November 10, 1925

Free portion of story:

Cracksmen virtually melted the door off the burglar-proof safe in the office of the Cosmos Motion Picture Theatre, 176 East 116th Street, it was disclosed yesterday, and used fire extinguishers to cool off $6,000 before departing with it. About $200 in silver refused to yield to the chemicals of the extinguishers and the cracksmen left that behind.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on June 6, 2007 at 8:10 pm

Man in Harlem Theatre Is Shot In Darkness During Movie Show; Unidentified Thug Walks Into House, Fires Four Times and Flees—Audience of 500 in Uproar

NY Times June 2, 1945

Free portion of story:

Five hundred patrons attending a double-feature film in the Cosmo Theatre, 176 East 116th Street, got an extra thrill last night when an unidentified man walked into the theatre, shot and seriously wounded 30-year-old Louis Cirello who was standing in the rear of the theatre.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on June 6, 2007 at 6:06 pm

GET $15,000 IN RAID ON MOVIE RECEIPTS; Six Men With Pistols Hold Up Office After Five Managers Make Deposits.

NY Times February 24, 1926

Free portion of story:

The managers of five motion picture houses in the string of six controlled by the Midtown Amusement Company arrived in the office of the Cosmo Motion Picture Theatre, 176 East 116th Street, yesterday morning at 11 o'clock. They carried with them the receipts of three days at their theatres, amounting to about $15,000.

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.

bamtino on December 17, 2005 at 5:28 pm

According to a Warren comment on another page, the 1943 FDY lists this theatre with 1246 seats. The 1955 edition states that it seated 1150. In addition to the updated seat count, the function should be listed as retail, as per previous comments.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on September 29, 2005 at 12:51 pm

A Kramer organ Size 2/8 was installed in the Cosmo Theater in 1921.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on August 31, 2005 at 5:45 pm

I found a C/O for this building dated January 19, 1922. It doesn’t say new building so I don’t know if its the original C/O or not. The owner was the Horace Building Corp. It is listed as a one story fireproof theater with 1450 seats.

SillyMil on July 9, 2005 at 3:50 am

OMG, the Cosmo! One of my favs growing up in Spanish Harlem. I remember seeing Jaws, Grease and others. Until recently you would’ve been able to see the name still written in the street outside the theater. Now it’s a clothing shop. Boo hoo hoo! Hey does anyone remember the Edison on 103rd & 3rd Ave? I remember they had a live show there with Tito Puente, Celia Cruz and Iris Chacon.

RobertR on July 4, 2005 at 10:37 pm

OK, I guess it’s not listed on here yet.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on July 4, 2005 at 10:34 pm

As for the Tapia Theater, it burned down during the blackout of 1977.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on July 4, 2005 at 10:16 pm

Robert…I have an address for a West End Theater in Manhattan. Add it and we can fill in the blanks later.
360 W 125th St.
New York, NY 10027

The San Juan theater is the Audubon Theater which is on here already:

RobertR on July 4, 2005 at 10:03 pm

Check out this 1974 ad for “Coffy” does anyone know theatres named
San Juan, Tapia and West End all listed in uptown Manhattan? I tried doing a former name search on here but nothing came up.

View link

br91975 on October 5, 2004 at 3:21 pm

The Cosmo shut its doors sometime in the late 1980s; two of the more notable – if that’s the appropriate word – Cannon releases shown at the Cosmo in its latter years were 1987’s ‘Masters of the Universe’ (a proud moment, I’m sure, in the careers of everyone involved) and 1988’s ‘Salsa’.