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In the photo section, Tinseltoes recently posted an ad for the movie “The Soul of Buddha”, staring Theda Bara. Since the picture was released in 1918, the year the Alhambra opened, this must have been one of the earlier films to be presented here.
By the way, both the ad and the Brooklyn Theatre index indicate a 2,200 capacity for the Alhambra. The Index also does not allude to any capacity decrease that subsequently occurred. For this reason, the 1,600 capacity noted at the top of the page is apparently wrong and needs to be corrected.
Recently, Tinseltoes posted an interesting ad for this theater which featured several Charlie Chaplin films, at least one of which also featured Mabel Normand. The ad also provided a sketch of the theater – the only record we have of it as a going cinematic concern. This must have appeared in the late 1910’s – early 1920’s period. Interestingly, the theater was described as the “New Wyckoff”. Given the renovations that Peter Koch noted occurred in 1918, I just wonder if the theater adopted that name – at least for a few years – in the wake of the renovation.
In any event, please check out the photo section to view this valuable addition to the record.
Recently, Ridgewood Ken posted a terrific ad telling us what the Parthenon was presenting during the week of June 7 1925 – or just shortly after the theater “moved” into Queens. Just go into the photo section and enjoy.
Ed and Ken, I totally agree with your comments. What happened here also occurred with several other sites where either the google map or recent photos of the site are featured on the main page and you have to enter the photo section to get the really valuable stuff. I hope the site manager will address this.
Thanks so much Ken for this terrific vintage photo.
The wonderful poster regarding the “Voice of Ireland” that TT posted in the Photo section raises an interesting question. The very detailed description of the theater’s location – at 12th St. opposite St. John’s Hospital – would, under the current street configuration, be a physical impossibility. This is because the hospital site, which is near Court Square, would now be close to the intersection of Jackson Ave, and approximately 25th St. Thus, when the poster was printed – and the “Voices of Ireland” sang – a very different street configuration held sway. My guess is that the sequence of the old numbered streets was superceeded when the Borough of Queens initiated its comprehensive plan to reorganize all of the streets in the borough. This drawn out process started in the 1910’s and ended in the 1930’s. For the most part, this involved changing nemed to numbered streets but, in this case, it apparently resulted in the re-numbering of numbered streets.
It would also be great to know the date of the poster.
Finally, it is unfortunate that this page’s current main picture is a current google map of the vicinity – and probably not the correct vicinity – and not one of the terrific vintage photos. To find them, you need to enter the photo section. I really hope this situation is addressed by the site administrator.
Ken, thanks for posting the picture of the current configuration. I guess the only thing that reminds one of the old Parthenon is the pointed roof that still – and barely – projects itself outward.
Still, this is an improvement over the dreary old bingo hall.
Mike, your fond memories got me to think of the time I overstayed my visit to the old Greenpoint RKO and had to be rudely picked up by my father at about 10:30 PM. I was about 10 at the time. The picture that captured my attention was Disney’s “The Swiss Family Robinson”.
While I was not officially grounded, it was quite a while before my parents let me visit a movie house alone.
A picture recently posted on the Eagle Theatre’s (in Bushwick) page features a sign saying “closed for the summer”. A commentator then plausibly speculated that the Eagle was closed because it lacked air conditioning. Whether this may have been true for the Eagle, the Winnie was also not air conditioned but, instead, stayed open during the summers with the help of two huge – and very loud – fans. They were positioned to the immediate left and right of the screen. While they probably did little more than circulate hot air and frequently drowned out the dialogue, they at least allowed the show to go on. At the prices charged by this “nabe' none of us complained.
I really hope someone will find sn old picture of the Winnie and post it here.
While I never recalled ceiling fans being used – though that would have made a good deal of sense – I definitely remember the two huge fans that were trotted out to cool us off at the Winthrop, in Greenpoint. They stood – and really stood – directly to the left and right of the screen. I think the same practice occurred at the old American – later the Chopin – Theatre.
I guess before we were spoiled by air conditioning, we put up with a lot of discomfort – especially at the prices charged by the old “nabes”.
Thanks again Ken for the vintage photo. And, while it did take a while for the second shoe to drop, it looks like the RIP designation can now be applied to the Eagle.
