Gracie Square Theatre

1726 1st Avenue,
New York, NY 10128

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Brandt Theaters, Island Theater Circuit

Architects: Eugene DeRosa

Styles: Italian Renaissance

Previous Names: Park Lane Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Gracie Square Theatre

Located in the Yorkville neighborhood on 1st Avenue at E. 89th Street. Designed by Eugene DeRosa, the Park Lane Theatre was a larger version of his Gallo Opera House (now Studio 54) and was built at the same time. The Park Lane Theatre was financed by the Universal Theatre Circuit, which bowed out before opening and sold it to independent exhibitors Charles O'Reilly & Al Gould. The theatre was the largest ever built east of 3rd Avenue on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, but considered too near to the entertainment zone on E. 86th Street to qualify for movies in their first neighborhood runs.

The Park Lane Theatre first opened on February 17, 1927, with Henry Erwards in “The Lunatic At Large” on screen plus a self-produced stage revue featuring singers, dancers and a symphony-sized orchestra conducted by Julius Meyer. Programs changed three times a week, but after several months of low attendance, the policy switched to a feature movie, short subjects, and recitals by the Park Lane’s Wurlitzer organist. With the coming of “talkies”, the Park Lane Theatre changed to double features, but still weeks behind the area’s leaders– Loew’s Orpheum Theatre and the RKO Proctor’s 86th Street.

In 1932, the owners went bankrupt, and the Park Lane Theatre was purchased by Sol Brill’s Island Theatres circuit, which sold it in 1938 to the Brandt chain. Still showing late-run movies, it survived the World War II years and in 1946 underwent a name change to the Gracie Square Theatre. Brandt changed the policy to double bills of second-run foreign movies, but it didn’t boost attendance. The arrival of home TV was the final nail in the coffin. The Gracie Square Theatre was still open in 1952, but had closed by 1955. It was eventually demolished for a high-rise apartment building.

Contributed by Warren G. Harris

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

jeffg718 on April 29, 2005 at 5:50 pm

In this photograph (top) you can see the Park Lane Theatre.

HomecrestGuy on January 27, 2019 at 1:52 pm

Two photos added to the CT picture gallery.

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