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Pete is correct re the zip: 11207. (In the Gotham’s heyday, it would’ve read “Brooklyn 7, N.Y.”)
Peter, ESPN didn’t misrepresent Bronx for Brooklyn at all. What made the miniseries outstanding, IMHO, was all the then-current city history through the ‘77 Yanks-Dodgers World Series: the yearlong Son of Sam rampage, Jimmy Breslin of the Daily News, Beame vs. the other Koch, the blackout and subsequent Bushwick looting, the love-hate triangle of George, Billy and Reggie, etc. I saw the concluding 4 episodes and look forward to the beginning.
Bway, I’ve saved that posted pic of the Bushwick’s interior. Every time I view it, I wish I could put in for flight pay. (And my molar is up there somewhere, courtesy of a bar of Bonomo’s Turkish Taffy…)
Bill Mangahas issues superb NYC transit calendars each year. Take Peter’s advice and click on that link.
As for the robbie dupree song I mentioned, I am forced to spell it thusly, as our Victorian computer system here has a no-no against this particular word, among others:
“Brooklyn G – i – r – l -s”
Great song , but a sad commentary on literary values on the ‘Net.
“Donde esta el banyo? Esta puerta, si?” – Jaime del Brooklyn
ESPN’s recent miniseries set in 1977, “The Bronx Is Burning,” used actual TV news and film footage to highlight the Bushwick Blackout and subsequent riots and looting. (Note: www.deepdiscountdvd.com will be offering it 9/25 for just $30.15. My copy’s already reserved.]
Bway, no problem. It was tough even for three of us to agree on a date to hit the Ridgewood. I’m looking forward to another trip by year’s end.
I enjoyed your RKO Madison/Liberty Dep’t Store write-ups. On the second floor, I saw that metal door you mentioned at the left. It was slightly ajar, but I didn’t wish to shake up the staff and have ‘em think I was using it as a restroom.
[bTW, you were right about the Myrtle El’s 3rd track. I mentioned that over on the RKO Madison’s page. When Peter opens up the floppy, I’m sure he’ll e-mail it to you. He’s also got a “Gojira” promo trailer DVD for you.]
PKoch, in a private e-mail you asked what was the last movie I saw at the Bushwick and why did I stop going. I decided to post my answer here because my reasons might touch on some common threads regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity.
I’m pretty certain that the last movie I’d seen there was a 1961 Hammer release starring Oliver Reed, “Curse of the Werewolf.”
As to why I stopped going, in random order:
1) Price of admission at the RKO Bushwick had gone up again, from 60 to 75 cents. Remember, we had had been spoiled by the 20-cent deals at the Peerless since ‘53, and when they raised prices in '61, two bits became the going rate. They closed soon afterward. The Bushwick was a far classier theater, no question, but it was getting expensive for us kids.
2) I wasn’t going to any theaters as often, as I felt the quality of movies was getting worse. Equally valid, I suppose, was my own changing tastes regarding the horror and sci-fi genres.
3) Travel involved the #15 Jamaica el, now the J train. Even though we high schoolers had the reduced transit passes, they couldn’t be used on weekends. It was easier to walk to other local theaters.
4) The Peerless (on Myrtle between Clinton and Waverly) and the Embassy (Fulton St. – ENY) were nabes where kids and teens knew each other. There was a comraderie not unlike some of the friendships and acquaintances here on CT. I never found that at all at the Bushwick. You wuz on yer own, Jack.
5) Dating age caused a shift in our movie-going habits from Saturday afternoons to Saturday evenings. It was not uncommon for us to take our dates to their own local theaters. I couldn’t imagine taking a date at night to the RKO Bushwick, located in a tough and hardened area, not if I ever wanted a second date with her!
Sat., 8/25 – PKoch, frankie, a theater that’s almost 91 years old – and my first visit since ‘77, a whacked out techno-spy flick (Was that our CIA?), the ghost of John Cameron Swayze (“takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin'”) after an over-the-top car chase, cheap seats in the nosebleed section, great A/C relief from NYC’s recent oppressive heat and humidity, decent chow at Las Montas and ending up talkin' like Scarface, buying new socks at Liberty’s RKO Madison, and lots of other good memories that were made that day. Thx, youse two guys for making it happen. Mebbe we can get a few more CTers over here by year’s end…
[That’s means you, LM & Bway. Ha!]