Finally, Chuck’s note about the “closed for Summer” sign is intriguing. Can anyone cite a similar situation where a non-airconditioned theater simply closed for the Summer? The non-airconditioned movie houses that I remember – like the Winthrop – just installed large fans when the temperatures rose. This sometimes made it difficult to follow all the dialogue, but it did allow the show to go on.
Thanks for this update. The Ponanaise was such a local landmark in its day and it will difficult to see life in Greenpoint without. But I guess goes on.
I just wanted to second Bway on the real beauty of the old photo. Was this, by any chance, taken as part of NYC’s project, in the late 1930’s, to take a picture of all of its buildings? Again, thanks to whomever for this great addition.
A local blog called Wyckoff Heights, which covers real estate transactions very thoroughly, is reporting that the old Alhambra will be converted into 24 units of housing. Given its location just off a recently restored Irving Square Park, this is not a surprising development. I hope alternate space will be identified for the day care center, though I doubt it.
While the 8/8/13 edition of the Times Newsweekly confirms that a reovation permit for the Ridgewood’s first floor and basement was submitted, it also indicates that the Landmarks Preservation Commission blocked implementation of this permit on 7/31/13 pending further review. So, keep tuned.
A few weeks ago I visited the area and found the church to be open, although no service was in progress. I decided to go in and was greeted by two attendants who invited me to view the old auditorium. It is in really good shape and clearly resembles its former use, with the altar area replacing the screen. In short, this represents a wonderful re-use of the old Rivoli.
According to a local blog called Wyckoff Heights, which covers these matters pretty closely, an internal renovation permit for the old theater was recently filed. So some “progress' here may soon occur. While the blog disclosed no details of the application, it is presumably on file at the Building Department and probably subject to inspection.
By the way, the emergence of a locally based group in support of the Ridgewood’s preservation is very good news indeed. Until recently, it seemwd as if the only persons supporting this were this bunch of non-resident movie enthusiasts who comment on this page. Locally based support provides a real boost to this effort.
I just read a message that Joe Vogel posted on the Vernon Theatre site last October that helps clarify the exact site of this theater. In an ad that memtions movies shown at both theaters, it provides a Court Square address for the Idle Hour. This is exactly where Ed Selero placed it in an earlier post and should, thus, resolve any uncertainty in this theater’s location.
Just paased by the site today. The new gym is now operational but they have pretty much wrecked the theater’s old front in the process of doing this. The Parthenon’s roof, however, is still untouched.
While the new set up is quite attractive – a big improvement to the depressing old bingo parlor – the fact that no attempt was made to restore the old facade is unfortunate. But this could have been a lot worse.
Well – we atill have the old pictures.
I know that Hamburg Ave. was changed to Wilson Ave. during WWI. My point was that the Index referred to the newer name before the change had occuured. In any event, thanks for responding to this post; it’s been a long time since anyone looked at it.
Let us just bask in the good news that occurred today and not, for once, be cynical. Hip, hip horay for the Kings and for the people of Brooklyn!
The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, which now operates out of this old movie house, hit a home run in performing the Battle Hymn of the Republic at Monday’s Inauguration ceremony. Kudos to the choir, the congregation and the people of Brooklyn!
Thanks for the great pictures of this long gone theater.
steveb, since El Cid, athough released in late 1961, was probably presented in an exclusive midtown run for a number of weeks and then reached only an independent theater like the Dyckman many weeks later, the 1962 movie calendar noted above makes sense. The delayed presentation at the Dyckman of “A Touch of Mink” also probably took place well after its initial release date. Thus, when the place burned down, the El Cid run had probably already occurred.
The steeple – and in all probability the church itself – have been demolished. Like the Novelty, they were probably replaced by apartment houses. In the wake of the opening of the Wlliamsburg Bridge in 1903, Willliamsburg’s population skyrocketed. This produced a critical need for additional housing units. To meet this need, many large apartment houses were constructed in this vicinity during the first three decades of the past century.
I will, however, further check out this item the next time I visit the area.
As was noted in a previous comment, the only thing remaining from the old movie house is the wall along Russel Street – and even that cannot be said for certain. Except for that, supermarket is an entirely new building.