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Here is a link to a Times Weekly article that has a 1915 photo of the Wyckoff theater.
Don’t worry about the Ralph-Menahan street mixup. Nobody is perfect, except for me. (just kidding) The Ridgewood Hippodrome was on Menahan st right off of St Nicholas ave. It must have been a small “hippo” since that property wasn’t very large. Does your book give a seating capacity for the Ridgewood Hippodrome?
Maybe they should bring Screeno back or some other gimmick to increase attendance. Does anyone remember when gas stations gave out drinking glasses and dishes when you filled up the tank? Today you have to sell your glasses and dishes to afford to buy the gas.
Your right about that 1931 build date being incorrect. I found the same thing on a few other buildings in the area. I now believe that the Majestic opened sometime in the 20’s and I’m trying to find out when the Grandview opened. I think its possible that they both opened around the same time.
I would be happy to win $25. I can’t even win $1 in the Lotto. Back then $25 was considered alot of money.
Thanks for the update on the address, maybe Cinema Treasures can edit the address above.
I previously had thought that the Majestic was built in 1931. The following story is from 1928 so the document I viewed that said 1931 must be incorrect. It must have opened in the 1920’s.
“In 1928 We lived on Woodward Avenue between Bleecker Street and Menahan Street. It used to cost a dime to go to the Majestic movie theater with wooden seats without cushions, which was located on Seneca Avenue, and as they were still showing silent films, a musician would play a piano to accompany the action on the screen”.
I forgot this part, the theater was operating in 1912.
I don’t remember which message section this question was asked, but someone asked about a theater on Freshpond road near the train station. I found a theater called the Whitney theater that was located on Freshpond road and Hughes street. Hughes street is now known as 68th avenue. I hope that this helps you.
Does it specify if it was two seperate buildings or as I have read somewhere that it was one building with the outdoor theater actually being located on the roof.
Another persons memory of the Grandview:
“The Grandview Theater was fondly called â€˜The Dumps.â€™ We spent many a Saturday afternoon there. For a dime we saw a newsreel, a superhero serial, coming attractions, a B movie, and the main attraction. During the warm weather, we watched the movie out in the open-air theater, sitting on very hard seats”.
Wasn’t the Majestic also referred to as “The Dumps”? Two theater’s in Ridgewood with the same nickname? Maybe these two theater’s did have something in common.
I found a nice article in the Times Weekly about the Madison theater. Did you know that this theater was named after President James Madison? I don’t know if you have seen this article, but if you haven’t it is worth reading.
You and me both. I think we missed out on some fun times back then.
Here is another story that I found about the Grandview that mentions the outdoor theater and the wooden benches.
“On Saturday afternoons, we would go to the Grandview Theater at Grandview and Gates avenues. For 10Â¢ you could spend the whole afternoon there. They usually had two features, a cartoon, the latest chapter of the serial, and sometimes a short. Often the film would break, and everybody would start stamping their feet. Freddie the manager would walk up and down the aisles trying to get the kids to quiet down. On weekend nights, the Grandview was usually standing room only, and the partition curtains in the rear would have to be opened for those standing to see the screen. The Grandview also had an outdoor theater, and during the summer, at dusk, in nice weather, movies would be shown outside with seating on wooden benches. There was no air conditioning. Benny Rasso ran the small concession stand. Sometimes on a weekend night before the feature started, they would play â€˜Screenoâ€™ with a large dial projected on the screen. The dial would be spun and if it stopped on your number, as per your ticket, your received a small cash prize. Wednesday night was dish night, and patrons were given a free item from a dinner set”.
Okay, Grand st is now Grand ave. There is a Muller ave listed for Kew Gardens which is now called 82nd road. I doubt thats the one your looking for. But there was a Mueller st in Maspeth which is now 68th street. Maybe thats the one your looking for.
I checked Grand street on a genealogy site and it is Grand avenue now. I’m having trouble locating Muller street which most likely has been changed to a numbered street.
How about Grand Avenue in Maspeth? It use’s four digit numbers that coincide with the cross street. For example, 6100 would be on Grand ave and 61st street in Maspeth with a zipcode of 11378. I’ll see if I can find out if Muller st had a name change at some point in time.
Peter….On the map I viewed, 490 Woodward is by Greene ave. It is possible that in the early 1900’s there was a 490 Woodward and at some point the property was combined with 488 Woodward and it now uses 488 as the address. If the Ridgewood Hippodrome was at 498 Ralph St aka Menahan st, it would have been located at St Nicholas ave and Menahan st. Between the Ridgewood-Bushwick-Brooklyn-Queens controversy, the street name changes and address changes, it is difficult to figure out exactly where these theater’s were located.
