United Palace Theatre is located in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan. Originally built as one of the five Loew’s Wonder Theatres, the opulent theater opened in 1930 as a 3,444 seat movie theater. Its ornate, gilded interiors were designed by Harold Rambusch, who also designed interiors for the Waldorf Astoria and Radio City Music Hall. The fifth and last of the Loew’s Wonder Theatres to be built in New York, United Palace – originally called the Loew’s 175th Street Theatre – was thought to be the most elaborate of architect Thomas Lamb’s endeavors. Loew’s closed the 175th Street Theatre in March of 1969.
The theater later became home to Christ United Church, which was founded by the late evangelist Reverend Ike, and is known as The Palace Cathedral for church services. In recent years it has also been used as a concert venue and is known as the United Palace when booked for concert events.
In June of 2013 a fundraising campaign was started to purchase a digital projector, in order to screen independent, foreign and classic movies. The project was successful, and the first movie screened in the theatre in more than 44 years was Casablanca, on November 17, 2013.
Today, the United Palace is a premier performance hall and has welcomed Bob Dylan, B.B. King and Adele, among others. It is also the home of the United Palace House of Inspiration congregation (UPHI), and the United Palace of Cultural Arts (UPCA), an independent nonprofit focused on arts education and community.