Comments from johndereszewski

Showing 126 - 150 of 751 comments

johndereszewski commented about Williamsburg Cinemas on Jan 1, 2013 at 11:15 am

As one who grew up seeing the remaining theaters of Greenpoint and Williamsburg close until none remained, the opening of this multi-plex is wonderful news. The fact that it will be managed by the same family that runs the terrific Kew Gardens Cinema means that it should be a quality operation. North Brooklyn deserves no less. Good luck.

johndereszewski commented about Winthrop Theater on Jan 1, 2013 at 10:53 am

Well another year has passed as I now start my sixth season as a member of this site.

I am still hoping that someone will come up with a picture of this old movie house. Perhaps this will occur this year – and hopefully more people will add comments to this page – and the other pages of the old north Brooklyn movie theaters in 2013. I noted a sharp decline of such comments in 2012, but perhaps this will change.

johndereszewski commented about RKO Bushwick Theatre on Dec 30, 2012 at 11:14 am

Hello Lugos, while I cannot help you on this, since I was only one yeat old at the time, your comments raised a few questions that I hope you can address. First, given the fact that this was, at least in part, a “magic show”, was Lugosi actually some sort of a magician as well as an actor or was the “magic” aspect just part of the show? Also, were these 1951 performances made in conjunction with the release of one of his recent movies or were they free standing events – or did they accompany the showing of another movie in which Lugosi did not appear? I know that by 1951, live stage presentations at most movie houses were pretty much limited to celebrity appearances made to boost attendance for the celebrity’s most recently released film, which was being presented on the same date. Did the Lugosi appearances fall into this category or were they somewhat different?

And best of luck on your research.

johndereszewski commented about RKO Madison Theatre on Nov 12, 2012 at 11:01 am

The fact that the Ridgewood theaters were listed in the Brooklyn movie directory does not mean that they were in Brooklyn. This was a situation where the old Brooklyn zip code lines trumped the actual borderlines. With regard to the old Ridgewood, the movie clocks still did not get it right even after the zip code lines were changed to reflect the borough borders.

johndereszewski commented about RKO Madison Theatre on Nov 12, 2012 at 8:46 am

With all due respect jgraif, the Madison has always been situated in Queens. The current Brooklyn-Queens boundary has been situated since 1925, east of Gates Ave., on Wyckoff Ave. (Cypress Avenue ceases to be the boundary at Menahan Street.) Prior to that time, the boundary veered a little closer to the Madison but did not not place the theater in Brooklyn. It is the Parthenon that changed boroughs as a result of the border change. Also, while the old zip code arrangement, which did include portions of two zip codes in both boroughs, certainly was confusing, this changed in the early 1980’s when the zones were redrawn along the borough lines ……. On other matters, I would still love to hear your comments about the two saloons on Wyckoff Avenue. Talk soon.

johndereszewski commented about Idle Hour Theater on Oct 21, 2012 at 11:34 am

I just noticed the wonderful vintage picture of this old theater that was recently posted at the top of the page. What a terrific addition – and thanks to whoever made this contribution.

johndereszewski commented about RKO Madison Theatre on Oct 20, 2012 at 9:10 am

Hello jgraif and thanks for your fond memories about the old Madison …….. When I worked in the area during the 1970’s, there were two bars on Wyckoff between Gates and Palmetto – one at the Gates corner and one mid-block. Which was the one that your father and uncle operated? I guess by the early 90’s both had been converted into something else …… By the way, the old Parthenon, which served as a Bingo parlor after its bowling alley days had ended, is now being converted into a 24 hour health facility ….. Hope to hear from you soon.

johndereszewski commented about RKO Alden Theatre on Oct 7, 2012 at 4:37 pm

I think TT’s point that visitors to this site can easily overlook the picture sections and just go straight to the comment section is well taken and that it makes sense to remind us of this resourse. (I know that I was quite slow in appreciating the value of the photo section when CT was upgraded.) So let’s both encourage the posting of new pictures as well as good comments in going forward.

johndereszewski commented about Parthenon Theatre on Sep 23, 2012 at 10:01 am

I just briefly passed by the Parthenon – on the “M” train – about a week or so ago. The renovation work is proceeding and at least some of the old brick work on the front has been exposed. Hopefully, the new uses will be smart enough to make use of this resourse – and not just cover it over again. So let’s hope.

