The United Palace is a spectacular, 83-year-old deluxe movie theatre at Broadway and 175th Street in Washington Heights where nearly everything in the interior is gilded. Beyond the elaborate foyer lies the third largest theatre in Manhattan, with 3,400 seats. In 2013, thanks to over 450 contributors just like you, the nonprofit United Palace of Cultural Arts (UPCA) raised nearly $50,000 in 40 days to return film to the United Palace for the first time since 1969. That campaign enabled us to purchase a digital projection system, clean the big screen, and start showing movies again, classics such as "Casablanca," "It's A Wonderful Life," and "West Side Story" and also independent and Latino films as well.
Since then, thousands of movie lovers have walked through our doors for the first time and fallen in love with the Palace. We had no idea that this would be so successful so soon. But we also realized there's much more that we need to do to create the classic cinematic experience that our audiences crave and New York City deserves.
Over the past few months of screenings we have learned that we will eventually need to upgrade our audio and projection systems. But the next step in continuing to rebuild the movie palace is to get a new screen.
After cleaning the over 50-year-old screen last year we discovered that it was in such poor shape that it needs to be replaced. There are holes, scratches and large areas where the surface is dirty or painted over.
For $20,000 we will purchase a new screen from Harkness, the world's leading screen technology company, that will provide a brighter, sharper, more magical image than what we have now. The installer, Howard Freedman of G Seventeen Interiors, will also add black curtains to mask the picture.
This will provide the Palace with an industry standard screen, improving the audience's enjoyment of the movies.
Master of ceremonies Lin-Manuel Miranda and film/TV/theatre star Rita Moreno.
Who we areThe United Palace of Cultural Arts (UPCA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts and cultural center created at the Palace in June 2012. Over the last two years UPCA has:
- hosted community arts programs that provide children with classical music, theatre, West African drumming, and circus arts training.
- provided a home for local artists to create and present their work.
- hosted numerous events in the spectacular theatre, from the 5-year anniversary concert of the Tony Award-winning musical "In the Heights" to master workshops provided by the New York Philharmonic to elementary school students in the Harmony Program to a book launch by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Diaz.
- and last June we began to screen films again, offering the first regularly scheduled film series at the Palace since the movie theatre went dark in 1969.
The next several films include: "King Kong" on April 27, "The Warriors" on May 18, and "Manhattan" on June 22.
We are not trying to create a first-run movie theatre. Rather our goal is to host special events that require projection. That includes movies, film festivals, live to projection performances, films in Spanish for our Latino community, live streaming, theatre productions that require digital scenery, and whatever this generation of filmmakers - and anyone with a video-equipped smartphone - can imagine projecting on a 50-foot-long screen. When the Palace is fully outfitted with new audio and projection equipment, it will be able to host movie premieres like few other theatres in the country.
While the nonprofit UPCA is leading the campaign, it wouldn't be possible without the strong support of the community of artists, filmmakers and film lovers who make Northern Manhattan home.
How to help and what you get for helping
To accomplish our goal we are reaching out to our biggest supporters - Northern Manhattanites and New Yorkers who love movies and watching them in an enchanting setting. We know audiences love what we have been offering since attendance has ranged from 800 to 1,300 for the last few films.
Our supporters will receive some great perks:
- Your name listed during the thank you credits before an upcoming film at the Palace.
- A free ticket and bag of popcorn.
- Limited edition lobby card for the Return of Film to the Palace by illustrator and comic book artist Sandy Jimenez.
- A pass to all UPCA screenings at the Palace through 2015.
- Your two-minute video shown during the previews before the next 10 UPCA screenings.
- Private screening with 15 friends of any movie you want that is available on Blu Ray/DVD.
- Private dinner and wine tasting for 8 in the Palace followed by a screening of any movie you want that is available on Blu Ray/DVD.
- NEW!!! - everyone who donates before April 27th will automatically be entered in a drawing to win DINNER FOR 2 at New Leaf Restaurant and Bar, the modern American jewel inspired by local green markets nestled in Fort Tryon Park.
NEW!!! All contributors can also vote for the New York City movie they would most like to see at our audience appreciation screening in July. Just type your vote in the comments section above on our Indiegogo page.
Other ways to help
First please spread the word about how we are continuing to improve this spectacular movie palace. Like us on Facebook and follow us onTwitter. Call, email or text friends and family members. Stop strangers in the street and tell them about this amazing movie palace that has been hidden in Northern Manhattan for all these years.
If you know someone who is connected to the film or performing arts community and can donate a new projector or sound system, we'd love to hear from you.
And of course, join us for a movie at a palace built for cinema.
This campaign is a wonderful way for any film lover to feel like they are investing in a piece of history. In 1930 the Loew's 175th Street Theatre opened as a vaudeville house and movie palace. It was designed by noted theatre architect Thomas Lamb and decorative specialist Harold Rambusch in a style that has been described as "Byzantine-Romanesque-Indo-Hindu-Sino-Moorish-Persian-Eclectic-Rococo-Deco style" by architecture critic David W. Dunlap.
In 1969, as the era
of grand movie palaces was in its twilight, the theatre was purchased by
Rev. Ike, who is considered the first black televangelist. He moved his
church here and soon after renamed it the United Palace. As a very
successful "prosperity preacher" Rev. Ike was able to maintain the
theatre in all its glory as he built his congregation through radio and
As the congregation began to shrink in the early 2000's the theatre also became a rental hall, booking concerts by the likes of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Adele, the Allman Brothers, and countless top Latin acts.
Now the United Palace is entering its third act, which is really just a return to its roots.
There is so much more we want to do. Please help us meet our goal and continue to breathe new life into the historic United Palace.