The Ridgewood Theatre was in far better shape than I had imagined, but the return to CA’s heat and humidity beats NY: 110 yesterday! (No Bay Ridge-style tornados, though…)
If robbie dupree is the same poster as the ‘80s rock/pop singer, I found my 45 copy of “Brooklyn s” complete with picture sleeve on my recent trip. Haven’t read him on CT in over a year. Tell him to resurface as his posts are long overdue.
BTW, I also recall Dr. Catapano’s shingle from the area.
While in Ridgewood recently for a “CT Convention of 3,” I decided to take a tour of the interior of the former RKO Madison, now Liberty Department Store. Despite its being a discounted (“slightly irregular”) place for folks on the low end of the socio-economic scale, I was surprised at how well the owners utilized the massive space within – and for both floors. The staircases were ancient, too worn to be anything other than the Madison’s original. I made sure to use the back exit stairs as well, but I failed to visualize where everything had been in the ‘60s, from the balcony to the restrooms to the concession stand.
And Bway, my apologies, bud: the Myrtle El DID have an express track from Wyckoff to the B'way-Myrtle split. I found a pic in my files that documented your earlier statement and put it on a floppy for PKoch. The track, complete with a layup dead-end just shy of the Seneca Ave. station, was built between 1915-16. (No info as to when it was removed.) Although the photo was undated, the 1904-built wooden gate cars looked scrubbed and well maintained. Am guessing the pic to have been taken anywhere between 1916 and 1920. The Knickerbocker Ave. station can be seen in the distance.
BTW, without the tower, the whole Wyckoff-Palmetto-Myrtle intersection looks totally different!
During my recent NY trip, I took a walk to the site of the former Gotham Theater as photo-linked by tapeshare. The intersection of Alabama Avenue and Fulton Street now boasts the Imperial Hotel, flanked on the west by Golden Krust, Nemo’s Seafood, and a Subway sandwich franchise. Across from these at Herkimer and Broadway is the new Paphos Diner. The old one on Fulton between Georgia and Alabama is long closed and shuttered, and the apartment above it remains unoccupied. There is nothing left of Gotham Lanes and Pool Hall but fenced-off yard space. The J train above clatters and squeals by every 10 minutes or so, and the newly-remodeled el station now has dual staircases, 65 steps to platform access.
Researchers seem to agree that the Gotham Theater disappeared from the East New York scene by 1934, and yet one can almost feel the ghost of Brooklyn-born Mae West still lurking somewhere out and about.
Theaterat, Mays also had a store at 169th St. & Jamaica Ave. through the early- to mid ‘70s, at least. (Gertz, between 163rd & NY Blvd., once featured a performance by folksingers Bud & Travis in their record department summer of '63.) The old shopping area, quite changed in these modern times, could boast several good theaters between Sutphin Blvd. & 165th St: Hillside, Merrick, RKO Alden and the Valencia. Any others I may have missed?
Only paid one visit to the Hillside back in August, 1964, for “A Hard Day’s Night.” Snagged a double-disc DVD of it this week, too.
My, my – all these RKO Madison movie stars…
In answer to why the depot was used as Boston, my guess is Spike Lee’s low WB budget. Don’t forget that to complete “X,” he had to obtain outright gifts from the likes of Oprah, Cosby & others.
Bway & Peter, I checked an old 1928 Ohman transit map which has both the Broadway-Myrtle and Wyckoff Ave. stations circled as express stops, lending some creedence to a limited third track back then. Central & Knickerbocker Aves. were the only stations on the line so designed like that. (A 1935 copy of the Brooklyn Redbook only lists Essex St. in NYC as the single express station on the Myrtle-Broadway-Chambers St. lines. One would think B'way-Myrtle should’ve gotten an equal boldface entry there, too, even if the express track had been torn up by then.)
My other transit material is in NY, so I’ll be searching out more next month. To be continued…
(The parentheses may have KO’d the blue highlight to that link.)
PKoch, in addition to the other copies, I’ll also have to dig out for you a 1940s shot (8x10) of a trolley under the el between Forest & Fresh Pond Rd.
