This white Moorish Revival, terra-cotta-clad theater with its copper-domed minarets is an Upper East Side landmark. The theater interior, a veritable catalog of Near Eastern and Asian design motifs, embodies the 1920s fascination with adventure and exotic places. Adorned with ornamental plaster, decorative painting, and sculpture, the interior centers on a balustrade of life-size ebony-colored lions. Larger-than-life Buddhas, with lighted rubies in their foreheads, squat in ornamental plaster niches along the auditorium walls. Richly ornamented pilasters hold huge elephant- and lion-head capitals. In 1988, the Oriental Theater was sensitively divided into a three-screen cinema. Two new auditoriums were built beneath the huge balcony, but the size of the original screen and virtually all of the historic ornamental features are intact.
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