Cinema 1, 2, 3 Also Set To Close

posted by Ross Melnick on January 6, 2005 at 3:23 pm

NEW YORK, NY — Following on the heels of the announcement of the Beekman’s closure, New York Post Film Critic Lou Lumenick reports that the Cinema 1, 2, 3 will be gutted this spring and converted into retail space.

Meanwhile, the theater’s owners have already placed a stucco facade over its signature blue tiles “apparently” to prevent the building from being placed on the landmark list — something akin to the “work” done on the Sutton Theater before its closure.

With the passing of years, it may be hard to remember the fanfare that greeted the Cinema I and II upon its opening in 1962, but it quickly became one of THE premiere venues for art and foreign films in Manhattan.

Opened by exhibitor Don Rugoff, The Cinema I and II helped jumpstart the multiplex revolution and was the first International-style theater built in New York City. Architectural Forum noted at its opening that it was also “the first double-decker cinema with continental seating to open in the U.S.”

Decorated with a mural by Ilya Bolotowsky, sculpture by Stephanie Scuris, and artwork by Sewell Sillman and Norman Ives, the Cinema I and II was designed by Abraham Geller, in association with prolific theater architect Ben Schlanger.

In recent years, the Upper East Side has seen the closures of the Sutton, Crown Gotham, Baronet & Coronet, and the 68th Street Playhouse, to name but a few.

According to the New York Post article published today, Harvey Weinstein has pledged his help to keep these theaters open.

Comments (7)

RCMH on January 6, 2005 at 7:56 pm

In the 70’s, the block opposite Bloomingdale’s on Third Avenue was called “The Block”. Producers wanted their big pictures to open at either Cinema I & II or at the Baronet/Coronet. New York Magazine did a feature story on “The Block” back in 1978. The article also rated most of the big theatres at that time. Almost, if not all of them are gone now, except Radio City.

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on January 7, 2005 at 4:39 am

time is ticking for all the greats

jeffg718 on January 7, 2005 at 8:14 pm

I think it is very vicious and sneaky to deface buildings to prevent their being landmarked. I recently walked past Cinemas 1,2,3, saw the stuccoing over the beautiful blue tiles, and wondered what was going on. Not too long before that, I had passed by the Sutton Theatre and was perplexed to see that the columns on the facade had been hacked at. Later that theatre was demolished. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the Beekman Theatre similarly defaced, in advance of its demolition, to prevent it from being landmarked. This is the mentality of our time.

RobertR on January 9, 2005 at 2:39 pm

Everyone should boycott whats left of City Cinemas for all their sneaky games. The sad part is the block is not even being torn down, just the theatres are being gutted for retail. Too bad the Gotham and Manhattan 1 & 2 did not hang in there awhile, they would have gotten good bookings again.

jurayj on March 21, 2005 at 4:53 pm

does anyone know whether they stuccoed over the blue tile work or whether is was torn off first

I need to find out and any on site observation would be helpful

my email is


friends on March 22, 2005 at 7:00 pm

All concerned people should contact the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission to express outrage over the destruction and potential loss of Cinemas I II. Request the LPC to designate Cinemas I II as a New York City landmark. Every letter or email helps.

Robert B. Tierney, Chair
NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission
1 Centre Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10007
F: 212-669-7955

Please contact Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts for more information.

Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts
20 East 60th Street, #4B
NY, NY 10021

stang119 on January 21, 2013 at 4:36 pm

And yet…it’s still open! YAY!

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment