Loew's Metropolitan Theatre

392 Fulton Street,
Brooklyn, NY 11201

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Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on May 11, 2005 at 6:38 am

Below is a slightly edited version of this discussion that has been on the Brooklyn Paramount page:

*‘Loew’s Metropolitan’ was originally a department store. posted by Bruce1 on May 2, 2005 at 9:59pm

*I don’t think Loew’s Metropolitan was ever a department store.
posted by saps on May 3, 2005 at 7:40pm

*I have added details on the Loew’s Metropolitan page.
posted by KenRoe on May 4, 2005 at 6:36am

*I spent a lot of time with the architect hired by the last owners of the Loew’s Metropolitan as they prepared to correct the sight lines for the multiplex. While doing her research, she could not find the ‘original blueprints’ filed by Thomas Lamb. By the way, Lamb signed his name bigger than any signer of the Constitution.

She literally haunted the Municipal Archives till they discovered the blueprints under ‘revisions’. The Loew’s Met was originally built around 1914, but at that time it was positively a department store! posted by Bruce1 on May 4, 2005 at 9:02am

*Loew’s Metropolitan occupied the site of a department store, but it was not a conversion. The department store was totally demolished, and then the theatre was built on the underlying ground.
posted by Warren on May 4, 2005 at 9:34am

*That may be, but all the blueprints were missing when the search was made under ‘new’ construction and were later found under an earlier date, referencing the original construction.
posted by Bruce1 on May 11, 2005 at 8:24am

Bruce1 on May 11, 2005 at 5:37 am

Dear Lostmemory,
If you check the message board for the Loew’s Kings, you might want to join our efforts to Save The Kings. Obviously, you know how to check NYC real estate records as to lot and block number .. and with your co-operation, we could discover WHO is buying up all the property AROUND the Loew’s Kings.

My research has shown which property has been recently bought, but I need your help in finding who did the buying! Having this information will help our group in seeking the cooperation of a developer willing to restore the Loew’s Kings as the Kings County Center for the Performing Arts.
Bruce1 –

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 6, 2005 at 4:47 pm

No, the Fulton Street entrance is still used when the church has ‘busy’ services. Plus, with a capacity of over 3,500 I would think that the authorities would never allow for exits to be removed.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 6, 2005 at 4:01 pm

The main entrance was ALWAYS on Fulton Street for as long as the Met operated as a theatre. If you stood on Fulton Street facing the theatre, to its right was a large Woolworth’s, which looked like it might have been built (or modernized) in the 1950s. It’s possible that the addresses were modified to accommodate that building.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 6, 2005 at 7:51 am

The address used today as the main entrance to the church at 17 Smith Street is what I believe was originally an additional entrance/exit which originally served the rear orchestra level of the theatre. It is around the corner to the original main entrance on Fulton Street and retains its original decorations.

The main original entrance to the theatre at 392 Fulton Street (now I believe known as Fulton Mall)serves today as a supplementary entrance/exit. For some reason the original facade on this entrance was taken down and rebuilt to a simpler design and the marquee removed when the theatre was being transformed into the Tabernacle Church. If memory serves me right there is a low one storey retail building adjacent to this entrance which could be the current #392 you describe in the property report above.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 6, 2005 at 7:49 am

It’s possible that the church now uses a Smith Street address, but the main entrance to Loew’s Metropolitan was always on Fulton Street. At one time, it also had a second boxoffice and entrance at the corner of Smith & Livingston Streets.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 6, 2005 at 6:42 am

They did not convert a department store into a theatre. Most, if not all, of the department store was demolished, and the theatre was built on the underlying ground. It’s possible that part of the original building facing on Fulton Street was saved and used for stores. The entrance and lobby is in the center of the block and fairly narrow. But this and the auditorium housing were totally new. 15,000 tons of steel and 5 million bricks were used in its construction. You could not build a “modern,” fireproof theatre that seated more than 3,500 people and was fully equipped to play any type of stage attraction in an old store that dated back to the 19th century. For more on this, see an article in the September 15, 1918 issue of The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. At the time, Loew’s Metropolitan was claimed to be the largest purpose-built cinema in North America (USA and Canada).

jays on May 5, 2005 at 11:50 pm

wow! That was a great conversion who would ever thought in those days that you could convert an old department store an excisting structure into a movie palace.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 4, 2005 at 3:31 am

The Loew’s Metropolitan Theatre opened on 15th September 1918. It was not a ‘new build’, but a conversion by Thomas Lamb of the old Matthew’s Department Store that takes up virtually an entire city block. At the time of opening it was the largest theatre in Brooklyn (3,580 seats).

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 18, 2005 at 4:39 pm

The Duffield Theatre was on a side street in downtown Brooklyn, and is probably the one that hardbop is thinking of. It has its own listing here.

hardbop on April 18, 2005 at 2:07 pm

There is a huge Regal multiplex that opened in the area.

