Then and Now Theaters of Staten Island:


Richmond County once had many beautiful old movie theaters that added to the rich culture and environment of Staten Island. By now, almost all of these theatres are closed but we continue to appreciate the film industry by the opening of many new theaters on Staten Island today.

The Palace Theater: This theater was located on 300 Broadway, in the West New Brighton section of Staten Island. I believe the theater opened in 1924. It is said that first run movies were featured there. It closed when television became popular and more people were staying home to watch television. Money was a consideration at the time this theater was open.

The Empire Theater: This theater was located on 3094 Richmond Terrace, in the Port Richmond section of Staten Island. From the information I have found it opened around 1916 and closed in 1978. Right before it closed, it was showing adult themed movies much to the dismay of the residents of the area.

The Victory Theater: This theater was located at 120 Victory Blvd, in the Tompkinsville section of Staten Island. The theater opened in 1925, and sometime later that year a Wurlitzer organ was installed. The theater closed sometime in the 1960's. Now in Staten Island The Little Victory Theatre exists, which debuted in 2016, is committed to bringing plays and musicals that are both original and published to the Staten Island community.

The Strand Theater: This theater was located at 23 Nelson Ave, in the Great Kills section of Staten Island. A ticket was twenty-five cents at that time. The theater had a matron in the afternoon that would walk up and down the aisles with her flashlight telling everyone to stop talking. During that time the theater had a special section just for smoking.

The Ritz Theater: This theater was located on Richmond Avenue and Anderson Avenue, in the Port Richmond section of Staten Island. When this theater was first built and opened in 1924, it was a vaudeville and movie theater up until 1968. The theater was a host to great artists such as Bob Hope, Mae West and other famous artists. In 1970, it became a concert hall for many of the great bands of that time such as Allman Bros, Three Dog Night and Humble Pie. It closed in 1968. The Pedulla family has owned and run this theater as a tile shop since 1985. The theater's original use is still partially visible within. The wall murals are still beautiful.


The Castleton Theater: The theater was located at 1094 Castleton Avenue. It was the first movie theater on Staten Island. In 1935 it became a plumbing store and now stands a church.

The Elm Theater: This theater was located on Innis Avenue in 1912. In 1940 it got broken up into a few different retail stores. The building still stands now in 2022 and is being used as an American Legion Post.

The Park Theater & The Rex Theater: situated in Staten Island's Stapleton neighborhood. The American Motion Picture Director's 1914–1915 edition had a listing for Leo's Park Theatre. Afterwards called the Park Theatre. By 1941, Rosenblatt-Welt Theaters was running the Rex Theater. In 1950, it was shut down.

The Lane Theater: The Lane theater is located in the New Dorp section of Staten Island. The theater opened its doors on February 10 1938, the film that was shown was a Deanna Durbin film named 100 Men a Girl. The theater had 600 seats and was very comfortable. It was a big deal to go out on a Friday night and take a bus, sitting on the balcony and thinking this is great. It was a beautiful theater. The theater closed its doors in 2001, it reopened in 2009 as a comedy club and that closed in 2011. It became a church in March 2012.

The St. George Theatre: This theatre opened on December 4, 1929. Many Staten Islanders remember and refer to the St. George theatre as a movie palace. If you have never been to this theatre, you must go. The architecture in this theatre is amazing. It is a combination of Italian and Spanish revival. There is decorative gold, stained glass and spectacular iron work. In 1978 the St. George theatre ended its career as a movie theatre. Several people tried different venues but to no avail. A Staten Island woman and her children started a nonprofit organization in an attempt to save this beautiful building. The St. George theatre now has concerts, plays and spectacular holiday themes. You can read more about it on our previous blog: St. George Theatre.

Staten Island Drive-In: The drive-in theater opened in 1948. This was the first drive-in theater in New York City. I am not sure when it closed but if my memory serves me correctly I think it was late 1960 or early 70's. There is not much written about the drive-in.

We now have movie theaters that are currently open on Staten Island. They are the UA-16 on Forest Avenue and the Atrium on Arthur Kill Road and AMC Theatre located at the Staten Island Mall and Regal Bricktown Charleston. There is a lot of history in all of these old buildings. A lot of history that we wish that could have been preserved, but I know sometimes it is more economic to either knock down the buildings or just use them for something else. But it still remains that Staten Island has a lot of history and it is a beautiful place to live and raise a family.


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