Park Avenue Theatre
487 Park Avenue,
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Previously operated by: Walter Reade Theatres
Architects: William I. Hohauser
Styles: Streamline Moderne
Located on Park Avenue at 59th Street, the Park Avenue Theatre opened in October 1946. It was a project of Walter Reade Theatres, and was designed to cater for the upscale neighborhood. It was a conversion of the former Anderson Art Galleries. The main staircase wall had a mural ‘The Judgement of Mars’ by the noted Belgium artist Oscar Glas. Seating was provided for 350 in the orchestra level, and 125 double ‘love’ seats in a raised mezzanine stadium section at the rear which was for smokers. The downstairs lounge offered facilities for backgammon, gin rummy or bridge, with cards and games provided by the management. The ladies lounge was supervised by a beauty technician, specially trained by Charles of the Ritz. There were no vending machines or sales of any merchandise in the theatre. Tickets were sold on an annual subsciption basis from $52 per year upwards, averaging $1 a week per person per performance. Any un-reserved seats that wewre available for walk-up customers cost 60 cents. The subscription system was abandoned after a year when new operators took over the theatre, and it became a first run showcase cinema for Universal-International Pictures.
The Park Avenue Theatre opened with “Anna and the King of Siam”, and it played the 1948 Laurence Olivier film of “Hamlet” in a run that lasted well over a year. The theatre was equipped with both 35mm and 16mm projection and programs changed twice weekly. It was closed in 1952.
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