The Bronx, which had over 100 theaters showing movies and live entertainment in the years before World War II, now has only two multiplexes. Both were built in recent years and are sorely lacking in the architectural character that typified the earlier venues. However, many of those older theaters are not gone, but instead are being reused for other purposes, with varying degrees of preservation of original details.

We’ve rounded up eleven of these old theaters from across the borough, to look at their history and current condition. These old theaters include a historic landmark that was one of the five celebrated “Wonder Theatres.” There’s a theater whose namesake was arrested for staging an “improper” performance that put a spotlight on sexual exploitation of young women. There’s also a building with mysterious panels on its facade that may provide a hint of its past. Individually and collectively they provide a tangible link to a past filled with fascinating history.

These former theaters have long outlasted vaudeville, silent films, and the era of grand movie palaces. Their survival is a testament to the resiliency and reinvention that is characterizing the Bronx of today. The movies no longer run at these theaters, but they still provide interesting stories.

And, with that intro, on with the show.

1. Loew’s Paradise

The Loew’s Paradise, located on the Grand Concourse at East 188th Street, is widely considered the grand dame of the Bronx’s former movie theaters. Long before the multiplex era, this single screen auditorium had over 3,800 seats, making it one of the largest in the city. It was one of the five famed “Wonder Theatres” developed by the Loew’s move chain in the late 1920s as movie palaces with highly elaborate details inside and out.

The Loews Paradise was designed by John Eberson, who was the originator and leading architect of this style of “atmospheric theater.” Eberson designed theaters throughout the country and as far away as Australia.

Today known as the Paradise Theater, it is now home to World Changers Church. It is designated as both an exterior and interior New York City Landmark.

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8 thoughts on “11 Forgotten Movie Theaters of the Bronx in NYC

  1. My dad Paul and his partners ran the Fairmount Theater from 1960—1969. They bought the theater and 6 story office building from Loew’s which was losing money. It was a beautiful theater with 2,568 seats.
    A few years later they bought the Deluxe theater on Tremont and Belmont, a block away. Dad was a great manager and showman. He booked the films the changing neighborhood wanted to see.
    They turned both theaters into money makers. It’s was the heyday of great films, 1960-1969. What actors! What directors! What films!

  2. Just remembered another very, very small theater. The Ascot theater was at about 183 St. on the west side of the Grand Concourse.

  3. Two theaters not mentioned here are the Valentine at Fordham Rd. just steps away from Valentine Ave. (a stone’s throw from RKO Fordham). Also missing here is the David Marcus theater on the east side of Jerome Ave. just south of Gun Hill Rd.

  4. can anyone help me with more pictures

    fenway theather 1576 washintgon ave bronx ny

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