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Does anyone know if this theater is the “Aster” theater seen in this photo below at the Marcy ave station? If it’s not, do any of you know if the Aster theater was also known by another name, as I can’t find any information on this site. There is also a Williamsburg Playhouse, and a “Square” Theater that also has a Broadway address that is in the 300’s or 200’s. which is correct for around the Marcy Ave station.
It is very hard to find interior photos of any theater. I wish there was a website somewhere that had interior photos of all these theaters, either historical or current.
Hi Peter and DABOC, close, I started Christ the King in Fall 1984. I attended Saint Matthias School before that from kindergarden to 8th. I remember Saint Bridget Quite well too, because I went to flea markets with them once a month in the auditorium there. To try to bring this back on topic too, speaking of flea markets, if any of you want to see a great old theater as a “diamond in the rough” check out the RKO Keith’s (Richmond Hill) theater. You can attend the flea market on a Sunday and instead of looking at the merchandise, check out the theater. The lobby and the main auditorim has the tables set up. It’s basically intact, and could be restored, as everything from the lobby mirrors (filthy) to the cobweb covered chandeliers throughout the theater are all still there.
When I was a kid in the 70’s in Ridgewood, it was always Queens, but we had a Brooklyn zip code (11227). At some point in the early 80’s, Ridgewood did get a Queens zip code (11385). To this day, much of the “Queens” part of Ridgewood retains it’s old named streets as opposed to the “Queens numbering system”. It also retains it’s “Brooklyn address numbering system” on the southwest side of Forest Ave, while skipping to the Queens numbering system on the other side of Forest Ave. Ironically, the Ridgewood Theater appears to have it’s address in the “Queens” system, rightly so, as it is in Queens.
Really funny that you should mention “Fresh Pond Rd and Madison St”. If anyone thinks of a “bad” part of Ridgewood, that certainly really isn’t it nor had it ever been really. That never seemed like “the bad part of town”. It’s always been an Italian stronghold right there, and continues to be. You are right though, Ridgewood is becoming very Polish over the last few years.
Is this the theater that was known as the Continental? I had seen many movies at the continental, and it was on Austin St, with another “branch” across the street. Sorry if I sound a bit confused, but it’s been at least 15 years since I’ve been near there.
When was the elmwood divided up into four theaters? I had seen a few movies there, the last one back in the mid 80’s was “Back to the Future”. For the life of me, I can’t remember if it already was chopped up. I think I remember it being one theater at that time, but it’s nearly 20 years ago, so really can’t really say for sure.
This is very interesting that the theater may still be sitting there behind all of the retail in the lobbies. What stores currently occupy the lobbies of the building?
Peter, thanks for providing links to photos for so many theaters on the site, like the Ambassador, Valencia, etc. Of course I know the photo in the above link quite well….
Here’s a more current photo of the RKO Bushwick Theater that I had taken last July from the rear of a J train at the Gates Ave station.
Interesting. So what you are saying is that at least part of the Casino Theater is still standing and used for a shcool, similar to the RKO Bushwick Theater. I really have to get over there again soon one day and get some photos. I have a “semi-current” photo of the RKO Bushwick that I will post the link to in the Bushwick Theater page here. It was taken last July from the rear of a J train at the Gates Ave station. It was while they were still fixing it, but it still was not completed. I wish I had known about the Casino Theater last year as I would have tried to look for it.
As for that “rusty” building in the distance of my “current photo” (also from last July), that is Woodhull Hospital. They had torn down a good many buildings to build that in the 60’s. Again, if you go to www.nycsubway.org and click on BMT Lines, Jamaica Line, and Flusing Ave, you can see both before and after photos of the block where it is now and even construction photos. Today, Flushing Ave is one of the busiest stations on that line, and they even build elevators to the elevated platform.
Fernando, in the links below you can see the building Peter is talking about. Peter and I had been trying for quite a while to figure out where the Casino Theater was until recently finding out the Casino was nearer to the Kosciuszko St El station, and we had originally mistakenly thought that that arched windowed building may have been the Casino Theater. For some reason now I have a feeling that arched building may have been “Bargintown”. Although refurbished in the late 90’s, into the 80’s it was abandoned and painted in red and white stripes, as seen in the distance in the nycsubway.org photo: http://www.nycsubway.org/perl/show?4666 The Casino Theater would have been just to the right of the train in the photo.
