Loew's Oriental Theatre

1832 86th Street,
Brooklyn, NY 11214

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Showing 26 - 50 of 239 comments

ERD on April 20, 2009 at 12:26 pm

How sad it must be to see, like so many wonderful movie theatres. Many of us who are old enough are lucky to remember them. I have so many wonderful memories of attending the Oriental. When I moved out of Brooklyn, New York City had greatly changed and lost a lot of its charm to me.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on April 20, 2009 at 11:54 am

If all else fails you might try bribery. A high school kid would likely let you upstairs for $20, provided the manager isn’t around.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on April 20, 2009 at 11:52 am

It is my understanding that most of the interior remains. Whether or not you are able to access the second floor to look over the false ceiling is a crap shoot. It probably depends on who is working that day and what kind of a mood they are in.

Bway on April 20, 2009 at 7:28 am

I want to make a trip to see the inside of the Oriental by going to the Marshalls there, but before I waste my time going there, does anyone know if any of the former ornamentation of the theater is still exposed? Is it worth taking a look, or has it just been gutted and covererd up in the conversion?

Costilow on March 3, 2009 at 10:35 am

I also was a Bensonhurst citizen and went to the Oriental more times that I can remember. The Oriental name is not necessarily a slam ss just a term for the East as Occidental is a term for the West. Further, if any one wants to know some more trivia Boral is for Northern and Austal is for the South.

Vic Damone, who took his mothers maiden name is originally Vito Farinola. I’m 5 years younget that him but we grew up in the same neighborhood and went to the same High School, Lafayette, which, by the way, was where Larry King went at the same time I did.

Vic had a sister, Teresa, who I dated as a kid but it didn’t last long as she was taller than me and I still didn’t grow to my full height until the later years. I sort of remember Vic coming back and doing a performance but I didn’t realize it was at the Oriental. That would have been the one and only live show that I knew was there. The live shows were usually at the Senate and the Walker. And as far as I can remember they were all Italian Radio shows taken to the live theater. I took my grandmother to a few even though I did not understand any Italian with the exception of usual cus words. One of the radio shows I remember was “Pasquale COD”. I kind of figures it was the Italian version of either The Life of Riley, Amos and Andy or Fiber Mcgee and Molly. In any event the crowd roared and I even began to laugh along with them as the laughter was infectionous.
Those were the days my friends.

EcRocker on February 27, 2009 at 4:49 pm

LOL I doubt it very much. There are 10 other listings for Orientals listed. Four are demolished . 3 listed as open and the rest closed. There was even one located in Hong Kong. Demolished in 1981.

dave-bronx™ on February 27, 2009 at 3:41 pm

Maybe they closed it because at the time Loews was owned by Sony, who may have been offended by the politically incorrect name ‘Oriental’. And changing it to Loews Asian sounded too stupid.

EcRocker on February 27, 2009 at 3:03 pm

I am also a home bred Brooklyn boy and Seeing the Oriental back in 2004 which was the last time I was up there made me want to break down and cry before heading back to Maryland. So many of these fine palaces have been either converted to retail, demolished or in the case of the Lowes Kings, Shore an even Ridgewood sitting empty and decaying.

GrayFoxDown on February 27, 2009 at 2:01 pm

The Oriental used to present live shows and concerts in its earlier years. Usually to launch a new musical, the film’s stars would often appear and perform a selection of songs from the movie; this was especially true in the 1950s. For instance, Vic Damone (who was actually from Bensonhurst)appeared at the Oriental when his film KISMET opened there. The great Mario Lanza and Kathryn Grayson were there for THE TOAST OF NEW ORLEANS. However, being 54, this was before my time.

Like many of the people on this thread, I was born and raised in Bensonhurst. The Oriental was indeed a special place…I miss it.

PeterKoch on October 8, 2008 at 8:12 am

You’re welcome, JohnG409. Will do, and thanks again ! I hope you continue to enjoy Cinema Treasures !

CelluloidHero2 on October 7, 2008 at 6:04 pm

Thanks Peter K – I am posting photos I took, of different theaters every month, from around the country. Please check back.

PeterKoch on October 7, 2008 at 7:27 am

Thanks, JohnG409.

I see you also took photos of the Paris Theatre. I think I saw “The Exorcist” there on 2 April 1974. I also saw “King Lear” there in late February or early March 1972.

CelluloidHero2 on October 6, 2008 at 4:38 pm

Here’s a photo I took of the Oriental back in 1977.

View link

PeterKoch on August 11, 2008 at 2:14 pm

You’re welcome, Darthscooby, and welcome to Cinema Treasures !

bensonhurst26 on August 11, 2008 at 2:11 pm

I too grew up just a few blocks form the Oriental on Bay 16th Street. Whenever I saw that beautiful building it meant home for me. I lived in that area from 73-03. The Loew’s will always be a part of who I am. I’d love to see more pics of it from the 70s and or 80s or any old pics of 86th st. I really whole heartedly thank each and every one of you for your wonderful stories and memories. They made me feel so good to hear about times past. If anyone has any pics of the old neighborhood could you forward to ? I’d be so appreciative. I’ve been looking for a pic of “Leisure World” Toy store that was located on 18th ave just a few short blocks from the Lowe’s. Thanks so much again for the great reading. I wish you all much happiness and heath!