johndereszewski commented about Towne Theatre on Sep 23, 2012 at 9:55 am

Great picture TT. The whole streetscape is great, especially ths Nedicks, which was apparently situated right across the street from Brooklyn’s Borough Hall …… In looking at the great picture at the top of this page, you can date it to 1926 – or 1927 at the latest. The earlier date was the year when “Desert Valley” a silent oater about competing water rights and starring Buck Jones – one of my mother’s favorites – was released …….. Finally, Ed you are so right about the idiotic placement of the Towne on the street view. I guess when streets are radically altered, as was the case with Washington St.,the technology behind street view just cannot cope with the changes. (I have always wondered why the powers that be decided to rename the entire southern portion of Washington St. – named, after all, for one of our greatest Presidents – into the sterile Cadman Plaza East, especially since the location of the roadbed hardly changed. As it is, the only remaning portion of Washington St. is situated – at least until the development of Dumbo – in a desolate middle of nowhere.)

johndereszewski commented about Rainbow Theatre on Jun 22, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Thanks for your response, ollyoxen. Given the current R-6 zoning of the area, I believe that the condo conversion of this property could probably go forward “as of right”. This is why the successful submission of a building permit was probably all that the developer had to do in order to get a green light from the NYC Building Department. The only possible issue here could concern additional parking space requirements. But this has apparently not stopped this project from advancing.

Regarding the exterior, one would hope that the Graham Ave. entrance to the old Rainbow – what will probably also be the entrance to the new condo – will remain as is – and hopefully be returned to its former glory. While this makes great real estate marketing sense, you never know how these short term bottom liners will approach this issue. Hopefully, rationality – and long term good business sense – will prevail here.

johndereszewski commented about Rainbow Theatre on Jun 21, 2012 at 8:42 am

This is really awful news, especially since we had, for a while at least, some hope that sometime positve might occur here.

One question: ollyoxen, by “demolition, do you mean the actual razing of the building or the gut renovation of the interior? While both options are pretty terrible, at least the latter would keep the exterior in place.

Also, Matt, have you seen the plans for the development of this site and, if so, can you share them with us?

Talk soon.

johndereszewski commented about Graham Theater on Jun 3, 2012 at 7:12 am

Great catch TT, since the place was only known as the Capri very briefly.

johndereszewski commented about Wagner Theater on Jun 3, 2012 at 6:52 am

I think the 1930’s photos that Bway was referring to were taken in conjunction with the 1939-40 Worlds Fair. I am not aware of any set taken immediately after that.

johndereszewski commented about Wagner Theater on May 4, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Great shot, TT – and I am sure that a load of additional old pictures will soon be posted here as a result of NYC’s recent release of its very substantial archives.

This picture was probably taken in the late 70’s – early 80’s, when the Wagner has just closed its doors and had not yet been replaced with the medical facility that now stands in its place.

johndereszewski commented about Parthenon Theatre on Apr 28, 2012 at 11:02 am

Tapeshare, my guess is that the Parthenon was probably a new construction project that replaced the former buildings on this site. Certainly, the distinctive Greek arch could only have been constructed with the new theater’s name in mind. Still, situations did and do exist where the walls of the previous building are not demolished but are instead incorporated in the new design. So anything is poosible though, in this situation, rather deubtful. Bway and Peter, do you have anything to add on this subject? (And Peter, since the May 5 walking tour fell through, I’m sorry that I will not meet you at that time.)

johndereszewski commented about Parthenon Theatre on Apr 12, 2012 at 8:14 pm

As an update, I just wanted you to know that, at its most recent meeting, the NYC Board of Standards and Appeals unanimously voted to award the special permit that will enable the owners of the old Parthenon to operate a 24 hour a day gym on this site. The only pertinent condition placed upon the approval was that the owner must vigorously work to combat the graffiti problem that has long plagued this building. (This has been a REAL problem.) While the possible restoration of the old facade was not addressed, there is no reason why it should not be – and very good reasons why it should – as the project proceeds toward implementation. Hopefully the local community board,the press – and whoever else – will register their concerns and recommendations here. Stay tuned.

johndereszewski commented about Parthenon Theatre on Apr 8, 2012 at 10:53 am

Two othwer thoughts on this item just came to mind FIRST, the scheme of the proposed renovations confirms, at least to me, that the old movie house was situated on the second floor – where the gym will soon be located – and that people visiting the Parthenon had to ascend a staircase from the entrance to approach it. The ground floor probably housed dressing rooms when the Parthenon hosted live theater and other retail space ….. SECOND, the construction of the gym may provide an opportunity to remove the dropped ceiling that currently covers the bingo hall and uncover whatever remains of the old theater’s upper walls and ceiling – or not. In any event, this offers a potentially intriguing possibility.

