MOVIE THEATERS IN BLOOMINGDALE
There were no movie theaters in Morningside Heights. However, there was a Morningside Theater operated nearby on then Eighth Avenue (now Frederick Douglass Boulevard) near 112th Street from 1913 into the 1960s. There were also a number of movie theaters that operated just north of Morningside Heights on 125th Street west of Morningside Avenue.
The theaters below are all in Bloomingdale above 94th Street.
Airdome Pictures – open-air theatre opened in 1911 and seems to have closed by 1923.
15 West 109th Street
Arden Theatre – likely that the auditorium part with a seating capacity of 400 of the St. Brennan Hotel was converted into a motion picture theatre in 1913 and called the Columbus Theatre. Architect William Gompert modernized the theatre to re-open in 1934 as the Arden with almost 600 seats. Following Charles B. J. Snyder, William Gompert was the chief architect of public schools in the city from 1923 to 1927. Sometime from 1949 to 1952 it switched to Spanish-language films and its name was changed to the Caribe. It was demolished about 1958 to make way for Park West Village.
878 Columbus Avenue
Edison Theatre – built in 1913 to the design of Edward S. Casey with a seating capacity of about 600. It was previously known as the Broadway Photoplay Theater, 103rd Street Theater, Bim’s 103rd St. Theater, Essex Theater, Edison Theater, Nuevo Theater, and Columbia Cinema. Bim’s refers to Bernard K. Bimberg who was a builder of theaters and lived at 234 West 103rd St. The Edison closed in 1993, used as a gym for Lucille Roberts, demolished in the early 2000s, and replaced by a Columbia University apartment building.
2704 Broadway at 103rd Street
Keystone Theater – opened in 1913 to the design of Henry Herts. The firm of Herts & Tallant designed a number of theaters in Times Square and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The theatre was remodeled in 1933 by architect Raymond Irrera with a 600-seat capacity and renamed the Carlton Theater. It was demolished in 2005 to be replaced by the apartment building, the Ariel West.
2633 Broadway (between 99th and 100th Streets)
Manhattan Photoplay Theatre – opened in 1914 and sat 837 patrons inside and another 636 patrons in its open-air roof theater. It was operated by Fox from 1924. In the 1960s it was converted into the Arca de Refugio, Iglesia de Dios Pentecostal church.
213 Manhattan Avenue (at 109th Street)
Metro Theater – it opened in 1933 to the design of Boak & Paris as the Midtown Theater seating 580 patrons. Its name was changed to the Metro and after a few other minor name changes and ownerships, it closed for good in 2005. It was landmarked in 1989.
Moorish Garden – open-air theater that opened in 1913 to the design of architect John Kliest and sat approximately 400 patrons. It closed sometime before the apartment building at 610 West 110th Street was constructed in 1922.
On the site of 610 West 110th Street between Broadway and Riverside Drive.
Nemo Theatre – the Lion Palace Music Hall from before 1898, connected with the nearby Lion Brewery on West 108th Street, was converted by noted theatre architect Thomas W. Lamb into the Nemo in 1911. It sat 923 patrons and, in 1926, became part of the William Fox circuit. The theater closed in 1963, then was converted into a grocery store, and was demolished in the early 2000s to be replaced by a Columbia University apartment building.
2834 Broadway (at 110th Street)
Olympia Theatre – opened in 1914 to seat 1,162 patrons with a screen 8’ by 25’ advertised as “the largest in the world.” The theatre was built by the real estate investor Henry J. Corn (1853 - 1934) who at one time (1915) lived at 926 West End Avenue and at one time owned Madison Square Garden. The Olympia was designed by Victor Hugo Koehler (1863 - 1925.) Koehler also designed the Grand Street Theatre on the Lower East Side (demolished), the Lyric Theater in Times Square, Lafayette Theatre in Harlem. The Olympia closed in 2003 and was replaced by an apartment building.
2770 Broadway (between 106th and 107th Streets)
Parkwest Theatre – opened in 1911 to the design of Lorenz F. J. Weiher with a seating capacity of almost 600. Weiher designed at least five other theaters in Manhattan. The Parkwest was demolished in 1955.
103 West 99th Street (near Columbus Avenue)
Riverside Theatre – built by William Fox in 1911 with the noted theatre architect Thomas W. Lamb. The supervising architect of the building was John H. Duncan who designed the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch in Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza. Duncan also designed Grants’ Tomb. The Riverside sat more than 1700 patrons and also had an open-air movie theater, the Japanese Roof Garden, on its roof that sat about 850 patrons. The Riverside Theatre complex was demolished in the mid-1970s and replaced in the late 1980s by the Columbia apartment building.
2561 Broadway (between 96th and 97th Streets)
Riviera Theatre – built by William Fox in 1913 by the theater architect Thomas W. Lamb. It sat 1,718 patrons and had an additional theater upstairs known as the Japanese Roof Garden which seated 1,024 patrons. The Riviera Theatre was called the Shubert Riviera Theatre when it was leased for a period to the Shubert Brothers Theater Company. The Riviera Theatre complex was demolished in the mid-1970s and replaced in the late 1980s by the Columbia apartment building.
2575 Broadway (between 96th and 97th Streets)
Rose Theatre – opened as the Amsterdam Riverside Theatre in 1910 to the design of Louis Sheinart with a seating capacity of 456. Around 1925 and 1926 it was remodeled and renamed the Rose. In 1945 it was demolished after shortly being renamed the Studio.
182 West 102nd Street (near Amsterdam Avenue)
Symphony Theatre – in 1917, restauranteur Thomas J. Healy purchased the 1915 Astor Market building and converted its primary space into a skating rink called Crystal Palace. The basement space was made into a restaurant called Sunken Gardens. By 1931, after alterations by William Gompert and Horace Ginsberg, the rink was converted into the Symphony movie theatre that sat about 1,400 patrons and the restaurant was converted into the Thalia movie theater. In 1978, the Symphony was leased to two locals, director and playwright Isaiah Sheffer and orchestral conductor Allan Miller, for a marathon concert billed as “Wall to Wall Bach”. Their wonderful success led to their creation of Symphony Space, used for numerous concerts, stage performances, and events, and known nationally on National Public Radio for the “Selected Shorts” series.
2537 Broadway (between 94th and 95th Streets)
Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theatre in Symphony Space at– the original Thalia opened in 1931 in the space that had been the fish market on the lower level of the 1915 Astor Market. It was designed by architect Raymond Irrera and his assistant Benjamin Schlanger and sat 299 patrons. It closed in 1987 but was brought back to life with the development of the Symphony Space complex in 2002 and it seats 160 patrons. The new and current Thalia Theatre received the financial support of the actor Leonard Nimoy.
256 West 95th Street (official address is 2537 Broadway)
The Bloomingdale Reformed Church came to Schuyler Square in 1905. The “square” was actually a triangular piece of land between Broadway, West End Avenue, and 106th Street and it was renamed Bloomingdale Square in 1907. In 1913 it was renamed Straus Park in dedication to Ida and Isador Straus, who died in the Titanic disaster. The Bloomingdale Reformed Church left their location after only 8 years as their congregation moved out of the area. A theatre was planned for the site and the architects were to be Schwartz & Gross who designed many apartment buildings in the Bloomingdale neighborhood. The theater was never built and instead, a 12-story apartment building was erected on the site in 1916.
949 West End Avenue