Loew's Oriental Theatre

1832 86th Street,
Brooklyn, NY 11214

Unfavorite 27 people favorited this theater

Showing 126 - 150 of 246 comments

Theaterat
Theaterat on July 29, 2005 at 4:50 am

yankee mike… Lets not forget the Deluxe and the Tilyou theaters that were within walking distance from the West End subway.

YMike
YMike on July 29, 2005 at 4:33 am

Hard to believe that if you rode the West End subway line into the 1950’s you would pass 8 theatres. Normandie,Loews 46th,Loews Boro Park,Hollywood,Loews Oriental,Benson,Stillwell & The Loews Coney Island. All gone now but at least except for the Boro Park, all the theatre buildings still exist.
As for the Oriental its a shame it could not have been saved. Even after the theatre was twinned and tripled the orchestra section, stage,walls and cieling were still intact. Since the restrooms were on the mezz. level there were no changes there either. Even in its last days the only thing missing was a few seats in scattered rows of the orchestra.

CelluloidHero2
CelluloidHero2 on July 27, 2005 at 2:39 am

Lady Rigel – What street was that where they filmed the house scenes in Angie? Just wondering if I know the block. I grew up on 81st and 18th Avenue.

During the release of The Bellboy, Jerry Lewis did a promotional tour of Loew’s theaters where the film was playing. Got to see Jerry do about 15 minutes or so of bits before he got back on the bus for his next stop. Along with the Oriental I do know the tour included the Loew’s 46th Street. YOu can see Jerry’s home movies of this tour which are included as extras the DVD.

Theaterat
Theaterat on July 26, 2005 at 8:27 am

Yes. Its sad but true. ALL the great theaters in Brooklyn are now memories, With the recent demise of the Fortway, we are down to 9 theaters.Somehow, going to a multiplex like the Sheepshead or the awful Alpine just isn`t the same as going to a majestic theater like the Oriental, but thats showbiz.

rigelstar
rigelstar on July 26, 2005 at 7:33 am

Yes, I grew up about six blocks away from it as well. They shot the house scenes from Angie on my block.

I remebered thinking as a child what a glorious place it must have been in its prime. It had already been uncared for by the time I started seeing movies there regularly. I remember seeing movies there and my feet where sticking to the floor and random chairs where missing.

It is too bad the Oriental wasn’t appreciated as it should have been.

CelluloidHero2
CelluloidHero2 on July 26, 2005 at 7:11 am

lady Rigel
– The Oriental was a wonderful theater. I grew up in Bensonhurst and lived about six blocks away from it. Spent a lot of my teen years in the dark of that theater. The Loew’s Oriental can be seen in some scenes of the 1994 film “Angie” with Geena Davis and James Gandolfini.

rigelstar
rigelstar on July 26, 2005 at 6:51 am

From the plans from the Dept. of Finance, it looks like there where plans to demolish the balcony. Does anyone know whether the balcony is still there?

rigelstar
rigelstar on July 26, 2005 at 6:12 am

My goodness. I’m sitting here reading all these posts and I almost what to cry. Unfortunately, I’m probably younger than most of you but I still remember being a small child in the early 80s walking into the lobby. It seemed so grand. I practically grew up in that theater but moved out of the neighborhood in 1994. When I returned around 98-99, I was horrified to see what had happened. Marshall’s? Such disrespect. I remember hearing from relatives about the marque with Innocense Lost (something like that) but later found out that it was for a movie filming.

I believe the last movie I saw there was either Friday the 13th: Jason goes to hell or Jurassic Park. They were both playing in the orchestra. I wish I had known that there were still dressing rooms and a backstage. I had always (since I was a small child) wanted to be a performer. Many of my dreams where bred it that theater.

If I was to ever win the lottery (or become famous but right now I have more of a chance of winning the lottery) I want to buy the Oriental and restore and bring it back to a one screen movie palace. Of course, I will perform as well as anyone else who wants to.

We all still have the right to dream.

Theatrefan
Theatrefan on July 13, 2005 at 12:43 am

br91975, you can just google the word “ACRIS”. I find ACRIS much more informative about theatre properties than the NYC Department of Buildings BIS lookup system.

br91975
br91975 on July 13, 2005 at 12:36 am

How did you access the ACRIS system on the NYC Department of Finance website, Theatrefan? I couldn’t find it… (Maybe a lack of ginseng or something…)

Theatrefan
Theatrefan on July 12, 2005 at 11:58 pm

The Loew’s Oriental Theatre was sold by Hawthorne Amusement Corp.(Loews/Sony) to 1832 Realty LLC on May 3rd 1995. The lease for the Marshalls Store was signed on January 10th 1997.