johndereszewski commented about Parthenon Theatre on Apr 8, 2012 at 10:41 am

A few interesting developments – and possibilities – have recently emerged here ……. FIRST, the bingo hall and most of the retail stores on the ground floor, including the old newsstand that moved down the block, have been closed and scaffolding has been erected on the exterior …… SECOND, the reason for this stems from a proposal to establish a gym in the bingo hall area on the second floor and bring in a drug store and a telephone outlet on the ground floor. The gym requires a zoning variance, which is currently before the City’s Board of Standards and Appeals and that will almost certainly be granted …… THIRD, the renovation of the facade raises the possibility that the ugly outer layers that, over the years, have rudely disfigured the building could be stripped off and the Parthenon’s lovely original brick exterior restored to public view. I have raised the possibility of doing this with local Queens Community Board 5 and the Times Newsweekly newspaper. Hopefully, they will be responsive to this proposal ……. I hope to have more to share with you on this shortly.

johndereszewski commented about Tribune Theatre on Mar 26, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Flynn, thanks so much for adding that terrific picture. It really shows where the old Tribune Theatre fit in to what is now an open plaza. And seeing a small portion of the old BMT elevated City Hall terminal was very much a plus.

When I first discovered the City Hall Theatre page on this site, I was surprised to learn that one movie house could serve what, even at that time, was already a 9 to 5 community. I was realy shocked that TWO theaters, situated nearly within the shadow of each other, could exist – and apparently prosper -in this neighborhood. I wonder how the attendance patterns functioned here. Was it a habit for downtown workers to quit at five, have a drink and/or a quick meal and then take in a 6 or 7 o'clock showing – or did most patrons – perhaps including the Fulton Fish Market crowd – view the presentations earlier in the day? (I doubt that there was much of a crown for the late evening showings – but who knows?)

It would really be great to hear the thoughts and observations of those who actually saw movies in the City Hall area in that bygone time.

johndereszewski commented about Wilson Theatre on Mar 25, 2012 at 1:34 pm

The Brownstoner recently printed an interesting and comprehensive review of the site of this theater’s history. The article is linked below.

Hope you enjoy it – and hope the link works.

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johndereszewski commented about Cinema 3 on Mar 25, 2012 at 12:17 pm

I only caught a few movies in this very nice setting. The one I do remember was seeing “Prizzi’s Honor” here over the President’s Day weekend – a few weeks before it was robbed of the Best Picture Oscar by the dreadful “Out of Africa” ……. Contrary to a comment posted above, I do not remember any problems with the theater’s sight lines. It seemed to be a fine place to take in a flick.

johndereszewski commented about Ridgewood Theatre on Mar 23, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Thanks for your comments Peter – and great to hear from you …… My guess is that the grand supermarket proposal has gone up in smoke and that the current owner is trying to make something out of his investment …..Let’s see what will happen – and hope to see you are doing well!!

johndereszewski commented about Graham Theater on Mar 2, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Dear nacunis, I grew up in Greenpoint and only learned of Morell St. way after its demise, even after I got to know the srea when I attended Most Holy Trinity HS. It was actually named after the founder of the first successful development along the Williamsburg waterfront, at today’s Grand Street. It was called Yorkton. At the same time, another development, called Williamsburgh, opened a few blocks to the north, at around today’s Metropolitan Ave. It quickly went bust. But the Williamsburgh name stuck – and Yorkton soon went into oblivion. To make matters worse, even the name of Yorkton’s founder vanished, as part of Morell St. was first incoporated into Bushwick Ave. and the rest later swallowed by Bushwick-Hylan Houses.

I would love to see any pictures of the old Morell St., though I have none to share. You can send to my e-mail site at

Also, you might wish to share any thoughts about the old neighborhood on the Echo Theatre’s page in Cinema Treasures. This theater once existed at just about the point where Bushwick Ave. and Morell St. merged. I have attempted to link this page at the bottom of this message, but it might not work. If it does not, just search the theater page under “Echo” and it will come up. (The Echo is #8167 in the CT theater roster.)

Very glad to hear from you.

view the link

johndereszewski commented about Parthenon Theatre on Feb 5, 2012 at 11:02 am

Joe, thanks so much for digging into this item and finding the name of the architect. While you noted on the Carver Theatre’s page that Yarich had designed several theaters for Weingarten, this marks his initial entry in the CT roster. So, I guess there are more discoveries to come.