The striped building has since been restored as seen in the “transitgallery photo”:
Any information would be appreciated.
The funny thing is I was trying for a while since Peter first asked me to help him figure out those words on the marquee of the Hillside theater, and just fell short. Now that I know what it says, it looks so clear in the photo now!
And Peter, keep those links coming!
Greenpoint, is that photo on the top of that page of the interior of the Broadway Theater?
Anyway, you can also get a glimpse of the Broadway Theater in the movie “Ghost”. When the train that Patrick Swayze’s character is on pulls into the Myrtle-Broadway station, you can get a glimpse of the theater to the left of the train. I have many times looked into the glass-less windows of the Broadway Theater while waiting for subway trains. In whatever that room was on the second floor facing the subway platform, the plaster ceiling had collapsed onto the floor.
In 1998 when they demolished the theater, I was able to see the interior of the theater for the first time. It was very ornate. For a period of time the interior of the theater was exposed. The final wall to come down was the stage wall and the proscenium arch was still intact. Some Corinthian columns also remained with the stage wall along another wall, and one last chandelier hung there waving in the wind. I wish I had my camera with me that day.
Today, the site of the theater is still vacant. A “shany-town” has sort of sprung up at the rear of the lot where the stage used to be with homeless people. You can still see the scars of the old theater on the wall that used to be shared by the theater and the building on the left. You can see where stairways went up to the balconies and different levels on the bricks on the side of the building on the left.
You can also see a photo taken in 1914 of the old Broadway Theater in it’s prime in the book, “The Brooklyn Elevated” by Greller and Watson on the Myrtle Ave El page.
I had just seen the interior of the Bushwick Theater in “The Believers”. It must have been filmed there in the mid to late 80’s. I recommend the movie to anyone who wants to see the interior, till some other photos are available. The theater appeared very intact in the late 80’s according to what it looked like in the movie, although of course in compelete shambles. In the movie some cult had preformed human sacrafices on the stage. It really is a good movie.
Wouldn’t it have been nice and ironic had they restored the theater to movies, and the first movie to be shown there was “The Believers”. Oh well, at least it is still standing, even if for a high school.
Here is the link to the photo Peter was talking about above. It’s a start from some photos, even if just of the “roof”.
Thanks guys for all the information on the Casino Theater. I am very interested in finding out more about this and some of the other Broadway (Brooklyn) area theaters. If I find out anything more, I will post it here. Some photos of either the interior or exterior would also be very welcome if anyone ever finds a link to this or some of the other Bushwick theaters.
I agree, the theater should be identified as RKO Keith’s Richmond Hill Theater. I had a lot of trouble finding the theater in the database, and finally found it by searching “RKO”, which finally let me find it. If I didn’t know it was an RKO theater, I may still not have found it because Keith’s is not in the title.
Monica, thanks for all your comments. I also enjoyed the Ridgewood as a child in the 70’s and as a teenager in the 80’s. Back in the 70’s, I had seen many movies there. My mother’s friend was the ticket checker, and would usually get us discount tickets. I can’t even remember the countless movies I had seen there, but many were while it still was only one theater (or some when it had only two when the balcony was first partitioned out for the main auditorium). The last movie I saw there before the main level was cut up was E.T. I also saw “In Search or Historic Jesus” there when it was one theater (Ironically so, after seeing what’s on the marquee in your photos!), and also some Disney movies with my mother as a child. The last movie I saw at the Ridgewood quite a few years ago was one of the Frideay the 13th movies, I think Part 6.
One of my funniest memories of the Ridgewood was going there to see “Beverley Hills Cop II” many years ago. I went there with a friend, and it was a very bright sunny day. It was playing in one of the balcony theaters. We bought popcorn and drinks, and then headed to the theater. The line was popcorn long, so the credits of the movie were already started when we got in. Our eyes weren’t fully adjusted yet, so the theater appeared pitch black. We were literally crawling up the steps and incline in the aisle, and tripping on the steps as we went along. We couldn’t see a thing! We even tried to sit on someone! We finally found empty seats, (which certainly wasn’t easy). We started watching the movie. After about 15 minutes or so, we glanced down at the aisle that we had such a hard time getting up and to out horror, it really wasn’t all that dark in the theater, we had really given the ¾ full theater a show as we stumbled up those steps and then trying to sit on people in what we thought was “dark”….it was all in clear view of the people whose eyes were used to the dark watching the spectacle!
