PARIS THEATRE, Midtown

by Kevin Walsh

As many ForgottenFans know, I have been working in the Columbus Circle/Hells Kitchen region of late. On an after-work ramble, I headed east on West 58th Street and happened upon the Paris Theater at #4, just west of 5th Avenue for the first time, located across the street from the magnificent Plaza, once a hotel but now mostly condos.

The Paris, run by City Cinemas, is the last remaining single-screen movie house remaining in Manhattan since the Ziegfeld closed in 2015. It opened in 1948 and besides the Paris, it has also been known as the Fine Arts Theatre. It has been famed in the past for hosting grand premieres and today still runs high-profile productions.

Since the theatre’s website does not show any future attractions after Ron Howard’s Pavarotti documentary completes its current run, rumors are rampant that it will be shuttered before the summer is over, and its site redeveloped. The Midtown area south of Central Park has become the site of several “supertall” residential behemoths in recent years and the Plaza itself is no longer a hotel in the main. Thus far the rumors have not been borne out by theater management, and it looks for now that the Paris will be with us for some time to come.

Update: The Paris shuttered on August 28, 2019.

Check out the ForgottenBook, take a look at the gift shop, and as always, “comment…as you see fit.”

7/24/19

9 comments

Tom Padilla July 26, 2019 - 3:05 pm

I remember it being called the Paris in the mid-1980s.

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William Hohauser July 26, 2019 - 10:58 pm

There seems to be inaccurate info floating around the internet about this theater. I grew up nearby in the 1960’s and it was called the Paris Theater back then. That logo sign on the marquee is prime 60’s design. Here is a link to film ads from that era listing the theater as the Paris: http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/307/photos

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Kevin Walsh July 30, 2019 - 6:33 pm

I have amended the article and also said the theater management has not confirmed its closing.

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Andy July 31, 2019 - 9:47 am

I definitely remember this theater as the Paris. Thanks for posting the movie ads from years ago. Went there in 1969 with my then-girlfriend to see “Romeo and Juliet.” Now we are grandparents. Time flies.

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D. Benezra July 27, 2019 - 6:29 pm

It was called “Paris” in 1949, the first time I went there.

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Tom July 29, 2019 - 7:39 pm

It was known as Paris in 1973 when I was at the premier of The Exorcist.

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ron s July 31, 2019 - 11:14 am

Saw the original “Bedazzled” there (with Dudley Moore and Peter Cook). Must have been around ’67.

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Del Frate August 1, 2019 - 12:43 pm

Back in the early ’90s, Leona Helmsley, who resided in the Park Lane penthouse down the street, reportedly would stand under the marquis & panhandle to raise funds for her criminal defense expenses. Wearing nothing but an old yellowed girdle, she would berate & curse at passerby who ignored her. Her private security detail, no stranger to her erratic behavior, was probably on the theatre’s speed dial, as they always showed up pronto & discreetly escorted her to their waiting car. Allegedly she rarely resisted; a couple of times it was said she made quite a scene. Please remember this was in the dark technological ages, before smartphones & social media. Imagine if they were around then?!? Oy!!!

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Dan August 3, 2019 - 7:04 pm

One rainy day in 1970 — when it was too damp for hanging out near the Bethesda Fountain — my then-girlfriend and I dropped acid and went to see Fellini Satyricon at the Paris.

As I recall, we sat through the entire movie five times and didn’t crawl out of the theater until late evening. Yes, those were definitely the days!

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