Bway, am not sure the Myrtle El ever had an express track. None of my books, videos or DVDs allude to one. The tower may have been there for turnaround switching when Wyckoff Avenue was the original end-of-the-line. The Palmetto Avenue section over the trolley line was erected c. 1915. I’ll check further with some of my ancient maps.
The tower did obscure the marquee of the Madison. In a great video released by an outfit in MA (http://www.sundayriverproductions.com) – “New York Elevateds in the 1950s” – photographer Frank Pfuhler, Jr. captured some great Ridgewood scenes between ‘55-'57. The wall of the theater during active days read in bright, unfaded letters:
The video is pricey at $39.95, but decent used copies have surfaced on eBay for about ten – twelve bucks. Regardless, a free catalog can be obtained by calling SRP at 1-888-791-5179.
I bought the DVD of Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X” just to have the Myrtle-Wyckoff-Palmetto opening scenes (as Boston) preserved. Wish I’d been in Ridgewood to see that scene filmed…
Peter, I left you a message/question 6/12 over on the Whitney page. Didn’t want to add to any unnecessary clutter here. (Necessary clutter, of course, remains paramount.) Looks as if I’ll be in Ridgewood in August, but may be without CT/computer hookup initially. So planning a “Ridgewood Regulars Reunion” at the Ridgewood 5-plex might be a bit tough unless we start e-mailing. You should have mine, or you can get it from EdSolero or tapeshare Rick if you’ve misplaced it.
By recent, Peter, I meant within the year (summer ‘06) as reported in CT posts by Ed Solero, DaveBazooka & others. Sorry for the confusion. Besides, I kinda like the alliterative ring of “Hang Huang.”
Peter – as in PKoch – did you ever purchase the “New York Transit Memories” book? If not, I’ll xerox a few pages of Ridgewood pix for you when I visit this summer. One of them is on Fresh Pond Rd., right by the old Whitney.
Hafta echo PKoch’s initial comment: no recollection at all of a fountain in the RKO Madison’s lobby. (Not even sure they provided us with a drinking fountain.) Didn’t the RKO Keith’s in Flushing have one? [“HANG HUANG!” is still the battle cry over there for his recent desecrations.]
They began to reappear on my list just minutes ago…
Both width and speed.
Compare the tinny sounds of a ‘70s K-Tel LP crammed to the max with 20-24 songs against the rich tones of a 12-song Cadence or Columbia LP from the late '50s. And that’s 33 RPM. Better still, compare “Don’t Be Cruel”/“Hound Dog” by Elvis on a 1956 78 against its RCA Greatest Hits LP counterpart. Not even close…
I can’t recall what theater I saw “The Exorcist” at in ‘73, but its sound system reproduced the chest-thumping bassline of Mike Oldham’s title theme far better than any Virgin record, tape or CD to date.
Nope. Was referring to the LIRR freight line at Myrtle & Fresh Pond Rd. where the Glenwood used to be.
I could be wrong, but 1953 is generally the year attributed to the debut of the 7" 45 RPM record.
Our 1949 RCA floor console cost the family a whopping $400! The red light at its base, to indicate the set was on, burned out more often than any tube in the chassis during its 12-year lifetime.
Peter, you’ve got a 4-speed gem there. The slowest speed (16-2/3) was geared for radio transcription discs. The old radio shows on these fragile glass-based records can still be purchased, but they are expensive. 78 was the fastest speed for the shellac 10" records. Best bass reproduction ever available – and that includes the modern CD – but drop ‘em once and they were history. (Its only equal for bass was the subwoofer installed in many theaters.) The 33-1/3 long-play albums became available several years after WWII, and the 45 in '53. Cassettes and CDs made them all obsolete.
In the early days, each inventor did it his own way. Thomas Edison created a player than ran at 75 RPM. A friend inherited one and still has the yellowed instruction booklet that came with it!
I’d indicated in earlier posts that I did not remember the Glenwood as a theater, only as a bowling alley. (I was a casual, non-league bowler on Sundays when I shoulda been at church, but I did league bowling for many years at Woodhaven Lanes – close to Glendale’s new Atlas Park 8?) On my last trip to Ridgewood/Glendale, I couldn’t find any evidence of the lanes near the railroad trestle. Is it a U.S. Pony Express outlet now?