Majestic Theater

494 Seneca Avenue,
Ridgewood, NY 11385

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Showing 26 - 50 of 61 comments

boygeniusandme
boygeniusandme on December 3, 2004 at 3:23 pm

The factory building next to the majestic is now a laundromat.

Carlo
Carlo on October 21, 2004 at 7:57 pm

the majestic opened in 1923, the grandview in 1924, the oasis in 1927 the same year as the madison theatre

Bway
Bway on October 11, 2004 at 6:01 pm

I also posted a current photo of the Oasis site in it’s section:
/theaters/4624/

Unlike the Whitney which was demolished in the 20’s, the Oasis building still partly survives. The lobby, the entire right side of the building, and the stores connected to the theater on the Fresh Pond Road frontage was torn down in the mid 1990’s. However, the main auditorium still remains, and new exterior walls put on it from where the other parts were ripped off. It is currently a CVS.
The stores that faced Fresh Pond Rd were in the same Egyptian design on their one storry fasades as the main part of the theater. Unfortunately, all of that is now gone.

Bway
Bway on October 11, 2004 at 5:42 pm

The Whitney and the Oasis are not the same theater. The Oasis opened as the Oasis in the early 1920’s and was located on Fresh Pond Rd, near Greene Ave or Menahan St, not near the subway tracks.
The Whitney was located right next to the subway tracks, and there are photos of it from the 1910’s showing the theater next to the tracks. The Oasis and the Whitney are seperate theaters, both on Fresh Pond Rd, but quite a few blocks apart.

Orlando
Orlando on October 11, 2004 at 5:29 pm

According to my records, the Majestic closed in 1953 maybe ‘54 and opening in the early 1920-24 period. The Grandview 1929-1954. The Evergreen opened in 1920 and closed in 1928 (only a silent film house). The Whitney opened in 1920 and closed in 1927 and then became the Oasis in 1927. The Whitney and Oasis are one in the same.
I was in the area yesterday. P.S. See the STARR theatre on this site.

Bway
Bway on October 1, 2004 at 10:09 pm

Yes, that’s that discrepancy which occurs with a lot of the buildings in Ridgewood. (Remember this came up with the EVergreen Theater’s neighboring buildings too). That 1931 date seems to come up for a lot of buildings incorrectly. It is highly unlikely much got built in the 1930’s in Ridgewood, as that was the beginning of the Depression. No one was investing anything back then in that decade.

Bway
Bway on September 22, 2004 at 10:12 pm

Here’s a current view of the Majestic Theater taken today.

Click here for link

The is theater is now Seneca Chapels.

DonNovack
DonNovack on September 22, 2004 at 2:19 am

This was not as bad as people make it out to be I didnt mind going here at all

JohnFranz
JohnFranz on September 19, 2004 at 7:08 pm

This theatre was owned by a gentleman named gitenstein who fell upon hard times in the 50s.

RichieColeman
RichieColeman on September 15, 2004 at 3:17 pm

I remember the Majestic from the early 50’s I lived at 1726 Harmon Street in the early 50’s before my family moved to Fairview Avenue. I saw a few flicks there mostly westerns. Us kids would play stickball on Green Avenue right next to this movie house. I remember a small barn on Harmon Street near Seneca Avenue where the old train tracks ran past the back of the buildings and a man kept ponies in there. Geez it really brings back some good memories.

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on September 13, 2004 at 5:57 pm

And inquiring minds WILL know, so long as they keep inquiring !

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on September 13, 2004 at 3:06 pm

Thanks, lostmemory, for the interesting details. But I thought Ridgewood was first known as East Williamsburgh, and that Elmhurst was first known as Newtown. The Grand Avenue stop on the local Queens Blvd. subway is still sub-titled “Newtown”.

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on September 10, 2004 at 7:02 pm

Is it possible to contact the firm (or its descendent, if it has one ?) that designed and built both theaters, to ask them this question ?

SallyGenova
SallyGenova on September 10, 2004 at 2:42 pm

The Majestic opened one year after the Wyckoff theatre and were constructed by the same firm

RidgewoodBill
RidgewoodBill on September 6, 2004 at 2:34 am

The B38 bus followed in the footsteps of the trolley that preceeded it. The route was identical for both trolley and bus.

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on August 23, 2004 at 10:08 pm

Yes, lostmemory I remember that there were two B-38 buses, one continuing on Seneca and the other turning northeast to Grandview.
I remember riding another B-38 from downtown Bklyn to Ridgewood in mid-April 1976 and the ride ending at Broadway and DeKalb Avenue in Bushwick. I had a little walk home to Ridgewood from there also.

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on August 20, 2004 at 9:11 pm

lostmemory, probably Ft. Greene Place. You would know better than me.