CelluloidHero2 on July 10, 2008 at 3:49 pm

Thanks Warren, for the photos of the Oriental. I grew up in Bensonshurst on 81st and 18th Ave so I was only a few blocks away. Many Saturday afternoons were spent there. Saw Jerry Lewis live there also i hte early 60’s

Costilow on July 10, 2008 at 1:24 pm

Warren: Thanks for the pictures. Someone, way back, said they had a DVD of the inside of the Oriental. He promised to send me a copy but I never heard back from him. I will blow up your still and show my kids. Again, thanks

Bway on July 10, 2008 at 11:00 am

Warren, thanks for all the photos you have added lately. Especially the color ones of may of the theaters in their last days as theaters.

As for the photos of the Oriental, its an absolute shame that all that beauty is now gone, and it’s used as a store.
Does anyone know what, if anything, remains visable in the Marshalls Store? I’d like to make a trip over to that store to see the inside, but if all that remains is similar to the butchering that was done to some theaters in store conversion, like the RKO Madison in Ridgewood, I don’t want to waste the trip.

Costilow on July 9, 2008 at 8:09 pm

Warren: I only made the comment because I’ve seen postings about you using other names and stirring up some heat on the site. Of course I’d like to see the images so that I can share them with the younger members of my family. My skin may be thicker than yours and so be it. I just like peace and if you feel the same then you’ll take whatever is said with a grain of salt.
Peace, LarryC.

William on July 9, 2008 at 10:29 am

Grow-up Warren.

PKoch on May 22, 2008 at 1:11 pm

Thanks for your post, LarryC. Good to have you on this theater’s page !

Costilow on May 22, 2008 at 12:55 pm

It’s been a while since I signed into this site. It appears that Warren is still making waves. He must have a boring life an uses Cinema Treasures for his excitement. I was born and bred in Bensonhurst. 79th Street and 18th Ave to be exact. Even though the Hollywood was my theater of choice because it was so close but I still favored the Oriental. It was like going to the city to the “big” theaters. I read that some cannot understand why developers do not re-create the past because of parking etc. When I was young we had an ingenious method of travel. We used our two good legs and hoofed it where ever we traveled. The parking was solved because we park our legs under the seats. Some times, when the person was too tall in front of us, we sat on our legs. For the more distant theaters we used the trolley, the bus or the el. No need for parking. Alert! Those means are still available it’s just laziness that prevents their use. Now for my sadness. I never had the means to take pictures of the interior of the Oriental. GerardC’s story brought tears to my eyes. I left Brooklyn in 1961 when I was 28. I often tell my kids, grand kids and great grand kids what the “old” Theaters looked like. If anyone has any pictures of the interior of the Oriental please contact me as I would love to share them with my family.

PKoch on May 19, 2008 at 7:44 am

Thanks for sharing your experience here, GerardC. Sorry to read about your car and your film. I had no idea Astoria was so bad in the early 1990’s.

GerardC on May 16, 2008 at 4:55 pm

Would like to share my one and only experience with this fine theatre. Back in the yearly/ mid 90’s I convinced my girlfriend at the time to take a ride with me down to Brooklyn to see a film here. I was never there before, but had passed it on the street and knew right away it was something special. So, armed with my trusty pocket 35mm and girl (who had no interest in theaters, but was cooperative) went to see a movie. When i entered i was instantly reminded of the RKO keiths. Even though it looked different inside you knew it was of the same era of opulance. (I remember being a “little” disapointed at the time because i was hoping this was an atmospheric theatre, like the Triboro or keiths.) Never the less I clicked away the whole 36 exposure roll of the auditorium, upstairs hallway and lobby. Very happy, I went home wanting to develope the film the next day, to show to my older brother who also loves old movie houses. Now, Iam sorry to say fans i will not be posting these pictures here because i never had them! The next day,(and you have to remember this was the early 90’s when coke/crack heads were still running around in my area-Astoria. The next day i go out to my car and the door is wide open, my radio is gone and so is the camera. No big loss-fairly cheap camera, cheap radio but the film inside!! I closed my door and looked down the side walk and there in the bright daylight was my fully exposed roll of film!! I told myself i would go back again but procrastinated and soon after learned the theatre closed.

PKoch on December 4, 2007 at 9:56 am

Indeed ! Yet, I prefer these old theatres becoming second-rate discount stores, to them being totally gone (like the Commodore near Bway and Marcy Avenue in Williamsburg, Bklyn). At least, if they’ve become stores, we can still walk around inside.