Hudson Valley Cinema Gem: The Orpheum in Saugerties


I’m a sucker for architecture and
I love old buildings.

I also love old buildings that happen to be movie houses.

And I have a soft spot for the latter if they happen to be a triplex with a brilliant, sparkling marquee.

There is only one cinema that fits this description in our lovely Hudson Valley, and it lives in Saugerties.

Built in 1890 by J.C. Dawes, the Theatre was a not only a venue for movies, but for rollerskating, basketball and, of course, the occasional vaudeville performance.

I like knowing that as I sit in my usual back row, aisle seat.

Which brings me to the interior of the cinema.
The first thing you notice when you walk in is: space.
The main theatre, obviously designed for acoustics, is my favorite.
The high ceilings (complete with decorative moldings), red tapestry and stage (yes- the original stage is still there) get me every time. Goosebumps.

The next thing that hits you is the smell;
a hint of must, not unlike that of a quaint little antique shop.
Call me crazy, but I prefer the smell of must over the chlorinated smell of artificial air at the local cinaplex- any day.

On most weekends, you’ll find a good mix of local teens and adults, as well as several tourists (Saugerties has become quite the hot-spot in recent years). It’s a funny thing; everyone seems to be equally entranced by the cinema’s aura and it makes for a very enjoyable couple of hours.
Something happens here that rarely happens at other theatres:
You can actually watch a movie in silence.

Even as you watch “Knocked-Up”, trying desperately not to spray soda out of your nostrils from holding back laughter, you are surrounded by charm and history at the Orpheum. And maybe, just maybe, the ghost of Harry Palmer- one of the greatest vaudeville actors, is sitting in the empty seat two rows over, grinning.

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One thought on “Hudson Valley Cinema Gem: The Orpheum in Saugerties

  1. The Orpheum Theater in Saugerties is such a treasure. Having lived just down the street from the theater, I spend many pleasant evenings watching great movies there. I loved nothing more than to walk out my front door and go to a movie 3 blocks away (often followed by a great dinner at one of Saugerties wonderful restaurants!)

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