I think DeKalb changes from one to two way at Bushwick Avenue, based on your and my experience of the B-38 bus, and because it jogs slightly at Bushwick Avenue.

Incidentally, there’s another great old theater near there, at DeKalb Avenue and Broadway, the Casino, formerly the DeKalb, at 1153-55 DeKalb Avenue, for which there is a page on this site.

Yes, times have certainly changed, and not for the better, regarding children going alone to movie theaters.

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on August 20, 2004 at 5:43 pm

lostmemory, I know what you mean. Ridgewood literally often slips through the “crack” between Brooklyn and Queens in terms of being covered in books, and is often not mentioned in books about either borough. Shame.

BTW, last night I was browsing through “Confessions Of A Brooklyn Trolley Dodger” by Stan Fischler on the way home, and it had a chapter on the DeKalb Line, and a photo of the DeKalb trolley at Brooklyn Tech, at DeKalb Avenue and Greene Place.

Warren, as undesirable as a crotchful of lice may be, it’s still not as bad as a stunt recently pulled by some sicko in some theaters, putting HIV-bearing needles on theater seats, with notes saying :

“Congratulations. You are now HIV positive.”

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on August 20, 2004 at 4:14 pm

Thanks, lostmemory. Much of the brick housing in Ridgewood was built near the end of World War I, 1918, so those tracks, which must have been sidings, or, as you prefer, job sites, off the LIRR Bushwick Branch, were at least a few years older. I will leave the finding of the exact date to more knowledgable railroad buffs than myself.

It would be easier if there were a book about this titled, “The Building Of Ridgewood”, or something similar.

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on August 19, 2004 at 7:43 pm

lostmemory, you’re welcome to the links about P.S. 81.

I’ll pass on Roswell, too. I am not a paranoiac Roswell conspiracy theorist-fanatic. I’m not waiting for my savior to step out of a U.F.O. I’ll stick with Ridgewood.

Bway
Bway on August 19, 2004 at 6:07 pm

Great comments! Apparently, the buildings fate didn’t change too much as people continued to go to “The Magestic” feeling depressed as it became a funeral parlor….
Obviously, the theater did last into the 50’s as a movie theater.

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on August 19, 2004 at 6:01 pm

lostmemory, there’s several recent articles about PS 81 in the “Our Neighborhood” column of the Times Newsweekly that you may want to check out at :

http://timesnewsweekly.com/

Just click on “Archives”.

Your assumption about the brown boxcar being dismantled and trucked away is probbaly correct, but as the starship Enterprise has been known to travel back in time to the 20th century, as in the episode “Tomorrow Is Yesterday” of the original series, Scotty may have beamed it somewhere after all. Or maybe it’s in that Air Force hangar in Roswell, New Mexico ….. for more info, see “The X Files”.

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on August 19, 2004 at 5:51 pm

OK, Bway, will do.

Here’s a link to an old image of Seneca Avenue five blocks southeast of the former Majestic Theater, facing southeast to the Seneca Avenue el station of the BMT Myrtle Avenue el station over Palmetto Street. The “DeKalb” trolley car is the predecessor of the current B-38 bus, and must have gone over the Brooklyn Bridge to “Park Row” in downtown Manhattan, as well. Note the cobblestone paving of Seneca Avenue :

http://www.nycsubway.org/perl/show?30992

The Wyckoff Theater stood at 247 Wyckoff Avenue, eastern corner of Wyckoff Avenue and Bleecker Street. It was before my time, so my earliest memory of it is as a Jehovah’s Witnesses Hall, about 1960 or 1961. My oldest aunt went there with her mother to see “Seven Brides For Seven Brothers” for an adult admission of ten cents. It was not air conditioned at first, but my oldest aunt recalls going there as a kid in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s for a nickel, and having a “grand old time” there, seeing double features with cartoons, newsreels and short subjects.

I thought the Colonial in Bushwick had its own page here, until I tried to go there and didn’t find any !

Bway
Bway on August 19, 2004 at 5:37 pm

Please add pages for those theaters too, you know a bit more about them than I do, so your descrpition obviously would be much better.
DO you know anything about The Wyckoff, I don’t think that one is listed either.
I didn’t even know the Colonial didn’t have a section yet!

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on August 19, 2004 at 5:04 pm

Glad you’re on the case, Bway !

BTW, I just submitted a page to this site for the Colonial Theater at 1746 Bway (at Rockaway Avenue, and Chauncey St. in Bushwick). I hope your recent photo of it, as the Wayside Baptist Church, and information on it, supplied by Warren, on the RKO Bushwick and other pages on this site, eventually finds its way onto the new Colonial Theater page.

Perhaps I should also submit pages for the Decatur, Empire, and Monroe Theaters, while I’m at it.