Sections

Cinematic transitions: Brooklyn’s old theaters take new forms

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

Photo gallery

1/4
NEW MISSION: The Rialto Theatre now serves as the Cortelyou Road Church of God.
2/4
BEAR WITNESS: Like its neighbor the Rialto, the Albemarle Theatre has become a house of worship.
3/4
STORE CREDIT: The Loew’s Oriental Theatre building on 86th Street in Bath Beach is now home to a Marshalls store.
4/4
BODY DOUBLE: The Plaza on Flatbush Avenue, later the Flatbush Pavilion, was a point of common ground for Park Slope residents and their neighbors in Prospect Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant. Now its a hipster clothing store.

Flatbush’s Kings Theatre roared back to life this week, just days after news broke that Fort Greene’s Paramount Theatre is on track to reprise its role as a gilded performance hall after a half-century as a Long Island University gymnasium. But for every story like these — and they don’t come along very often — there are a dozen grand old theaters hiding in plain sight, having taken on new identities as rug shops, mega-churches, and Modell’s Sporting Goods stores. We at The Brooklyn Paper love an old theater, so we figured we’d take this opportunity to share a taste of some of the picture palaces that are hiding in plain sight, including two within a block or so of the Kings.

Plaza (later Flatbush Pavilion)

314 Flatbush Ave. between Carlton Avenue and Park Place

Built in: 1912

Closed in: 2004

Now houses: An American Apparel store

Fun fact: Originally known as the Bunny Theater after its founder, silent-film star John Bunny. It also did a stint as a porn theater.

Loew’s Oriental Theatre

1832 86th St. at Bay 19th Street in Bensonhurst

Built in: 1927

Known for: Its vaudeville performances and lavish, faux-Asian decor

Closed in: 1995

Now houses: A Marshalls department store

Fun fact: By the time it closed, the theater’s grand main room had been divided up twice. The 2,700-seat theater was split between its upper and lower levels in 1977, making it a two-screen operation, and in 1984 the balcony was again chopped in two, making it a triplex.

Albemarle Theatre

973 Flatbush Ave. at Albemarle Road

Built in: 1921

Closed in: 1984

Now houses: A Jehovah’s Witnesses hall

Fun fact: The marquee advertised the 1982 movie “Creepshow” for years after a fire damaged the theater and forced it to close.

Rialto Theatre

1085 Flatbush Ave. at Cortelyou Road

Built in: 1916

Closed in: 1976

Now houses: Cortelyou Road Church of God

Fun fact: During the era of silent movies, the theater employed a small orchestra and organist to accompany films and play during intermission.

Reach reporter Noah Hurowitz at nhurowitz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:


Reasonable discourse

Cecil from Babylon says:
And many many others:

http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/902
Feb. 4, 2015, 10:18 am
Nancy from Bay Ridge says:
This is great, but there are so many more!
Feb. 4, 2015, 11:43 am

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: