The Bloomingdale History Group is holding a Zoom session on Tuesday explaining the history of movie theaters on the Upper West Side — there were once a whopping 17 theaters!
Learn more below:
Tuesday, September 22
For the link go to the BNHG website https://www.
Important: There’s a limit of only 100 people in our “zoom room” so give yourself plenty of time to sign on.
The Bloomingdale Neighborhood History Group: discovering, preserving and sharing the history of this upper west side neighborhood
About the program:
Remember when you used to go to the movies? The real movies? With seats and popcorn and other people? Well, the Bloomingdale Neighborhood History Group (BNHG) has scheduled a program that is going to take you back to the movies— way, way back.
The BNHG’s first foray into the wide world of zoom programming, Bloomingdale Goes to the Movies, will take place Tuesday, September 22nd at 5:30PM. The hour-long program will take viewers back to the twentieth century when there were at least 17 theaters in our neighborhood.
Most of these 17 were built in the space of just a few years, starting in 1911, at a time when all of America was engaged in a full- on love affair with Hollywood. At one time, there were three movie theaters on West 110th street alone and contrary to what you may have assumed, not all were on Broadway.
Only one of these theaters still remains and only a few of the original structures still stand and those that do remain have been so completely transformed that it is hard to imagine that they were once film palaces.
The program’s three presenters– Jim Mackin, Gil Tauber, and Dan Armstrong, all members of the BNHG planning committee–will tell the story of how and where Bloomingdale’s theaters lived and how they died. They’ll describe Bloomingdale’s “Little Times Square” with its thousands of seats for movie-goers (some even on the roofs of the theaters) and show you vestigial remnants of old theaters in buildings that you probably walk by every day.
About the presenters:
Jim Mackin’s book Notable New Yorkers of Manhattan’s Upper West Side: Bloomingdale-Morningside Heights (Fordham University Press) will be available November 3rd but can be pre-ordered at Bookloft on West 112th Street or Amazon or Barnes and Noble. He is also the force behind Weekday Walks https://www.weekdaywalks.com/.
Gil Tauber has created the Bloomingdale Building Database which is accessible on the BNHG website (www.upperwestsidehistory.org)
Dan Armstrong has lived in Bloomingdale since graduating from Columbia in 1982 and was a frequent visitor, with his son, to the Olympia theater. He was an auxiliary cop in the 24th and Central Park precincts and was briefly Barack Obama’s editor when the former president lived on West 109th Street.