By Carol Tannenhauser
The neighborhood is quivering with excitement — as the tips come in. There’s construction going on — actual construction — at the long vacant Metro Theater on Broadway between 99th and 100th.
“Looks as though lots of work is being done on the old Metro Theater,” wrote Larry. “I asked the construction people what the plan was and they said they didn’t know. I’m sure it would be of interest to all of us in the neighborhood.”
“Passed by the Metro Theater yesterday,” Jonas said, “they’re replacing an old fuel tank under the theater and refurbishing the external facade. The construction workers said that there’s a new tenant for the theater, but declined to say what it is. That’s all I’ve got so far.. :)”
West Side Rag has got a lot more! We spoke directly to Albert Bialek, the Metro’s owner, via cell phone Wednesday night, and he confirmed that construction is indeed underway. What is being built? In his characteristic manner, Bialek demurred, saying he is bound by a confidentiality agreement not to say, BUT it expires March 20th and then he will tell us — and only us, he said — all.
For now, he says, “Something very special and new is happening at the Metro. Stay tuned!”
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A giant In N Out Burger would be awesome (sort of kidding).
A IN & Out is better than a vacant space. I’ll take anything at this point.
Netflix bought the Paris on 58th and Fifth so that they could maintain it as a single screen cinema, in order to qualify whatever they chose to be eligible for Academy Award nomination.
Could this be similar?
100th and Broadway is an awfully grubby area for a tentpole theater.
Not nearly as grubby as it used to be.
An interesting theater could turn the block around if someone was willing to make the (very large) investment. The indie film crowd lives here for sure. They are the same people who patronize Peaky Barista and have made that place so successful.
Anything but fast food would be welcome.
How about a huge Amazon warehouse? Be careful what you wish for – the sense of entitlement around here is strong. Given all the empty storefronts, and how long this one in particular has been empty, I will take what I can get.
unless its live events this will be a whammy
It pains me to point out that this space would be suitable for yet another ghost grocery warehouse.
It will be a Japanese fast food place, where you sit down and order and the food comes to you on a conveyor belt. I can’t wait.
A homeless shelter, that would teach film studies. Maybe the next Spike Lee can come out of it.
Hahahahaha. Gasp. Hahaha. Ten years ago I would say it will be a Duane Reade – that is what happened to the theater on 86th off Lexington. Who knows now? But glad something is opening up there. It has been at least 15 years since the theater was there.
I loved that theater. I lived/worked in that area for years and went to several private screenings there. Much more intimate than Loews and 86th Street East (also closed). DR was closed pre-Covid so that’s another massive 2 floor prime location that remains empty. 🙁
Apparently a pair of businessmen are planning to reopen it and christen it the “Alex Theatre.” I heard this from Geoffrey Haarwood*, who runs the Institute for the Preservation of Motion Picture Costumes and Wardrobes.
I sure did! Is that the one with Kramer and the Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat?
Indeed it is! By the way, did you lose a pair of glasses?
I can almost hear Thurston Howell, III correcting someone who mispronounces that name!
I really hope someone figured out my post!
I guess not as many Seinfeld fans around here as you would think.:)
Original name was to be The Ramrod Theatre
Hear peep shows are coming back, great location for there re-introduction!
After watching the latest season of Mrs. Maisel I was having an image of the place she was working – same idea!
The New Grand Prospect Hall
It is going to be some retail store.
Let’s make it be a dark store offering 4 minute deliveries!
Hah. Right? I’m sorry, but these places are parasitic. I’ve been trying to get off my *** and patronize my local bodegas more frequently since I noticed the rise of these places.
Anything that has people coming in and out of it on a regular basis, particularly at night, would be a welcomed addition.
Conversion to Retail stores according to the DOB filing.
Patch.com says it’s being converted to retail space. Better than nothing, but a new movie theater would’ve been much better.
The Metro Is a rare and beautiful example of Art Deco architecture. Sadly, the interior was gutted long ago, but the exterior is landmarked. I hope the renovation does it justice.
I remember getting off the 104 bus one night with my visiting eldest brother, at the stop right in front of theater back in its porn days. As I turned to cross Bway, he looked up at the marquee (something I never did back then) and said, “Wow! Aguirre, the Wrath of God!” What? That’s when I realized things had changed. The renovated interior was so tasteful and beautiful, black with white statuary. Unfortunately the interior wasn’t landmarked, and its life was far too short.
I would be thrilled–but I will believe it when I see it. It has been vacant for almost 20 years. I would not want to be on the hook for insuring it.
Maybe Pelé? It’s a soccer retailer that involves a celebrity, Pelé himself. They have a former theater in Time Square, and have the money for a renovation like this- they’re owned by Fanatics.
I wish it could be a theatre like the united palace, a Loews wonder theatre. Doesn’t seem to be enough demand to make money as a entertainment center.
Maybe we need a community preservation fund financed by a percentage property sales over a certain price point.
Southampton was able to help resurrect Sag Harbor Cinema.
When I was a kid it was a porn theater called the Olympia. I used to wait for the 104 bus there every morning. Very interesting movie posters!
It was called the Midtown during its porn phase, IIRC.
Ah yes the Midtown!!!! Thanks for the correction 😊
Yes it did screen porn films for awhile, I think in the 1970’s but it wasn’t called The Olympia. That was was a larger theater on Broadway a little further uptown.
At one point, it did show porno, but you’re conflating two theaters. The Olympia was on 107th or 108th. That whole block was torn down.
Hope it’s a Horn and Hardart Automat!
Re: an automat, wouldn’t that be wonderful? The building on 104th and Broadway that houses the City MD was once an automat. I walked by the Metro theater today, and a door was open. A man was telling another bystander what was going on, and pointed to the bricks from the 1940’s at the back of the building. It certainly seems as if something is happening.
Any chance it could be the third coming of the Lincoln Plaza Theatre? Would be lovely, but a quick google search tells me that it’s probably nothing nearly as special, and also tells me that Mr. Bailek has apparently been teasing in print a variety of uses—a nonprofit, a gym, a clothing store, an Alamo Drafthouse—for many, many years. Perhaps he’s forgotten the story of the property owner who cried wolf?
Meanwhile over on Friends of Metro Theater’s Facebook page, there are links to the documents filed with the city that suggest this is indeed retail.
For the record, the Metro was the last, single-theatre movie house built on the UWS, 1934. It was named the “Midtown,” for some reason, and was indeed showing pornos by 1980. Soon after, the same guy who gave us the Lincoln Plaza theatres, turned it into a revival house, restoring its splendid, Art Deco interior. It was then made a duplex, but closed in 2004.
The Olympia was indeed between 107th-108th—replaced by a high-rise years ago. And remember the Edison, around 103rd? Long a Spanish-language movie theatre, with a big poster of Cantinflas out front. Also became a second-run house, now is retail.
And that was indeed a Horn & Hardart, where a very weird and tragic incident took place during the Great Depression.
Oh this is so exciting! I just hope it won’t be, ya know, a bank. Will keep my eye out on the 20th!
The Upper Upper West Side needs a movie theater.