Thanks again Monica for the great memories you brought back for a theater in my old hometown neighborhood.
Thanks Peter for a reminder of another Ridgewood landmark…Carl’s!
Both the interior and exterior of the Eltinge theater are original. Both the exterior and interior of the theater were landmarked by the city. When AMC did the renovation, the Eltinge theater were moved 200 feet, and then the multiplex built around it. The 900 seat “legit” playhouse of Julian Eltinge is the lobby of the AMC multiplex. People use the old theater space to get to their theaters using some zigzaggng escalators from floor to floor. The former balcony areas were converted to a cafe. So yes, the exterior and interior auditorium of the former Eltinge (Empire theater) ARE in fact the lobby for the new AMC multiplex.
I think I can trace my interst in theaters to the RKO Keiths in Richmond Hill. When I was about 12, occasionally I used to go with my parents to the RKO Keiths in Richmond Hill for the Flea Markets in the mid 80’s. They would go looking at the stuff, and I would go off on my own and explore the theater. The “relic” condition of it fascinated me! The very opulent lobby with the mirrors, chandeliers, and plasterwork, sitting there filthy just fascinated me. Also all the chandeliers along the ceiling up in the balcony. The theater was sort of trashed, but so much of the theater’s glory days was there. Many of the old sconces were lit up on the walls back then, sitting there filthy.
One day during a flea market as a kid, I snuck up to the balcony. All that was stopping me was a chain across the stairs with the ornate railing. I ran up there when no one was looking, and really searched the nooks and crannies. Soot, and years of dust and cobwebs covered everything, including the draperies and crystal chandeliers. I also snuck behind the stage curtain on one trip there. The ornate curtain had been cut, and makeshift doorway put in it.
The ornate paintings and murals all survived way up on the ceiling of the theater, although all the walls were painted beige about halfway up to the ceiling. The proscenium arch was beige on the sides, and the top was still original with gold etching, and all different colors. The theater seemed so interesting because of all the old stuff sitting there, like a diamond in the rough.
I have not been back to the RKO Keith’s in probably at least 15 years, so have no idea what changes (or removal of old stuff) have taken place since back then.
I was sorry to hear that the museum plans fell through, it would have been nice to see the theater restored. At least around 15 years ago, so much of the old theater was still intact (aside from the seats on the main level), so it was very possible to save with restoration unlike so many other theaters. I hope that is still the case today.
To answer Robert’s question about the theater being intact or not, I don’t know what remains of the beautiful theater that was the Madison. What I do remember was that after being empty for quite a while, the Madison had become a “Consumers” store. Later, it became an “Odd Lot” store. I had visited both of those stores many times. You used to be able to see the outline of the balcony on the ceiling. They put in a “fake ceiling” in the main part of the theater, so don’t know what remained of the old theater as it was all covered. Some time around when it closed as a theater to when it opened as Consumers, the Madison burned, so I don’t know how much of the theater survived between neglect, time, the fire, and just conversion to stores.
The exterior had survived quite nicely. Although the marquee was removed around the time of the store conversion, the marble facade on Myrtle survived quite nicely, and was even cleaned and pointed. Unfortunately, the Liberty Dept store that now occupies the theater covered half the facade with their sign. Now covered are the ornate marble window surroundings that last and were even restored some years earlier.
Also if you stand on the Wyckoff Ave station platform of the M line el, you can just vaguely make out “Madison Theatre” in a rapidly fading painted sign showing a relic from the past.
Robert, I don’t know too much else about the Acme aside from in it’s life as the catering hall, and even that, I only visited once, so don’t really remember the interior. I also vaguely remember that there was Social Security Office somewhere in the theater.
I wish there was website online somewhere that had photos of old theaters, either current or historical. They seem very hard to find.
I only had seen one movie in the Trylon, “A Stranger Among Us” much of which was actually filmed in Ridgewood, at the Forest Ave M station. I remember it usually playing “unusual” films.
I remember it being a really nice “old fashioned” theater that if I’m not mistaken, even opened and closed curtains in front of the screen still.
They were probably much more than 7 blocks apart (many of the numbers repeat themselves – 64th St, 64th Pl, etc). The Glenwood was actually about a block away from the trestle, and probably the theater Bob is thinking of. The Acme, aka the Victorian House caterers, was on the other side of the trestle, and many many blocks away, near St Pancras Church on Myrtle.
The clothes store that was located in the Belvedere was “Friedricks” Clothing store.