Theatrefan
Theatrefan on July 11, 2005 at 9:26 pm

On the New York City Department of Finance website in the ACRIS system there is a copy of the original lease between 1832 Realty LLC (Oriental’s Lanlord) and TJX companies (Marshalls). In the lease are several architectural drawings that shows what the Marshall’s did to the former Oriental Theatre such as leveling out the lower theatre floor for retail. Based on some of these drawings it looks like the upper balcony portions (including the marble staircases) of the theatre are in fact intact but most of it is hidden behind false drop ceilings and new walls, the auditorium’s original ceiling is also hidden. Also based on some of these drawings it looks like the former stage area of the theatre where vaudeville once played has been gutted out unfortunately.

Theaterat
Theaterat on July 7, 2005 at 2:53 am

Shoshana… Mazel tov! The Oriental was a great theater. We are all a bit poorer due to its closing. As long as people remember this great theater, it will live forever in our memories.

Shoshana
Shoshana on July 6, 2005 at 6:39 pm

Until I was 6, we lived above my grandparent’s candy store on 15th Ave and 86th Street. We used to go to the Oriental all the time. It was a scary place for a little girl. My grandfather would keep the store open late as the people walking home from the theatre would stop in and get the night edition of the Mirror or the Daily News. In 1957,my parents bought a house in Sheepshead Bay. There were many fine theatres in that area – the Sheepshead, and a bit further north – the Avalon, Kingsway, Mayfair and the Elm on Ave M.
When I got older my husband and I used to go to the Oriental on Christmas Eve. It was a tradition for us. (We are Jewish and did not celebrate the holiday.) It was a great place to see a blockbuster movie such as the Godfather without waiting on a long line.
The last time we did that was on December 24, 1979. On December 24, 1980, our first daughter was born. Our Christmas Eve tradition ended.
A few years after that we moved to California. i will never forget the Oriental.

Theatrefan
Theatrefan on June 27, 2005 at 1:56 am

The February 13th 1995 Issue of New York Magazine rated the Sony Theatres Oriental “The Best in Brooklyn”, here is what they had to say about the screen (size, whiteness): “The landmark theatre has been hacked into three theatres, all with semi-grand screens; the largest is 37' x 17'”.

And here is the assesment about the seats (comfort, legroom, views): “Old and creaky, but you have an excellent chance of scoring some extra legroom in one of the upper cinemas (in what used to be the theatre’s balcony), and the raking is spendidly steep”.

Theaterat
Theaterat on June 19, 2005 at 4:05 am

Anni3May and LarrtC….The best thing anybody could have “taken” from the Oriental were the great memories of just being there and enjoying the movie experience as it was ment to be. Wether the film was good, bed, or indifferent, did not really matter. You were at a great theater and, for my money that was half the show!Like Marcus Loew once said" I don`t sell tickets to movies. I sell tickets to theaters".Bet those old Ghost towns were a terrific experience. Sounds like something from the Twilight Zone or Indiana Jones.

Costilow
Costilow on June 18, 2005 at 6:14 am

We can’t always use the tired blame by placing “stuff” on teenagers. Example; I’ve lived in Arizona for over 40 years. One of my hobbies when I arrived here was to seek out ghost towns. Arizona is loaded with them. I discovered many and some appeared to have been abandoned just days before I arrived which is actually not the case. I walked through the towns not disturbing anything. There were shelves with can goods and tables with dishes and silverware just as they were placed when the buidings were inhabited. I left everything undisturbed. I returned twenty years later and it appeared that the town never existed. All that was left were the foundations. All I can say is I was glad I got to see the town before the dumb adults pick it bare for their souveniers. My kudos to the unlucky homeless that had the sense and decency to live and let live. Theaterat tell you buddy I said thanks.

ANN13MAY
ANN13MAY on June 18, 2005 at 6:03 am

Stupid as teens may be there was NEVER ANY thought of vandalizing ANYTHING at the Oriental! A place like that certainly deserves respect, and if it wasn’t already inhabited I certainly would have gone in to admire it’s beauty!