When you get a chance, send me that link. I don’t remember seeing the photo.
If the Ridgewood Hippodrome was located on Ralph ave then it shouldn’t be listed as Ridgewood. If it was on Ralph street then it was located in Ridgewood because Ralph st is the former name for Menahan st. 490 Woodward ave is listed on a Yahoo map but using a real estate search the address on that block ends at 488 Woodward and shows nothing for 490. Another mystery? I did find a saloon that was located on that corner in 1910. It was called Henry Strohâ€™s Saloon. I don’t know if the saloon was at 488 or 490 Woodward in 1910. I’ll keep looking.
Thanks for posting that info. I’ll add those four theater’s with the Ridgewood name to my research list. I had a feeling that the Ridgewood Folly theater wasn’t going to show up in any book. Maybe we should rename it to the Ridgewood Mystery theater. I don’t know why a Grand View theater would be listed at Woodward ave and Woodbine st. Its possible that it was the original location of the Grandview theater before moving to Grandview ave or it could be a totally unrelated theater.
Would you have any additional info on the Majestic theater that was located at 494 Seneca ave? I’m looking for the year that it opened and possibly the owners name. The Majestic was so similar to the Grandview that I’m curious if there was any connection.
Since the benches were placed in the parking lot to watch a movie outdoors, gives you the impression that this was strictly a neighborhood theater. In other words not many people drove there since they didn’t need the parking lot for cars. I have walked and driven past this building many times over the years and never paid much attention to it. Well, I do remember now that the building did look very much like the Majestic theater. I would like to find out if there was some sort of link between those two. Possibly the same owner and/or builder.
All this talk of the Grandview as an open air theater had me trying to visualize the Grandview as a larger version of the Ridgewood Folly. After doing some research and talking to someone that grew up a block away from the Grandview, I have a much better image in my mind of this theater. The Grandview was a regular movie theater with a roof. In fact, it was about the same size and had a similar appearance to the Majestic theater on Seneca ave. The so called “open air” Grandview was nothing more than some benches placed in the adjoining parking lot with the movie being projected on the side wall of the apartment building next door. See Bway’s photo of the funeral home for a better understanding of how this worked. The building adjacent to the Morton parking lot was the movie “screen”. The following is a portion of an article I read that might make all this more clear to you:
â€œIn winter, or if the weather was bad, we went to the movies, usually on a Saturday afternoon, at the Grandview Theater, which today is the Morton Funeral Home. For 25 cents one got to see a cartoon, a newsreel, a cliffhanger and two full features. On Saturday afternoons the theater was packed with kids, and very noisy but pretty well-behaved. The ushers were allowed to throw you out if you cross the line. There was also a wonderful outdoor theater, the forerunner of drive-ins, on what is now Mortonâ€™s parking lot. A double feature ran each evening after dusk during the warm months. The space was filled with wooden benches on gravel, and the screen was up against the apartment house on the far side of the lot. I used to envy the people who lived in the houses adjoining this area, who could look at movies for free every night, but as an adult I wonder how those people put up with the noise and disruption for months at a time. Maybe the theater had some arrangement with them".
The open air theater portion was nothing more than a gravel parking lot, while the Grandview building itself operated as a normal enclosed movie theater. The Grandview theater stood on the same site as the current funeral home and the “open-air” theater/parking lot was located on the same site as the current funeral home parking lot. I’m told that the Grandview theater closed around 1954-55 which is also when the Majestic theater closed.
Was there another Star theater (only one R in Star) in Brooklyn? I found a listing for a Star theater at 389 Jay St in Brooklyn.
Zak…..You wrote the BLOCK article “The Tragic Tale of Brooklyn Theaters”. Is there anyway that you can put a link here to the article or paste the article itself in a message if it isn’t too large.
One more item that I came across on the Starr theater. I found an obit on a man named Samuel M. Rubin aka The Popcorn Man. I’ll post a link to it at the end of this message if you want to read the entire article. The portion of the article that pertains to the Star theater is this:
“In 1961, while still at ABC, Rubin became an owner himself, buying his first movie theater. Over the years, he owned about 10 independent movie theaters in New York, including the Starr in Brooklyn, the Deluxe in Woodside and the Kimball Theater in Yonkers”.
I assume that he owned the Starr theater sometime after 1961 which means that it could have still been open at that time.
Do we know when the Starr theater opened? On another message board someone mentioned a Knickerbocker Casino theater I believe the address was 274 Knickerbocker ave which isn’t far from the Starr theater. Maybe the Starr theater couldn’t use Knickerbocker as a name because of the Knickerbocker Casino theater.