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Inside the Ruined, Gorgeous Loew's Theatre on Canal Street

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The Loew's Canal Theatre at 31 Canal Street has seen better days. Once a famed movie palace at the center of life on the Lower East Side, it is now neglected and rotting. Nevertheless, hints of grandeur remain, with Gothamist taking us inside the decrepit, gorgeous auditorium, as it stands on the cusp of restoration.

Built in 1926 by famed theater architect Thomas W. Lamb, the theater seated 2,300 and was the second largest movie theater when it opened 1927, showing mostly B movies and serials. The theater closed in the late 1950s, and the lobby was converted to retail space by the early 60s. However, the auditorium has remained mostly in tact, despite being used as a warehouse for years.

In 2010, the theater's intricate terra cotta facade was designated a landmark by the LPC, while the Chinatown-based group, the Committee to Revitalize and Enrich the Arts and Tomorrow's Economy (CREATE) assessed the feasibility of turning the Loews Canal into what The Post referred to as "the Lincoln Center of Chinatown." That never came to fruition, and a plan to convert the theater into an 11-story condo complex was (thankfully) nixed by the Department of Buildings.

Still, there's reason to be hopeful, given the recent success of restoration efforts at Flatbush's equally magnificent Loew's Kings Theater.


· Photos: Inside The Abandoned Old Loew's Theatre On Canal Street[Gothamist]
· All Loew's Canal coverage [Curbed]