Gramercy Theater

127 E. 23rd Street,
New York, NY 10010

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Showing 1 - 25 of 104 comments

Astyanax on July 25, 2022 at 9:48 pm

Similar to a recent post on the Plaza, the Gramercy also served coffee in their tiny downstairs lounge. Rugoff attempted to elevate the moviegoing experience.

robboehm on July 16, 2022 at 10:00 pm

I remember a co-worker of mine really wanted to see a specific movie and had no time to do so. So she would alter her lunch time and, after several days, see the whole film. The cashier got wind of this and didn’t charge her toward the end.

jamesbond on July 15, 2022 at 1:16 am

I used to come here a lot with my parents in 1995 and 1996, when they showed some of the most memorable Bollywood films I’ve ever seen, including “Bombay,” “Hum Aapke Hain Koun,” and the famous classic “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge.”

This was a very quaint and relaxing place, with a waiting area downstairs, but the restrooms had a very narrow stairway. Still, it’s always a pleasure whenever I’m in the area and I walk by. :)

robboehm on January 18, 2019 at 7:34 pm

Uploaded photo as the Blender.

HomecrestGuy on January 18, 2019 at 3:54 pm

Photo added, in CT Gallery, of East 23 Street, with part of Gramercy marquee showing, circa 1940. Hopefully, some better vintage images of this, and other theaters, will surface in the future.

Jack Theakston
Jack Theakston on February 24, 2015 at 5:14 am

Saw many films here in the late ‘80s/early '90s, but it just couldn’t keep up with the Cineplex Odeon on 23rd and the row of theaters on 34th. The eyeglasses store had that great pink neon sign next door (seen in the photo above not lit) that could have only been designed in the '70s or '80s.

SeaBassTian on September 3, 2012 at 6:36 am

I lived across the street circa 1991. Never my favorite, the only films I remember seeing were The Replacements and Oscar. I seem to recall they had a slow turnaround time, they showed The Doctor for what seemed like months.

bicyclereporter on May 24, 2012 at 1:21 am

will be here for the BlipFest this weekend.

Bway on November 15, 2011 at 2:45 am

Fantasia played for many weeks there. I remember it on the marquee when i used to go under it every day around 1990 and 1991.

rivoli157 on November 13, 2011 at 7:50 pm

I lived across the street from the theatre from 1985-1990. Would look out my window to see how long the line was before going out.
Saw Aliens here, also Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Mystic Pizza, The Wizard of Oz and Fantasia. I loved being able to just walk across the street to the movies!

Greenpoint on January 19, 2011 at 4:15 am

I can’t wait to see the Insane Clown Posse there on 4/29…the triumphant return of The Dark Carnivial to the NYC area…Juggalos unite!

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on February 5, 2010 at 3:15 pm

The Bollywood period here ran from late 1995 to early 1996.

