Art East Cinema

1105 1st Avenue,
New York, NY 10065

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First Avenue Screening Room

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The First Avenue Screening Room was small cinema that opened on 1st Avenue on May 17, 1973 with “Memories of Underdevelopment”. It was programmed by Fabiano Canosa and known for presenting neglected, hard-to-market, and shelved films of merit. The New York Film Critics Circle gave Mr. Canosa an award in 1974 “for his innovative programs at the First Avenue Screening Room”.

On March 19, 1975 it was renamed Byron Theatre and operated as a gay adult movie theatre, opening with “The Devil and Mr. Jones”. The Byron Cinema became the Eastworld Cinema in 1980 to 1981. In 1982 until 1990 it operated as Art East Cinema. In 1991 it was briefly renamed York Cinema and played regular recent movies, and then went back to the Art East Cinema name until it closed in 1994.

Contributed by Gerald A. DeLuca

Recent comments (view all 35 comments)

bardex
bardex on June 26, 2010 at 11:19 pm

I’ve got the very 16mm print used for the premier of the first X rated film ever screened here, it was THE DEVIL IN MR. JONES (a gay knock-off of the classic by Gerard Damiano). I ran in early ‘75, IIRC.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on October 22, 2011 at 8:13 am

New ad in photo section claims 220 seats.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on September 29, 2012 at 12:19 pm

I have added an ad from the 1991 incarnation as the York mentioned by KingBiscuits in September 2009.

Joseph Angier
Joseph Angier on June 18, 2015 at 7:44 am

Interesting. I don’t recall the First Avenue Screening Room being renamed York Cinema, but I do remember a York Cinema from the 1960s a few blocks uptown, at about 64th St. (on the same side of First Avenue). That York Cinema was a revival house owned and operated by Warner LeRoy, until he used the space to expand his then-booming restaurant – Maxwell’s Plum.

mvo
mvo on May 5, 2016 at 5:18 pm

I was either the first or one of the first doorman/ushers who worked at the FIRST AVENUE SCREENING ROOM. ED SULLIVAN, went by one night to view on of the movies. Mr. Abe Mansfield was the manager at that time and Jim Dalmedo was the assistant manager. The projectionist was New York City’s second or first female projectionist. I saw some great and very interesting movies there.

SethLewis
SethLewis on May 6, 2016 at 6:59 am

The transition to the York had to be very very brief…was it ever the EastWorld as well as the Art East?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on May 6, 2016 at 7:37 am

1973-1974 First Avenue Screening Room
1975-1979 Byron Cinema
1980-1981 EastWorld
1982-1990 Art East
1991 York
1992-1994 back to Art East

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 8, 2018 at 5:17 am

I visited this place on June 8, 1973 to see the Japanese film “Funeral Parade of Roses” by Toshio Matsumoto. It was the First Avenue Screening Room then.

Joseph Angier
Joseph Angier on July 10, 2018 at 5:57 am

“The Harder They Come” (which went on to become a classic) premiered at the First Avenue Screening Room. At the time, few of us knew about this Jamaican music known as ‘reggae.’ or had even heard of Jimmy Cliff.

Joseph Angier
Joseph Angier on July 10, 2018 at 6:00 am

Also, “Dodes'ka-den” premiered at the First Avenue Screening Room in 1974. It was a sign of how far Akira Kurosawa’s reputation had fallen that a) it took four years for this movie to get shown in the U.S., and b) it could only get a showing in this incredibly tiny theater with a tiny screen.

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