Essex Theatre

375 Grand Street,
New York, NY 10002

Unfavorite 6 people favorited this theater

Additional Info

Architects: William Eli Kohn

Functions: Medical Center

Nearby Theaters

Essex Theatre

Opened on November 20 1962 with Frank Sinatra in “The Manchurian Candidate”. It was part of the Essex Street apartment complex. This 598-seat single screen initially played arthouse and foreign movies, but later turned to action, horror and kung fu movies. The bookings were usually first run and almost always had a second feature thrown in. The heyday of the Essex Theatre was the late-1970’s and early-1980’s, when Cannon was churning out Charles Bronson films like “Death Wish II”. They also played a lot of New Line and indie slasher flicks.

In 2019 the building is in use as the Center Light Medical Center.

Contributed by RobertR

Recent comments (view all 29 comments)

TPH on March 10, 2010 at 1:17 pm

Saw the 1969 Rene Clement flick, Riders in the Rain, here as part of a double feature. Don’t recall the other half of the bill. Help, anyone?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on March 10, 2010 at 2:20 pm

How about “Stiletto” or if you saw them in 1972, “Carnal Knowledge”.

lacosta71 on January 24, 2011 at 9:15 am

Awesome ad!!!
If anyone else has photos of the old Essex Theater- please please please post.

kittykitties on August 6, 2012 at 9:54 pm

1980’s tax photo, terrible quality, but you can just barely make out the marquee.;sort:Identifier%2CBorough%2CBlock%2CLot;lc:RECORDSPHOTOUNITMAN~2~2&mi=105&trs=191

cinemajosie on February 8, 2016 at 2:53 pm

The Essex opened in the early 1960s. There was a “contest” for the naming of the theater and we couldn’t believe that they didn’t come up with anything more creative than Essex. I saw too many movies there to remember. In the 1960s, the theater was in good shape and well kept, and the movies were generally family fare, first and second run. No martial arts, horror movies, or porn—and no rats. I remember Chicken Delight, too. For fast food, it was a treat! It’s amazing that there are no good photos of the theater. Bowery Boogie ran an article about the theater not long ago, but the image of the theater and marquee turned out to be photoshopped.

Astyanax on February 8, 2016 at 8:43 pm

When it opened in the 60’s the Essex filled the gap as the sole neighborhood theatre that was once served by movie palaces like the Loews Canal, the Loews Delancey as well as the Apollo, the Winston, the Ruby and even the New Delancey. All those theatres gave the LES its unique character.

SingleScreen on May 15, 2016 at 4:51 pm

This was one of my favorite theaters. I went there for the first time in 1981, I believe, for a double bill of DRESSED TO KILL and BLOW OUT. I saw many double features there, especially horror and action films. DON’T OPEN TIL CHRISTMAS, EXTERMINATOR II, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, TERROR IN THE AISLES, HOUSE OF EXORCISM, SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT and so many more!

Gabi Gonzalez
Gabi Gonzalez on April 23, 2017 at 11:46 pm

Hello fellow movie theater lovers,

I’m doing a project for my photojournalism class at NYU about closed down independent movie theaters in New York. I hope to gain information about people’s past experiences at these movie theaters, recollections of favorite memories or not so great experiences, perhaps economical insight, contacts with owners/managers, etc. On a larger level, I hope my project is able to show the significance of the role that these establishments play in our city and the importance of keeping them afloat.

If anyone would be willing to answer a few questions via email about your personal memories at the theater, please let me know! It could be as simple as recounting a favorite movie you remember seeing back when it was open. I would greatly appreciate your insight.

You can contact me at:


davidcoppock on July 13, 2020 at 11:50 pm

The opening night was by invitation only.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater.