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I was at the IFC last night and as anyone who attends films there knows, they screen a short before most features. Well, last night I was delighted to see a short film about “The Grand Luncheonette” that we were discussing above and that was located under the marquee of the theater. The same family owned or ran the luncheonette and it was there for 58 years before closing in October 1997. Fortunately, the filmmaker received the cooperation of the family that ran the luncheonette and was able to make the short film and capture this slice of a now vanished New York. It is places like the luncheonette that made New York New York and one great quote in the film has a family member saying that soon all of American will look alike with MacDonalds and Starbucks on every corner. That comment was made in 1997 and I can’t imagine what he would think of “The Deuce” or NYC now. There is a web site by the filmmaker that I will try to remember as I’m going back to the IFC later today.
Why is this theatre listed as “closed/demolished?” I was at the AMC/Loews Orpheum 7, as listed in the “Times.” The theatre is on the West Side of Third Avenue, between 86th & 87th Streets. The Papaya King is on the corner.
I went to this theatre for the first time in nearly a decade last night to attend an advanced screening of BEETHOVEN’S COPYIST. It was only the second time in 25 years I’ve seen a movie in this theatre or in or around 86th Street. I was in a basement, or sub-basement two flights down, theatre to see the screening. It is so deep if anyone threatens to nuke us, I think I’d head over to this theatre.
The films screening weren’t drawing because as we were filing in, no one, not a soul, was in line to buy tickets for the other offerings, some of which were starting at the same time as the free screening.
I haven’t been to many free screenings in recent years, but security was ultra tight. I felt I was getting on a plane as two security guards searched everyone going in, waving a wand over us. They didn’t want anyone recording the proceedings. And during the middle of the film a security guard stood next to the screen and looked over the crowd using what looked like night vision goggles.
I made my first trip back here in 10 years a couple of weeks ago when I caught INFAMOUS, which was playing in both theatres. Last time I was here, in October of 1996, I remember it was a rainy Saturday and the film FLY AWAY FROM HOME was playing. So, every family in Manhattan with kids was in line and it was a mob scene in front of the theatre. I remember waiting in a long line in the rain waiting to buy a ticket/get in. I think FLY AWAY FROM HOME was playing exclusively at the Chelsea Theatre at that point and the combination of the day and the weather caused the place to be mobbed. That same day I made it a double-bill catching LOVE IS ALL THERE IS there, which, in addition to taking place on City Island, featured a then unknown Angelina Jolie in the cast.
Until I caught INFAMOUS, I hadn’t been back since. This was the first time I’d been back since they reduced the screens from three to two and they did a nice job, though I don’t think thre were 10 people in the theatre the day I caught INFAMOUS.
I’ve viewed films here when it was a single theatre, then a triplex, then a duplex.
Every week in the movie listings in the “Times” weekend guide there are words in the AMC listing under almost every film are the words “AMC SELECT; Special Engagement.” What does that mean?
I was doing some research this weekend and looking at the film listings in the “Times'” “Weekend” section and noticed that the ads for Lincoln Plaza, which then had only three screens, and the demolished Cinema Studio up the street, were combined in one display ad. Did Dan Talbot own or book both theatres? I assume he did, based on the ads, but had never known/realized that before.
I wonder if was by accident or by design that 1987 was the year that saw the Rivoli, Strand & State all closed? Because it was roughly around this time that Cinemplex Odeon had come into Manhattan with a storm, promising us real butter on our popcorn, burnished marble floors and the multi-plex boom began. I remember they actually re-opened or turned a porn theatre on the Northwestern corner of Times Square (Beacon Theatrend & Seventh where the Reuters building now stands) into a movie theatre and moved the entrance from 42nd Street to Seventh Avenue.
Times Square was still Times Square back then and it is probably one of those weird coincidences that all three closed in one year.
Was this the same block where later they opened an RKO Video Store? I know the video store was on one of those short streets (east/west) between Broadway/Seventh Avenue at the north end of Times Square? I remember that video store had a great selection and I would go there on my lunch hour every Friday and rent four videos in the late eighties/early nineties. Alas, like the Rivoli, that video store is long gone.
That is odd that I don’t have any memory at all of the State. Not only can’t I remember it from the 1980s, I can’t even remember what was on that block after the theatre closed in ‘87. There was a long gap between the closing of the State in '87 and opening of the Virgin/four theatres in '96 and I am drawing a blank on what was there. And I worked on Sixth Avenue a block away so I was in Times Square often.
I must have seen AGAINST ALL ODDS in the upstairs theatre at the State if if looked like those steep upstairs theatres at the Embassy.
When you research these things — about where you saw what films — it is amazing what tricks your memory plays. I could swear I saw a film in a certain theatre and find that it wasn’t even playing at the theatre where I thought I saw it.
