Beekman Theatre

1254 2nd Avenue,
New York, NY 10021

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Clearview Cinemas, Rugoff & Becker

Architects: John J. McNamara

Firms: Fellheimer & Wagner

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News About This Theater

Beekman Theatre

The Beekman Theatre, located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, was a single-screen ‘art house’ movie house which drew large audiences ever since it opened on April 28, 1952 with Vittorio Manunta in “Never Take No for an Answer”. It was built for the Rugoff & Becker chain.

The theatre’s exterior (including its signature marquee, with its name in cursive-style) was modern but stylish. Inside, the Beekman Theatre featured high-backed plush seats, rich carpeting, and wood-panelled walls.

The audience entered the auditorium from the side, in between two levels of seating. This seating layout, similar to the Ziegfeld Theatre, was the true precursor of stadium-style seating.

Until the end, the theatre opened and closed the curtains before the beginning of every film. Films buffs will recognize the Beekman’s cameo in the Woody Allen film “Annie Hall”.

The historic Beekman Theatre closed on June23, 2005 with “The Interpreter” being the final film shown on its screen, after its landlord, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, decided not to renew Clearview Cinemas' lease.

The Beekman Theatre was demolished in November/December 2005, to make way for a new breast cancer research center. The Beekman name was moved to Clearview’s New York One & Two across the street, which was renamed the Beekman One & Two, and from October 2008 became the Beekman Theatre.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 402 comments)

ferenc on March 2, 2010 at 11:19 am

I remember the Beekman very well. What a wonderful theatre. I went there to see most of the Ingmar Bergman movies. The first was Wild Strawberries. I, and a few others, had arrived late to attend a concert at Lewisohn Stadium, and it had started raining. So we went to the Beekman instead. On other occasions, I saw Through a Glass Darkly and Winter Light – two of the Bergman classics.

SeaBassTian on September 3, 2012 at 12:36 am

Can’t really fault Clearview for this closure. Nice venue, last film I watched here was In Good Company.

farhaven on September 14, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Unfortunately I’ve never seen a film in the lovely old Beekman, but I recently acquired a beautiful marquee from the Beekman for Woody Allen’s “The Purple Rose of Cairo” (03/85). It is silkscreened on lucite.

Does anyone know where I can find a photo of the Beekman from March, 1985 showing the Purple Rose marquee? I can’t seem to find one anywhere.

garyw on December 14, 2012 at 9:17 pm

I miss the old Beekman. I have lived nearby for over 30 yrs. & it was always a nice surprise to see it utilized for all kind of premieres since it was such a beautiful showcase theater. The owner would speak before screenings to chastise those who had maybe brought in their own soda or snacks. One little thing I noticed is that even up to the end, their presentation of movie posters would always feature that little extra…cutting away part & raising it with foam core board so as to create depth & enhanced visual interest. Does any theater care enough to do that kind of thing anymore?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on December 14, 2012 at 11:01 pm

Yes, Garyw, I don’t know about the speeches but all the ‘art houses’ had those foam core displays back then. It seemed to matter. To some of us.

Gabi Gonzalez
Gabi Gonzalez on April 2, 2017 at 9:13 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:


HowardBHaas on November 26, 2018 at 7:47 am

I saw Stealing Beauty and The Dreamers at the Beekman when they were issued.

kieran10 on September 4, 2020 at 4:24 am

I wish I had gone to the Beekman more, as it was one of the most beautiful theaters in Manhattan in the 80s/90s. When I was in college, I dated a guy named Gary whose brother worked for Cineplex Odeon and he would get our names put at the box office to see free movies, as long as it wasn’t opening weekend. We saw a few things at the Beekman, though the only one I remember was a terrible movie with Molly Ringwald and Robert Lindsay from 1990.

Didn’t go there much at all in the next decade, but it was actually the last movie theater I ever went to in NYC. A week or so before I moved to LA, I went to see Almost Famous for the 2nd time. I was really happy I got to spend one more movie there.

ridethectrain on July 3, 2021 at 1:34 pm

Please update, theatre open April 28, 1952 (grand opening ad in photos section) and Clearview Cinemas closed theatre closed June 23, 2005. Also, previous owners Cineplex Odeon

Alanem on May 12, 2022 at 6:53 am

I’m a retired member of IATSE LOCAL 306 New York Projectionists union. I ran the projectors at the Beekman theater during the World Premiere of “The Poseidon Adventure”. I worked overtime in the morning, as a licensed “Operator” had to be on duty in the Projection booth when the technician cut the special aperture plates for the 3 projectors so that this wide screen presentation would fit the screen perfectly. There were 3 projectors. We made a “changeover” from one machine to another every 20 minutes which no one noticed. Just so you know…projector #3 had the last sprocket roller held together with a RUBBER BAND! So much for the fancy East Side Art house! –Alan Mandel

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