By Gregg McQueen
Located at the corner of 181st Street and Broadway, the Coliseum Theatre stood for 100 years before being demolished last year.
Opened in 1920, the venue featured an ornate interior with a large marquee and initially presented a mixture of motion pictures and vaudeville shows.
In its heyday, the site hosted performances by Milton Berle, W.C. Fields, Bob Hope and the Marx Brothers.
For several decades after that, it screened movies to local residents at a discounted price.
“The theater wasn’t just a part of uptown history, it was a part of New York City history,” said filmmaker and Washington Heights resident Anthony Rojas. “It represented an era when the grand vaudeville theaters were popular in the city. Then it ended up as one of the last places uptown where you could see a movie.”
The theater closed for good in October 2011 and sat vacant until it was torn down last year to make way for a commercial development.
Rojas is currently working on a short documentary film titled The Last Movie Theater in Washington Heights, which pays tribute to the Coliseum.
An early edit of the short film features local community members reminiscing about the theater, amid a dreamlike presentation that displays tickets from past screenings and historic photos of the venue.