Ah. So I was in here! Thanx Warren on the Embassy thread for pointing out that the Rivoli and UA Twin were one and the same. I’ve been going nuts trying to figure out if I was in the Strand/Warner, State & Rivoli/UA Twin. I know for sure I patronized the Strand/Warner at least once (Star Wars revival in ‘83) and the Rivoli/UA Twin for a film called BEDROOM WINDOW sometime in '87, the same year the theatre closed. I remember the night well because a) I had a date; b) I left my umbrella in the theatre. I remember the theatre as being empty and BW was kind of a schlocky title in line of an earlier comment that UA was booking B movie fodder in here.
I’ve must walk down that block again to refresh my memory about where the theatre actually was.
I didn’t go here often, but do remember seeing THE PLAYER here on its original run and remember the line was ‘round the block as they used to say. With the rise of the multi-plexes you don’t often see movie lines snaking down sidewalks any longer.
I’m not 100% sure I saw it here, but the last time I was in the Beekman may have been back in ‘99 for THE RED VIOLIN, but I’m not 100% certain I caught it at the Beekman because TRV also played at Lincoln Plaza & UA’s 14th Street 'plex.
There are some gaps in AAlvarez' list and I know the Irish film I WENT DOWN played there on 7/1/98, though I’m not sure I caught it at the Beekman because it also played at City Cinemas Village East ‘plex.
I definitely saw 12 MONKEYS here back on original release in ‘95 because when I saw it on 12/29/95 it must have been playing exclusively at the Beekman when it first opened. I also must have seen SHADOWLANDS here (not on AAlvarez’ list) which must have opened exclusively at the Beekman when I saw it on 1/7/94.
I am still baffled that I have no memory of this theatre, though i moved to NYC in ‘82 and began working a block from Times Square in '87, probably right before this theatre closed (if it closed in late February '87).
I can’t even remember what the theatre looked like and have no memory if I was ever in here. I wrote before that I remember seeing “Blue Thunder” in the early-to-mid 1980s in Times Square and research shows it played at the State so maybe. I also caught AGAINST ALL ODDS on original release back in the 80’s and know I saw it in Times Square. I always assumed that it was at the Embassy II, III, IV in one of the upstairs theatres, but I remember how steep the steps were, but the Times ad has AAO playing at the State, so…
AMC hasn’t integrated the two theatres' computer systems yet. I am a member of AMC’s frequent patron program, but the cards don’t work in the automatic ticket machines in the E-Walk.
I hate doing this writing about one theatre, but not another, but I moved to NYC in ‘82 and distinctly remember seeing movies on the west side of Times Square (opposite from the Embassy). I recently looked up the films I remembering seeing in those venues, but can’t find the listings here. I remember in '87 going to see a movie called BEDROOM WINDOW in one of these theatres. I looked up the BR ad in the Times and it played at a theatre called the UA Twin @ Broadway & 49th, but I can’t find a listing for that theatre? Is it listed and under what name?
And was there ever a third Embassy Cinema in Times Square called Embassy 4? I know the Embassy I was at 46th Street and the Triplex was at 49th Street, but was there an Embassy 4? Or was it simply the Embassy I at 46th Street, II, II & IV at 49th Street?
And I remember in the summer of ‘83 I saw STAR WARS revived in a first-run house on the west side of Times Square. The Times lists SW as playing that summer at the RKO Warner I. Again, no listing for a theatre called the RKO Warner I. Is that theatre listed?
I walked by hear on Friday and saw a “For Rent” sign in the window, but the theatre was still open. When I walked by again last night, the “For Rent” sign was gone. Hmmmmm.
Have they closed the third screen in this cinema. The Times listings in Friday’s “Weekend” section listed only Cinema 1 & 2 Third Avenue and only two movies are listed. It could mean one of the movies is playing on two screens, but it also may mean the tiny cinema is closed. I was there a year ago and the little theatre in the back on the second floor was looking awful tawdry.
I started to keep track of the movies I saw in ‘93 and '92 was the year where I became a serious cineaste. I’ve been going back to the library to try to see some of the stuff I caught that year. I looked up the Chabrol films and they actually screened in Dec. '91. I do remember that the first two retros the theatre ran when it switched to a rep/revival house were Kurosawa and Bergman, which took place before Chabrol, which must have been the third series. It probably switched to retros, then, in late November/Dec. 1991 and didn’t last a year.
I regularly attend the Film Forum and agree that the massive current series “B Noirs” (70 films) has been very well attended, but I don’t think the tickets have been as tough to get as the Film Noir series they ran back in ‘92 that encompassed about 40 films.
I caught “Army of Shadows” when MoMA ran a Melville retro back in ‘96, but that is also doing real well at the Film Forum. I have seen the “sell out” sign for this film several times, including the 1 o'clock show yesterday when I was down there for a couple of the noir films.
What seems to really be a tough ticket is when FF runs films from the 1930s. All the cineastes come running. Last year’s Paramount Pre-code series was even more packed than the current noir series.
