RKO Bushwick Theatre

1396 Broadway,
Brooklyn, NY 11221

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Showing 26 - 50 of 415 comments

PeterKoch on June 29, 2010 at 11:44 am

Thanks for letting us know, Bway !

Bway on June 29, 2010 at 11:20 am

That porthole has been covered over since it was renovated. Looking at photos from the theater in the 60’s and 70’s, the porthole window was damaged back in the theater days already.

PeterKoch on June 28, 2010 at 7:23 am

I walked by the RKO Bushwick yesterday afternoon (Sunday June 27 2010) at about 4:30 PM after attending Kevin Walsh’s Forgotten NY walking tour of Bushwick. There was scaffolding on the ground floor on the Bway side, and the big round porthole on the rounded corner near the roof appeared damaged, filled in, or covered over.

TLSLOEWS on June 25, 2010 at 8:47 pm

Very interesting.

PeterKoch on June 14, 2010 at 1:19 pm

My pleasure, AlbanyGregg. You’re most welcome.

gd14lawn on June 14, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Thanks for your help!!

PeterKoch on June 14, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Welcome, AlbanyGregg. There were the Loews Gates Theatre, at Gates Avenue and Bway, and the Monroe Theater across Howard Avenue from the RKO Bushwick, at 4 Howard Avenue. Around the corner was the Century / Shubert Theatre on Monroe Street. There was the Loews Casino DeKalb at Bway and DeKalb. And there was the Colonial Theatre at Bway and Moffat St.

I think all these theatres have pages on Cinema Treasures.

gd14lawn on June 14, 2010 at 12:06 pm

I used to pass by this theater on the J train on my way to work. It looked like there were 2 or 3 other theaters in the same area. Can anyone tell me what they were? Thanks.

PeterKoch on June 14, 2010 at 7:52 am

Thanks, Tinseltoes. I may go.

PeterKoch on May 20, 2010 at 7:33 am

Thanks, Jayar1. Welcome to Cinema Treasures.

Jayar1 on May 19, 2010 at 6:14 pm

Peter I found a photo of the Brooklyn Hospital and took a screen shot of the building as it is now.

Bushwick Hospital, Putnam & Howard Avenues
View link
View link

PeterKoch on May 17, 2010 at 8:13 am

Thanks, Jayar1. My father was born nearby in Bushwick Hospital at Putnam and Howard Avenues, then went to live at 1044 Putnam Avenue, a few doors away.

Jayar1 on May 16, 2010 at 9:23 pm

Peter here is a old map of the area…

View link

Bway on May 15, 2010 at 7:11 pm

Great photos, thanks. I have never seen the Brooklyn Library image showing a side view of the two layers of Juliet Balconies.

PeterKoch on May 14, 2010 at 7:16 am

Thanks, Jayar1. For some as yet unknown reason, I could not get through the first three links. The images I could get to, I have seen already elsewhere, but thanks for re-posting them.

In the plan views (orchestra and balcony) Broadway is the diagonal on the upper left, Howard Avenue is horizontal and on the bottom, and Madison Street is vertical on the right side.

PeterKoch on May 10, 2010 at 7:20 am

Thanks, Jayar1 and John D. That’s an interesting pose struck by Mae West in that movie ad.

johndereszewski on May 8, 2010 at 7:22 am

I also found this great ad for a Mae West movie among the photos that Jayar just posted. There is a lot of great stuff here.

View link

johndereszewski on February 18, 2010 at 11:31 am

Peter, I don’t think the date of the picture is necessarily wrong. Not much time lapsed between July 1977 and March 1978 – and such actions as the movement of a large congregation to another location usually do not occur immediately. Perhaps the management of the Gates did not, at first, believe that the closure was permanent and possibly planned for a timely reopening. Or maybe they first offered the property to several other movie theater management companies – a move that would have caused the least disruption. At the church’s end, perhaps their lease with the owners of the Bushwick would not end until sometime in 1978, and they did not want to risk the penalties of breaking it.

Beyond all this, the negotiation involved in leasing – or perhaps even purchasing – the old Gates would have absorbed more than a nominal amount of time. This was a big deal for all concerned parties – and big deals take time.

Thus, the fact that the Pilgrim Church was still operating out of the old RKO Bushwick in March 1978 is not at all surprising.

PeterKoch on February 18, 2010 at 8:02 am

Thanks, Chris, good thoughts. But if the Pilgrim Baptist Church was only “briefly” in the Bushwick, then perhaps the date of March 1978 on the photo is wrong, or else the words Pilgrim Baptist Church and its pastor’s name stayed on the marquee for nine years, because the RKO Bushwick stopped showing movies in 1969.

I find it interesting that, after the Pilgrim Baptist Church moved out of the RKO Bushwick, it began its decay and descent into shambles, the low spiritual point being the human sacrifice of the cult of Santeria shown in the 1987 film “The Believers”.

Bway on February 18, 2010 at 7:46 am

I have seen that photo before, it is definitely one of the last photos taken before the Bushwick began it’s treck into shambles. The Pilgrim Church moved into the Bushwick Theater shortly after it closed to movies. But it was very brief as them moved out for some reason as soon as the Loews Gates became available. It’s possible that they got a better “deal” on the Gates, perhaps even easy ownership, whereas they may have just been a tenant at the Bushwick. But that is just speculation. But there had to be a good reason that they moved out of the Bushwick and into the Gates instead, and it had to do with the “deal” they were getting. Obviously the Gates was the better deal for their church.
Anyway, that event did set the fate of the Bushwick, as nothing ever occupied it after the Pilgrim Church. And while the Loews Gates is supposedly beautifully restored, the interior of the Bushwick fell into shambles, and as we know, is now gutted. and reused a s the school.
Interestingly, if they got a good deal on the Bushwick, the Bushwick may be the theater that is beautifully restored, and the Loews Gates may be the one that fell into shambles….
A tale of two theaters…

johndereszewski on February 17, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Not sure. But since the Gates closed in 1977, my guess is that the church left the Bushwick and moved into its new home pretty soon thereafter. So, this may have been one of the last pictures of the Bushwick to be shot before its long-term abandonment.