Comments from techman707

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techman707 commented about Embassy 1,2,3 Theatre on Apr 12, 2013 at 3:07 pm

AlAlvarez on April 12,–“I don’t know if we will ever get an honest answer as to why each theatre was treated as it was”

Truer words were never spoken. We will NEVER know the truth, only the result.

techman707 commented about Embassy 1,2,3 Theatre on Apr 12, 2013 at 2:59 pm

AlAlvarez on April 12-“Without tourists and day trippers there would be no Times square. I live in Hell’s Kitchen in an area I would never venture into at night before 1999.”

While there have always been some “bad blocks” in the Hell’s Kitchen area that you really wouldn’t want to walk down late at night if you could avoid it, it sounds worse than it actually was. Most of the violence in the area was mostly between competing gangs (which I would guess are still around there “somewhere”. If it is “safe” today, the main reason would be that along with Disney taking over 42nd St., it has also because property values and rents have skyrocketed, driving out most the people you might have not wanted to run into late at night. The same thing has happened to Harlem. As you drive out poor people with “gentrification”, you drive up rents and property values. While it might be good for the people buying up the property, it’s not so great for the displaced people that have lived there their whole life. If Rudolph Giuliani remained as King…I mean Mayor, he probably would have had the poor and homeless people exiled to another country (Although uncle Mike isn’t much better).

techman707 commented about Embassy 1,2,3 Theatre on Apr 12, 2013 at 2:39 pm

bigjoe59- “….what was the state of the Candler Theater? was it in such bad shape they decided to demolish it or was it in perfectly renovatable shape but no one wanted to spend the money so it was razed.”

It’s interesting you should ask about the Candler building, since the union I was in, the projectionists Local 306, was located in the Candler building. The only reason they were FORCED to move was because of the demolition. The building was certainly NOT in bad shape. In fact, like so many of the older buildings that have been razed, it was a building that was built for the ages. Like comparing the Empire State Building to the World Trade Center, which building would you select to be in if were going to be hit by a plane?

All this makes me think about the Beacon Theatre, where I worked a number of times back in the early 1970’s when Brandt was still operating it as a movie theatre. It was, for all practical purposes, A DUMP. Yet, if you look at this fabulous theatre (a smaller sister to the big Roxy theatre**) today after its renovation, the thought of this theatre getting demolished is criminal.

**-The reason I say the “Big Roxy” (6000 seats) is because of the smaller Roxy (3500 seats) that was originally part of the Rockefeller Center complex. They were sued by the then owners of the big Roxy and forced to rename the small Roxy the “Center Theatre, or RKO Center Theatre. To date, it is the ONLY building in the complex to be demolished. When I was young, I remember going there to see the Milton Berle Show, which used the Center Theatre as a broadcast studio. With the size of cameras back then, I can tell you first hand that you could see better at home on the TV. The cameras blocked EVERYTHING.

techman707 commented about Embassy 1,2,3 Theatre on Apr 12, 2013 at 10:34 am

There’s more to life and living in a city besides pandering to tourists. Especially when it affects the daily life of the people who live and work there. None of this destruction has improved the living conditions for the city overall. In fact, property taxes have soared as services are reduced.

As for Hell’s Kitchen, in the 1960’s, I worked across the street from the Actor’s Studio. I drove into work every day by car and parked in a garage up the street for $125.00 a month. Besides increasing the value of those brownstones ten fold, I don’t see how Hell’s Kitchen has REALLY benefitted? As far as I can see, it has probably PUSHED OUT some of those people because of the EVER RISING cost of rent.

techman707 commented about Embassy 1,2,3 Theatre on Apr 12, 2013 at 9:48 am


It’s just the ENTIRE destruction of the Times Square area over the years that I HATE. Despite what “some” people think, 42nd Street and ALL its historic theatres didn’t need Disney to “save it”. Maybe “some people” like the “new look” of the area, which includes barring traffic, but, I don’t.

