3rd Street Theatre

1573 3rd Street,
Rensselaer, NY 12144

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Uptown Theatre

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3rd Street Theatre

The 3rd Street Theatre was built in the early-1900’s as the Uptown, the Capitol District’s “Mini Theater”, and closed down in 1983. Having been abandoned for two decades it is very run down. In 2001 the owners of the Spectrum 8 in Albany donated this theatre to the Spotlight Players Community Theater group for use as a venue for their live performances. Renovations are expected to cost at least $350,000 to get this theatre up to code and convert it from a movie house to a live stage. As of 2023, the theater still sits vacant and boarded up. The “3rd St. Theatre” vertical sign face that covered the original “UPTOWN” vertical has fallen off, so the vertical again reads “UPTOWN”.

Contributed by Roger Katz

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on February 6, 2004 at 7:41 pm

Seating capacity at the time it closed was 183.

joemasher on February 14, 2004 at 7:38 am

This theatre opened as the UPTOWN, and was so named until a group of enterprising individuals reopened it as the 3rd ST. THEATRE in the late 1970’s. The Uptown (which still has “U” symbols on the right and left side of the marquee) originally had no lobby or concession stand. Once you bought your tickets from the outside box office, you walked through one of two sets of doors right into the auditorium. When it reopened as the 3rd St, after a renovation (as it had been closed for years before), it had a small lobby which held a small box office and concession stand. The theatre closed again around 1983 or 1984 when the group found it to be competitive with their Spectrum Theatre (Delaware Theatre), which they opened around 1983.

NickyG on July 17, 2007 at 3:00 pm

This was open until at least 1986 when I moved to Albany…Atmospheric to say the least but a neat arty companion to Spectrum…Saw the wild In the Realm of the Senses there…

TheNewtonTheatre on March 2, 2011 at 11:18 pm

I saw so many movies at the Uptown when I was growing up in the early 70’s…
I saw Dirty Harry, Rollerball (which my brother and I watched twice, we hid under the seats during changeover), The Thing/The Blob…

I also went later when it was the 3rd St. Theatre, they were doing Art/Independent films then.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on March 3, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Back in those days in the seventies,we never asked anyone to leave.95% did,but if you wanted to watch it again at ABC and Plitt we never said a word,When I moved to GCC the intermission Breaks were usually longer than ABC/Plitt that just about everyone left.But even then I can’t recall asking a moviegoer to Move on.I really don’t know what they would do today if you decided to watch it again. Any Answers?

robboehm on March 3, 2011 at 11:55 pm

Back in the day people would come at their convenience and leave when the part they came in on came around. You could never do that now. I remember the cashier at the Gramercy Theatre in NYC telling me that one woman came during her lunch break and stayed for 20 minutes. The next day she came 20 minutes later, etc. The cashier said that after the second day she never charged her again. What a way to see a movie.

When it was built this theatre probably cost less than $35,000. Now it’s going to cost ten times that much to bring it back to life.

Matthewk on February 6, 2015 at 10:17 pm

I saw gone with the wind here in either the very late 1960’s or very early 1970’s. Ben’s Sweet Shop was still in business across the street, and the Third Street Market still delivered down the block. Back in those days they would close off the other side of ?central? ave from 5th street on up in the winter and let kids sled down it in the wintertime.

Man, it brings back memories…

Good to hear people are going to use that space again. Now if someone will just re-open Bens….

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