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Loew's 175th Street Theatre
4140 Broadway (at 175th Street)
This 3,444-seat was designed by Thomas Lamb and opened February 22, 1930. The building was the last of the five "Wonder Theatres" featuring a Moorish/Rococo influence and ornate interior decoration with filigreed walls and ceilings, illuminated by directional lighting from within and behind walls. The interior design is very similar to the Landmark Theatre in Syracuse, NY that Lamb also designed. Construction was timed to open simultaneously with the completion of the George Washington Bridge just to the west, but delays in bridge construction made waiting impractical. Although designed to host live productions, the Depression and competition from other theatres in the area led to exclusively film presentation soon after opening. The theatre's comparatively remote location in far northern Manhattan also lowered its profile during its years of operation. (reference)
In 1969, during the period of waning fortunes for both NYC and movie palaces in general, the theatre was purchased by the United Christian Evangelistic Association in 1969, under the direction of Dr. Frederick Eikerenkoetter ("Rev. Ike") as the home for his Christ United Church, naming the performing space the Palace Auditorium. While some may have their concerns about Reverend Ike, his contribution to the city in the maintenance of this grand structure is unquestionable.
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