The idea that to “keep up with the times” requires everything “old” get demolished, is just bad news. Why don’t they feel the need to demolish all their old movie palaces in Los Angeles? NY could (should) learn from them!

techman707 commented about Embassy 1,2,3 Theatre on Apr 12, 2013 at 8:59 am

AlAlvarez on April 12-“But it does have the historic classic setting and kudos for that.”

I must be missing something. I don’t see ANYTHING involving ANY of the endless demolition that’s been going on in the Times Square area that deserves ANY “kudos”.

However, here’s an idea, maybe we can just do away with electing a mayor in NY and just let the Disney Company run the city….since they do whatever they want anyway.

techman707 commented about Embassy 1,2,3 Theatre on Apr 11, 2013 at 3:04 pm

“i have been a frequent TKTS booth customer and never remember a sign stating the former theater interior contained such a restaurant.”

I agree, they certainly didn’t make finding them easy. Although I only passed there once in a while, from a distance I didn’t even know they were there.

techman707 commented about Embassy 1,2,3 Theatre on Apr 11, 2013 at 10:52 am

“….where is the Famous Dave’s BBQ the interior now allegedly contains?”

What a strange question. If the building has been gutted, it was either removed and sold, or junked.-LOL

techman707 commented about Village East by Angelika on Apr 4, 2013 at 9:02 pm

I worked as a projectionist there in 1968 and 1969. They had strip shows and ran porn films in between the stage shows. They filmed “The Night They Raided Minsky’s” in 1968. In 1969, the play “Oh Calcutta” opened.

The theatre also went under the name of the Murray Schwartz Theater.

techman707 commented about Park Theatre on Mar 24, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Sounds like union trouble to me.

techman707 commented about Palace Theatre on Mar 24, 2013 at 9:33 am

Happy Birthday, Palace Theatre….at least what’s left of it….and the air space that WAS above it.

techman707 commented about Utopia Theater on Mar 20, 2013 at 10:35 pm


If you worked at the Utopia, you must also have known Paul Raisler, Ruth’s partner. Over the years, I worked as projectionist at the Utopia many times over the years. The regular projectionist for nearly 40 years was Sam Conte, who moved to Italy after he retired. After Paul passed away, Ruth ran the theatre alone for a number of years, but when the lease was up she was screwed over by the landlord (and/or his son)because they wanted a large rent increase, at a time when business was declining. He also wanted her to twin the theatre at her cost, which she didn’t want to do. After operating the theatre with Paul (and Sam as the projectionist) since the early 1940’s, the landlord signed a lease with a new tenant, an attorney named Epstein, who agreed to twin the theatre. Without any further negotiation or warning, it resulted in landlord literally pulling the rug out from under her. Because Ruth was one of, if not the sweetest person I have ever met, it was very upsetting to me also. After she lost the theatre, she was really never the same and shortly after, she became ill and not very long after that, she passed away. That theatre was her WHOLE LIFE and if you ask me, she died of a broken heart. I lived in the neighborhood for over 60 years. I used to go to the Utopia as a child, when the admission was only $.20 for children. After I was married in 1969, I bought a house nearby on 178th ST and 75th Avenue. Although the Utopia wasn’t my regular job, I was as the chief projectionist at the DeMille Theatre in Manhattan until 1973, because of where I lived, when it snowed, I would be sent to work at the Meadows, Utopia, Parsons and once even walked down Utopia Parkway in the snow to work at the Valencia in Jamaica. To the best of my knowledge (with the exception of the Valencia, which was saved as a church), virtually ALL THE THEATRES I’ve worked in over the years, have all been demolished. While I’m currently a member of a group that’s trying to save the RKO Keiths in Flushing, the theatre has been so badly destroyed (some of it intentionally over the last 25 years, in my opinion, the restoration would be nearly impossible. A recent article I read in the NY Times says that the restoration of Loew’s Kings in Brooklyn has begun and is going to cost 90 million dollars (somebody is going to wind up with heavy pockets before that’s done). How come they don’t think of saving these theatres BEFORE they are wrecked?

