68th Street Playhouse

1164 3rd Avenue,
New York, NY 10065

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: City Cinemas

Architects: Eugene DeRosa

Functions: Retail

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News About This Theater

68th Street Playhouse

Opened in 1914. The 68th Street Playhouse was remodelled in 1933 to the plans of architect Eugene DeRosa. A former Upper Eastside institution, the 68th Street Playhouse, which showed a steady stream of indie and foreign films during its run, closed on July 17, 1997 after a dispute between the property’s landlord and City Cinemas, a Manhattan-based exhibitor.

The theatre was converted into a location for the clothing store chain ‘The Children’s Place’. This has since closed and in 2023 it had become a retail store for Blue Mercury. There is also a dance studio in upstairs space.

Contributed by Dan Braun

Recent comments (view all 71 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on August 8, 2014 at 3:51 am

The 1930 edition of Film Daily Yearbook lists the 68th Street Playhouse, 68th Street & 3rd Avenue with 1,269 seats (obviously a mis-print) as in the 1931 edition of FDY it is listed with 409 seats.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on August 8, 2014 at 7:49 am

AlAlvarez AlAlvarez on August 8, 2014 at 7:48 am (remove)

According to this NYT article, the 68th Street Playhouse was converted from an apartment building to a vaudeville and movie house in 1914.

View link

It closed in July 1997 with “The Pillow book”.

mharmon999 on June 20, 2015 at 1:34 pm

As I wrote in a previous post I saw The Gods Must Be Crazy at this theatre and remembered it played there from October 1984-April 1986, that’s 18 months, The Goodbye People was the next film to play there which I did see there, couldn’t believe one film played at a same theatre for 18 straight months other than the Rocky Horror Picture Show, can’t see how that can happen in 2015

Gabi Gonzalez
Gabi Gonzalez on April 2, 2017 at 6:10 am

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:


SethLewis on December 28, 2018 at 10:39 am

Lovely description by Frank McCourt visiting the 68th St Playhouse to see Hamlet with Olivier. An amazing mix of arthouse and commercial, 1st and 2nd run went through this theatre over the years https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1999/02/22/new-in-town

SethLewis on October 30, 2019 at 3:29 am

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/29/movies/meyer-ackerman-dead.html Obituary for Meyer Ackerman who owned the 68th St Playhouse from the late 70’s to the mid-80’s and programmed pictures like La Cage aux Folles and The Gods Must be Crazy The man was serious about programming good movies there!

Astyanax on October 31, 2019 at 5:55 am

Is Ackerman the last of the breed of distributor/theatre owner who shaped the art house phenomena of the past half-century? Where are the heirs to Donald Rugoff, Walter Reade & Dan Talbot. These sadly missed titans presented product that not only forecasted important social trends but stimulated intellectual dialogue.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on October 31, 2019 at 6:17 am

Walter Reade’s wife sponsored the Lincoln Center screens for several years.

jomalley on October 18, 2020 at 9:10 am

I am fairly certain that the 68th Playhouse is where I saw “A Hungarian Fairy Tale”, a little known film that still haunts me to this day.

ridethectrain on July 3, 2021 at 7:31 am

Please update, theatre closed July 17, 1997

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