I walked by what is left of this theatre on Saturday for the first time since April ‘05 and it is still here, looking awful shopworn. The marquee is still there, but there is a for rent, ideal for retail space banner draped over it. It doesn’t look like they are having too much luck renting the space. I never stepped foot inside the theatre and can only imagine what it looks like. The slot where you slipped the money to the cashier is still open to th elements.
To further confuse matters there was another theatre that was called “Tribeca Cinema” at 41 White Street. There was a discussion of this theatre somewhere here, but the White Street Tribeca Cinema had a brief life as a revival theatre in the late summer of ‘92 to the late fall of '92/early winter '93. It literally opened/closed within a span of months. I remember going there to see a number of screenings and it was a real bare bones operation. I never could remember the name of the cinema until I stumbled across it doing some research yesterday. I remember learning it closed when I went down there to catch Fellini’s “Roma” and the theatre was dark. I think I later went up to Columbus Circle to catch “A River Runs Through It” on its first run since I had time to kill.
I attended several screenings here as part of the Tribeca Film Fest. I attended at least two screenings in theatre 11 and there was a problem with sound leakage from the booth into the theatre. It sounded as if the sound from one of the other theatres leaked into theatre 11. It appeared to be coming from the projection booth so it could have been someone playing a radio in the projection booth, people talking in the booth or people outside in the lobby talking. It was very annoying.
I didn’t notice the noise problem occuring in Theatre 10, which is across the lobby from Theatre 11, 12 & 13.
You know I had the same reaction yesterday as I was walking to Loew’s Village East to catch a film in the Tribeca Film Festival and noticed a hole in the ground where the Variety Arts Theatre used to be. I said to myself “was the VAT here or was it on Second Avenue?” Right next door is a Mission and there is a “Jesus Saves” sign on the facade. I guess he couldn’t save the VAT.
Now, here is a question for our mavens. Right before I went to the LVE I caught a documentary that the Tribeca FF screened at the Jewish Heritage Museum in Tribeca called ON THE BOWERY that has recently been restored in Italy. The doc was riveting and there was all this on-location photography of the bars, flop houses and general seediness under the old Third Avenue El. It is beyond belief to watch this and compare it to what the area looks like today with luxury condos built on site of flophouses.
The date of the doc was 1957, but it had to have been shot well before that because I thought the Third Avenue El came down earlier than 1957 but there is a shot of what looked like a theatre on the Bowery, under the El. The front, what looked like a marquee, said “Universal Photoplay.” I didn’t see it listed here under that name so it is possible it is listed, but under another name. It looked like the Variety Arts Theatre, but I didn’t know skid row went all the way up to 14th St. The El must have gone right by Variety Arts so who knows? But there was a theatre or something that looked like a theatre on the Bowery under the El called “Universal Photoplay.”
Actually, I think Woods' video store was not quite in Apponaug. If memory serves me correctly it was in the plaza where Almacs was at the corner or Buttonwoods Avenue & West Shore Road where the Columbus Bank used to be (the first bank where I had an account; a passbook savings!; remember those!) and it moved across the street to a building that also housed a men’s hair stylist (I used to patronize that place too, but I had more hair back then). I can’t remember if Woods' store started next to Almacs and moved across the street or if it was the other way around.
Meanwhile, getting back to the Meadowbrook, two other films I remember seeing there were ANIMAL HOUSE and THE TERMINATOR.
The sign taped to the door said you could buy advance tickets to the big film that opens 5/19. The signs for that VH1 show were still there.
I wonder if the Clearview folks have the marketing clout to even get the big films when they are competing against Regal/UA & AMC/Loew’s for product.
In any event, it is an awful sad sight to see this place dark on a Saturday night.
Boy, I wonder how long the Ziegfeld is for this world. I walked by a dark Ziegfeld on Saturday night and it was sad to see. It won’t reopen for films until May 19. Sad.
One way to use this theatre is to use it for premieres. Open the biggest film each week here and move a new blockbuster in each week. I’m surprised MI3 isn’t opening here.
I went down to the “Hedda Lettuce” screening last night to catch “Harriett Craig” on the big screen. The ‘plex, as noted above, is undergoing renovations so they moved the screening from the first floor to the second floor and the screening was packed. I guess Joan Crawford is a big draw for the Chelsea Boys and is rightly a camp icon.
What was interesting is that the fifth anniversary of this weekly screening series occurs next week and they are having an “interactive” screening of “Mommie Dearest” next week and are moving it to the Chelsea West Cinemas because they are expecting a huge crowd.
I only started going to films in this series last year; I hadn’t known anything about it. But before the show the Clearview guy said they thought the series would last only a couple of months, but due to the fact that it is well attended it has lasted five years. In fact, the Clearview guy said the Hedda Lettuce screening on Thursday outdraws the rest of the complex combined for a Thursday.
My only quibble is that they don’t project the films properly. Last night the aspect ratio of HC was off so you would see Joan Crawford of Wendell Crawford with their heads cut off mid forehead. The print was also beat up and I wonder if it was 16MM, but I’m not sure. I assume Clearview doesn’t have 16MM projection facilities.