Unlike cities like Los Angeles, which appear to have respect for their old movie palaces, New York, despite having a Landmark’s Preservation Commission, which has watched while virtually EVERY theatre has been destroyed and/or demolished. New York once had more theatres per square mile than any other city in the U.S. …….and now, with one or two exceptions, there are none left.

techman707 commented about Palace Theatre on Mar 11, 2013 at 8:51 am

The really beautiful marquee on the Palace was replaced MANY years ago. Although it was still an “RKO” type marquee that used translucent letters on black squares, it didn’t have that beautiful raised rounded center (sigh). The smaller imitation of the original Paramount marquee has that nice look. I guess plain old SQUARE is cheaper for a replacement.

techman707 commented about Palace Theatre on Mar 10, 2013 at 3:43 pm

You’re just confirming what I’m saying. However, it wasn’t just the “upper floors”. It started above the top of the Bowery Bank. The window in the picture was added AFTERWARDS. Nederlander had offices up there. When I did the installation in the temporary booth for the 70mm runs of Ben Hur and Mr Chips I looked through the building (including all the dressing rooms).

techman707 commented about Palace Theatre on Mar 10, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Here is this photo

They ripped off part of the builing. If you look at the picture you can see the raw bricks that were left exposed. When I worked at the DeMille, I would come out of the office builing on 47th St and walk across to the Bowery Savings Bank to deposit my check. I looked at the ugly unfinished wall above the bank.

In any event, the 3 window width was only the lobby lead in to the theatre, which further back is STILL WIDER.

techman707 commented about Palace Theatre on Mar 10, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Do you believe that the “theatre itself” is the 3 window width?

techman707 commented about Palace Theatre on Mar 10, 2013 at 1:17 pm

I think you’re being fooled by the false facade. If you look to the left and right, the rest of the building is being covered up from all the signage.

techman707 commented about Palace Theatre on Mar 2, 2013 at 5:47 pm

I believe the picture of the NY Palace on the Historic-Memphis website is correct. They put some kind of covering to the left and right of the marquee that went to the top of the marquee wall., so it appeared that it was only 3 windows wide, however, it was in fact wider. The corner section was torn down and for years it looked like they ripped off the side of the theatre. I would see it every time I came out of the DeMille theatre’s office building on 47th street.

techman707 commented about Polk Theater on Nov 17, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Matthew Prigge – The owner is a friend of mine and I serviced the video projector a few times before it closed. Back in the 60’s I worked there on Wednesdays.

techman707 commented about Palace Theatre on Nov 6, 2012 at 10:33 am

Edblank, I’m guessing that the “Nixon” (some name for a theatre-lol) hasn’t run film for MANY years, if it hasn’t already been demolished.

techman707 commented about Polk Theater on Oct 14, 2012 at 8:42 am

michaelkaplan-I’m SURE that we must have crossed paths at some point.-lol When I worked at the Jackson I ate at the Colony Deli a few doors down from the Jackson. It was owned by a friend of my family. I don’t recognize Jackson Heights today.

techman707 commented about Park Theatre on Aug 6, 2012 at 2:12 pm

The Park Theatre closed within a week or two of the Park East’s opening. The projectionist that worked at the Park Theatre worked there for over 45 years, but passed away a few years ago in his 90’s. At the time, he complained that he wasn’t moved over to work at the Park East. However, because I’m becoming a little senile myself, I can’t remember the exact month and year the Park closed. I know that I bought a refrigerator from Eldee, the company that originally took over after the Park closed.

techman707 commented about Alpine Cinema on Aug 5, 2012 at 7:18 am

Twinned in 1976: Boxoffice

Turned into 7 plex 1986: Me -L0L

techman707 commented about Movieland on Jul 21, 2012 at 8:09 am

Yeah, they were a pain to work with and slide into a row, which is probably had to do with why they changed them on “some” of the RKO theatres in later years. But, I feel they added a really “expensive” solid look to the marquee. Loew’s also used them years ago, but, they converted to the newer type hanger letters around the time florescent tubes began to replace bulbs behind the letters.

techman707 commented about Movieland on Jul 20, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Oh, I see what you’re talking about. But, those older type letters are actually flat and have no dimention. I like the old RKO type letters, which were all black and just allowed the light to shine through the raised letters in the solid black square.