A Cinematic Cathedral

Long-time readers know we’re suckers for classic movie theatres—big city picture palaces, small-town bijous, you name it. Of course, we’re especially gratified when these theatres show movies at least occasionally, but we’re appreciative, too, when they’re used for other purposes (as long as the interior is preserved as closely to its original look as possible).

A few months back, we peeked in at the Times Square Church, formerly the Hollywood Theatre and the site of the premiere of Casablanca (1943) on November 26, 1942. One could certainly imagine that first audience thrilling to the trials and travails of Rick Blaine and Ilsa Lund in that beautiful space, and we’ll admit our heart beat a little faster at the thought of it. We were excited to be standing on that hallowed (in more ways than one) ground.

And we can’t wait till we get to visit the Tabernacle of Prayer in Queens, featured recently on Scouting New York, a delightful blog overseen by Nick Carr, a professional location scout here in the Big Apple.

The Tabernacle was formerly the Loew’s Valencia, and if we live to be 100 (fingers crossed), we expect to never come across a better-preserved movie palace (based on the multitude of photos provided at the aforementioned Scouting New York.)

We’ve included a couple of images below, just to whet your appetite, but no fooling: You should waste no further time in following the above link to experience this full virtual tour for yourself. As Carr wrote in his blog post, “I’m not even sure the term ‘movie palace’ does the Valencia justice. More like ‘movie cathedral.'”

We couldn’t agree more.