Theaterat
Theaterat on June 18, 2005 at 5:05 am

Anni3May…. When my friend was living at the Oriental along with the other homeless people, there was a STRICT policy on who could enter. Most of these people were over 30 years of age, and the LAST thing they wanted was to see the theater vandalized. After all, if they were to be discovered, the charge of “breaking in” was bad enough and they really did not want charges of vandalism added to that. In retrospect, there was really nothing of value in there anyway and chances were probably good that no charges would be levied against them anyway.I did go in to visit my friend a few times. Even though his wife put him out, he did have a job and worked a regular schedule. Entry to the theater was afforded through the backstage area, wich was on Bay 19th.st. behind the theater and right before the first apartment house. It would have been to risky to use the entrance on Bay 20th.st, because of its close location to the private homes. As I stated in my entry, you had to be careful when you walked in the lobby because there was a good chance that someone outside on 86th. st would be able to see inside.When Marshalls opened, I got a look inside and the entire orchestra level{first floor} was completely gutted. There is a very good chance that the balcony may still be intact, but when I asked one of the managers- a very obnoxious Russian woman, she just blew me off by saying everything is gone,yet one of the salesgirls says the balcony AND the mezzanine is still there ans is an employee`s lounge!I tend to believe her. Anyway it is a damn shame that this theater was neglected and closed. At one time Bensonhurst had the Deluxe, the Walker, the Benson the Marboro, and the Oriental. Now all we have are memories.

ANN13MAY
ANN13MAY on June 18, 2005 at 4:24 am

Theaterrat I remember the homeless people at the Oriental in 1995/96. I had plans to stay there also but I was only 15 and stopped atempting to get in after seeing people in there through the front gate, whoever it was certainly showed themselves to stop a few stupid teens from trying to break in. Well I remember climbing up the old fire escape staircase on the outside of the building which probably had 3 screws left to hold it up, the whole thing shifted with your weight from side to side. On the opposite side, and I asume this is where you enetred the building? There was a burntdown/abandoned 3 family house next door this is where I stayed, from the 3rd floor window I caught sights of the back and side of the theater and looked for some entrance swearing I’d come back and get in someday. I really envy you, to see all the history in that building that was even hidden when it was open Amazing! I too was there to use the bathroom at Marshalls 5 years ago and although I can’t remember too much of the inside from when I was 11ish and saw Hocus Pocus there, it does seem as if some things are intact above the first floor, the walls, the staircase, probably just not worth the money to tear everything down. (Unlike the theater on 18th ave between 64th +63rd which must be completely gutted, I’ve been through the first floor stores and the second floor doctors office.)
Maybe one day someone will realize how completely obsured it is to be using such a beautiful landmark as a one floor department store and turn it back into a theater, even though it would be very different apperance wise the structure of the building, the floor plans basically would still be the same. Maybe hang some original pictures in the lobby WoW!

ANN13MAY
ANN13MAY on June 18, 2005 at 4:24 am

Theaterrat I remember the homeless people at the Oriental in 1995/96. I had plans to stay there also but I was only 15 and stopped atempting to get in after seeing people in there through the front gate, whoever it was certainly showed themselves to stop a few stupid teens from trying to break in. Well I remember climbing up the old fire escape staircase on the outside of the building which probably had 3 screws left to hold it up, the whole thing shifted with your weight from side to side. On the opposite side, and I asume this is where you enetred the building? There was a burntdown/abandoned 3 family house next door this is where I stayed, from the 3rd floor window I caught sights of the back and side of the theater and looked for some entrance swearing I’d come back and get in someday. I really envy you, to see all the history in that building that was even hidden when it was open Amazing! I too was there to use the bathroom at Marshalls 5 years ago and although I can’t remember too much of the inside from when I was 11ish and saw Hocus Pocus there, it does seem as if some things are intact above the first floor, the walls, the staircase, probably just not worth the money to tear everything down. (Unlike the theater on 18th ave between 64th +63rd which must be completely gutted, I’ve been through the first floor stores and the second floor doctors office.)
Maybe one day someone will realize how completely obsured it is to be using such a beautiful landmark as a one floor department store and turn it back into a theater, even though it would be very different apperance wise the structure of the building, the floor plans basically would still be the same. Maybe hang some original pictures in the lobby WoW!

racerx85
racerx85 on June 14, 2005 at 5:02 am

Theaterat
Believe it or not, I thought of you when I read that story of the Flying Phone. I’m sorry to say it, but the more he shows his face, the less respect I have for him. Eventhough I want to see Cinderella Man just for the performance, he’s really making it difficult for me to be in his corner so to speak

Theaterat
Theaterat on June 14, 2005 at 3:27 am

Tommy X (if you are still out there)…Russell Crowe is at it again! Saw him on Letterman a few days after the “cell phone” incident, and I hate to say it but he came accross as a jerk! Great actor- to be sure, but every other word he says is “ya know”! Also “Cinderella Man” is a fairly good movie even though most critics panned it.

Theaterat
Theaterat on May 19, 2005 at 6:12 am

Larry c…. Excellent!