BrianF on December 30, 2009 at 4:02 am

FILLING IN SOME MISSING YEARS FOR YOU…. I was manager of the Gramercy from when Splash (Darryl Hannah + Tom Hanks) was playing in 1983 until about mid 1986( when i was transferred to Park and 86th St.) This covered the period during which RKO Century Warner AND Cineplex Odeon Corp successively took over. Also during my period the renovation to the beautiful RED interior, inaugurating the Gramercy’s brief Cineplex Odeon “red period” mentioned in earlier posts. I helped design the renovation, however, i wanted an “island” concession stand that turned out not to be electrically feasible. Yes, i remember when Garth came and paced off the theatre. I remember Real Butter. We had Media educators Group every weekend (SaSu moirnings) and also a lot of Richard Brown NYU film classes, usually with guest speakers who worked on the films being shown.When the ceiling of the Murray Hill collapsed during Psycho II, the Gramercy quickly got 70MM projectors installed and we opened with the movie ALIENs, inheriting all the former Murray hill customers and transforming us overnight from a sorta B-run house (getting movies 6 months after they opened uptown)to a Grade A house.
From then on we were always busy. Evelyn P was the elderly cashier also Ida S and Rebecca S. Who could forget Gwen the concessionistwho kept the popcorn bin full and cleaned the kettle so thoroughly every night, and held the staff together?
One of the doormen, William, was an expert film buff. There are many colorful personalities,much more colorful than me, including a spy and a mini-skirted punk-pierced usherette, but I’ll let them voluntarily comment. Out in the front alcove area during the winter you could play the Variety Club Wishing Well, where i cut my teeth as Rhyme Man, but i owe that all to William who began with the rhymes due to his marketing expertise…“Drop a quarter in the glass, help a child, win a free pass.” was the first rhyme (that was his). “Dont walk by give it a try.” “See a movie for a quarter. it must gain speed before it hits the water.” (Those were mine) “ Wouldn’t that be groovy? see a free movie?” (that was his)…[i continued rhyming the movies at seveal other theatres until 1997.] The School of Visual Arts held Freshman orientation at the Gramercy every September. When i was at the Gramercy dates all the way back before the days of bag-in-the-box the beginning we had figal tanks. As a Motion Picture Pioneer, i am credited as bringing the Bin On Wheels to New York (from Houston). Previous to my return to NY, ushers were dragging dripping plastic bags through the aisles to pick up popcorn tubs and drink cups. When Garth came from Canada (bringing his gf’s pink blouses and purple skirt-ed concession uniforms and his required “Real Butter” and “ Cineplex OdeonGift Certificate” posters, he made sure to have all the filled garbage cans removed from being kept in the auditorium fronts of all the “RKO Cinema 5” theatres because having receptacles in the seating area was “treating the customers like garbage.” I never kept any bins on wheels in the audience area. However, in the Gramercy’s case where storage was a -problem we only had 2 non mobile covered trash cans in the back, but he had those removed too the day Cineplex took over. Soon Real Butter was replaced with Butter flavoring (we all said butter-flavored? [consumer affairs was a lot more powerful then]). Later came charging extra for extra squirts of Butter Flavoring.]
One of our first female ushers was a 19-yr old Rosie Perez who had not yet been a dancer on “In Living Color” nor begun her illustrious film career. We used to hire cashiers and concessionists from Baruch College (because they could add and subtract. The school of Visual Arts students became ushers, usually.
The Gramercy was sandwiched between Rivka opticians and a lingerie shop + pizza place who were all tenants of the Gramercy. I had to collect their rent. Nathan Rivka recently moved his eyeglass shop to E 27th St.
If there are any other peeps from my era, please add your reminisces.I would love to hear how YOU remember the Gramercy.

TPH on November 6, 2009 at 3:45 am

Are there any archive links to photos of the previous marquee when the theater was still known as the Gramercy Park?

Bway on August 19, 2009 at 4:29 pm

Here’s the photo. Between that awning and that ridiculously placed tree, what good with the marquee be in a couple years?

View link

Bway on August 19, 2009 at 4:28 pm

Looking at the recent photo again of the Gramercy with the tree planted against the marquee linked July 27th, I also notice the ridiculous placement of the Dunkin Donuts awning, which renders the first ¼ of the theaters marquee useless!!

edblank on August 3, 2009 at 3:04 pm

Truly it’s absurd to plant big trees on certain urban business streets. It’s no service to anyone. Even the trees don’t look right when they’re brushing up against marquees and blocking windows. Common sense be damned.

Bway on August 3, 2009 at 3:01 pm

Heh, Well, it’s no different in California apparently, this is discussed in a few of the Hollywood Blvd Theater pages here too….check out this one of the old Pacific Theater there:

View link

And of the old Fox Theater there:

View link

It appears NY isn’t the only place where they don’t plant trees appropriately!

dave-bronx™ on August 3, 2009 at 12:19 am

Al is right. After the theatre pays for a annual permit to have the marquee structure over the sidewalk, and another annual permit to have the illuminated signs on the structure so your signs can be seen, some numb-skull bureaucrat sends Parks & Recreation comes and plants a tree so your sign can’t be seen. And if you so much as think evil thoughts about that tree, Parks is right there with a summons.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on August 2, 2009 at 9:47 pm

The city usually does that and then fines the theatres for cutting them back.

Bway on August 2, 2009 at 7:07 pm

This has come up in some fo the Hollywood Blvd Theaters in Hollywood, where they planted trees right up against marquees of many of the theaters. But it seems to have happened here too. Who is the “smart” person that decided that it’s a good idea to plant a tree right up against a theater marquee?
I love trees as much as anyone, but the placement of that tree is ridiculous.

JackCoursey on July 27, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Here and here are 2009 photos of the Gramercy.

Bway on June 18, 2009 at 7:29 pm

Wow, that brings back so many memories…I walked under that marquee every day for about 3 years….