With all the office workers in the Metroplex office complex adjacent to the downtown Brooklyn pedestrian mall it is a shame that downtown Brooklyn has declined. Gage & Tollner, a classic NYC restaurant, couldn’t make a go of it and closed its doors not all that long ago.

I remember walking around downtown Brooklyn in the eighties and there was another theater that may or may not have even been open in downtown Brooklyn on one of the side streets over near the Albee Square Mall. It might have been a single-screen theatre. What was the name of that theatre?

br91975 on September 30, 2004 at 7:39 pm

The Metropolitan ended its days as a movie house just prior to Memorial Day weekend, 1996.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on July 27, 2004 at 6:46 am

You could easily find it in microfilm for The New York Times or Brooklyn Eagle of that date. The Met was always prominently featured in the ads for the Loew’s circuit. More than likely, the main feature was an MGM release, possibly “Cross of Lorraine” or “Thousands Cheer.”

skendi on July 26, 2004 at 3:15 pm

Does anyone know what movie played at the Loew’s Metropolitan theater in Brooklyn, N.Y. on December 1, 1943? It was my parent’s first date and they can’t remember what movie they saw.

Theatrefan on June 25, 2004 at 6:22 am

Here is some information on the seating capacity for each of the Metropolitan’s auditoriums. Theatre 1: 676 seats, Theatre 2: 698 seats, Theatre 3: 600 seats, Theatre 4: 599 seats.

HomegaMan on June 22, 2004 at 9:26 am

I remeber seeing such classics as “Ghostbusters”, “Purple Rain” and “Back to the Future” here before they closed down in the late 80’s. I remeber my Mom and my sisters waiting in line to see “Blazing Saddles” in 1975 and by the time we got to the window the tickets were sold out and we came home dissapointed. Alot of violence helped close down the theater.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 15, 2004 at 10:26 am

This theatre should really be listed as Loew’s Metropolitan. The Brooklyn Tabernacle is a church, not a theatre.

jays on March 15, 2004 at 8:55 am

the theatre was quadded in the late 70’s while still a loew’s house it only closed for a couple of months when Cineplex Odeon merged with Loew’s it then was remodeled and outfitted it’s marquee from Loew’s to Cineplex Odeon signage. I wathed the remodeling from my classroom window as they had the exit doors open during construction this occured in 1988. when the church that now operates the building took over they also gutted my school building which was around the corner, although long closed after I graduated in 1989 they incorparated it into the theatre building and is now the Jay street entrance of the building.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 28, 2004 at 1:52 pm

When first opened in 1917, Loew’s Metropolitan was the largest theatre built in the USA since the advent of movies. Architect Thomas Lamb tried out some of the ideas that he used two years later for the considerably larger Capitol Theatre in Manhattan. The Met presented vaudeville with the movies until 1935, when Loew’s discontinued it in all of its New York area theatres except the State on Broadway…Until the introduction of city-wide saturation openings in the mid-1960s, the Met was always the top Loew’s house in Brooklyn and showed the movies direct from their Broadway runs and ahead of all the other Loew’s in the borough. Unfortunately, because it had to compete for product in the downtown area against the Albee, Paramount, Fox, and Strand, the Met’s programs usually changed every two weeks, so it was not as profitable as it might have been. Attendance on a second week would drop by at least 50%, even with a “hit” movie.

MyrnaRFields on November 6, 2003 at 9:31 am

The old Metropolitan Theater, built in 1917 for vaudeville and designed by Thomas Lamb, has been restored to its former glory by The Brooklyn Tabernacle, a nondenominational church.
The church opened its doors for its first worship service in May, 2002 and currently holds three worship services every Sunday, in addition to its Tuesday night prayer service, to a maximum capacity crowd (approx. 4,000 seats). A new entrance to the theater is located at 17 Smith Street, just off Fulton Street. The Fulton Street entrance is still in use however, the marquis has been removed. The original facade of the building has been replaced. Extensive work has been performed on the sound and electrical systems to meet the demands of the large congregation and the 5 time Grammy award winning choir. Monitors have been installed throughout the auditorium for a more intimate worship experience. Contruction continues with the addition of another building which stands on Livingston Street.

AlAlvarez on June 23, 2002 at 6:02 am

This theatre dates back to early 1900’s as a Vaudeville house and has an extensive back stage area with dressing rooms and floors for talent agent offices. As a Loews house it was first outside Manhattan run for major films and included a stage show until the mid-fifties. In the late eighties it was taken over by Cineplex Odeon after being closed for a few years and split into four screens. Plaster walls in the lobby cover water features and mirrors that were NOT destroyed during the remodel. Cost of heating and cooling the extensive building and neighborhood violence lead to closing in the nineties when it failed to draw from nearby Brooklyn Heights.