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I was finally able to make a site visit yesterday. Based on what RebertR said on Aug. 17th, I was expecting to see a real mess, with the alteration project going full blast. But not much has changed. As far as I could tell – though I couldn’t see much – the lobby still seems intact. The sign directing patrons to see Vantage Point is still there. Probably the odding thing that I saw was on the old awning, which now advertises something called “Bushwick Twin” I have absolutely no idea what that means …… Walking around the block, I saw no telltale evidence of any ongoing renovation work. So, things still seem to be at a standstill here.
Thanks again site manager for adding the zip code. I was getting a little worried for a second or two, but I knew you would come through …. I think the only areas where you need to obtain more direct contact concern such things as adding or changig a picture at the intro or reconfigurating the google map.
Actually, I have found the Site Administrators to be quite responsive to the requests I had previously made in the comment section – particularly with regard to providing a street address, zip code or the name of the architect. I guess it just depends on how you ask them. So, along these lines, Site Administrator, please add the 11102 zip code.
A very interesting thread about a very historic theater …. I look forward to visiting this place when I have the opportunity … Newtown Avenue was, in its day, one of the most important roads in this vicinity, and the Square Theatre was certainly situated in what, at one time, had been the center of a newly developing commuity …. Thanks TOMBOCHI for re-starting this thread … if it had not been for your comment, I would not have known that this theater ever existed … I hope the Site Administrator will add the 11102 zip code to the title, since it would make this page far more accessible … Just a hint.
Well, Willburg145, you have a much better imagination than I do … By the way, some interesting comments regarding the Lindy were recently posted on the Graham Theatre page. They are worth a look.
I apologize for the fact that my past two comments were not broken into individual paragraphs. However, try as I might, the final product just came out as one big paragraph. Since this did not occur when I posted something from another computer, this might be a problem at my end. In any event, I am sorry if my posts are coming accross as a big jumble.
I was finally able to access the Building Dept’s site for this building and can report the following, which basically reinforces the comments noted above. While a new certificate of occupancy permit was filed in 1926 – the year the movie theater closed – unfortunately, the document is blank. Thus, we cannot identify the theater’s immediate replacement. In 1948, a new Certificate of Occupancy was filed for 150 Greenpoint to develop first floor stores and upper level factories on this site. This was probably the use that the catering hall replaced in 1961, when it was awarded a permit to open up. In 1940, a permit was granted to establish a restaurant at 146 Greenpoint – the building situated between the old theater and the Greenpoint Sports Club. This was ultimately incorporated within the current catering hall. Since no demolition permits are included in the record, it is possible that the former uses were incorporated within the catering hall’s superstructure. However, given the extensive renovations that occurred in 1961 – and that also happened in 1982, when the catering hall underwent a major upgrading – the chances of anything cinematic remaining at the current site are virtually non-existant.
Wow, this was a real surprise to me. While I always knew that Greenpoint’s other catering hall had once been a movie house – the Nassau – I never thought that the Polonaise Terrace site also had a cinematic past.Since the Polonaise was only established around 1960 – or nearly thirty-five years after the demise of the Crystal Palace – the chances of anything of the old theater remaining in the present structure is just about nonexistent. This is further underlined by the fact that the Polonaise, as noted in the Building Dept. web site, occupies the address range of 144-150 Greenpoint Ave. This strongly suggests that the old building was demolished along with its neighbors and then replaced by the catering hall. (I tried to gleam additional information on this point from the web site, but the pertinent pages were not currently available. I’ll try again.)In consulting the Brooklyn Theatre Index, which contains essentially the same scant information noted in the introduction, I noticed that several non-cinematic theaters were situated at 144 Greenpoint and that, after 1897, it hosted the Greenpoint Sporting Club. So, the Polonaise sits on ground that housed more than just the Crystal Palace. It really is incredible just how many movie theaters served Greenpoint during this time. The American – later the Chopin – Theatre was situated just around the corner and five more theaters – the Midway, the Green St. Arcade, the RKO Greenpoint, the Garden and the Meserole – could be found within a few short blocks of this site.
Thanks Ed for pointing this out. I am still learning the new system and havn’t bothered much with the tabs at the top.
If the Vernon were still extant, it would be situated in the up and coming Hunters Point community, which features new high-rise luxury housing along the East River and a thriving high-end commercial strip along Vernon Blvd. During the theater’s hayday, however, Hunters Point was only the name of the geographic point at which the East River meets the northern mouth of Newtown Creek. This gritty. mostly Italian, working class comunity was known simply as Long Island City. It was, in fact, the earliest part of this community to be developed.
During the Vernon’s life as a theater, it was situated near the Queens base of the Vernon Blvd. Bridge, which spanned Newtown Creek and connected Long Island City to Greenpoint’s main thoroughfare, Manhattan Avenue. It must have been a very busy place. And I can imaging more than a few Greenpointers crossing the bridge to catch a flick – possibly on dish night – at the Vernon and Long Island City residents going into Greenpoint to take in a movie at the Midway.
Ed, I entirely agree with your point about retaining, in some way, the original addresses of Queens based theaters like the Idle Hour. Beyond providing some historic integrity, the original addresses will be of value to researchers who wish to review old newspaper articles and theater digests that only refer to the old addresses.
The goggle map shows the north side of 50th Ave., while the old theater was situated on the south side. I tried to re-set it to include the old theater, but it will probably not hold. So, adjust the picture from north to south and you will see the old theater.
While I agree with TT was the Vernon was, in no way, situated in Sunnyside, I have not picked up the reference noting that it was.
It is interesting that nothing has happened here in light of the advertized plans to develop this site. Perhaps the deleveloper could not come up with the money to make the deal – or perhaps we will only now see the second shoe dropping. Who knows?
Great comments, but you might wish to place them under the Lindy’s page, which can use the added info.
This site is now occupied by a recently constructed apartment house. This, in turn, replaced whatever building occupied the site after the Gayety’s demolition.Except for its relatively brief use as a cinema during the 1910’s, the Gayety struggled on as a legitimate for most of its life. This probably worked to its fatal disadvantage during the 20’s and 30’s, when vaudevile “died' and there were all too many movie houses in the neighborhood.Finally, I found that I supplied the wrong zip code in the introduction. It should be 11206 – not 11211. (The address is situated very close to the boundary.) Sorry about this, and I hope this error will be corrected.
Great pick up Ken.
The Brooklyn Theatre Index also references the Cameraphone – what a great name! – as operating here during only 1908-9. A Brooklyn Eagle article noted that the theater presented “pictures and reproduced songs of Eva Tanquay as its feature”. It must have been great!
Loooking at the current building, you would never think that anything cinematic was ever situated here.
This is yet another reason why this is such a great site.
Astyanax, let’s just say that my tongue was very much in my cheek when I referred to the Lindy as a “palace”. It was actually little more than, as my friend Bway once put it, a regular building with a movie awning attached to it. In fact, if you look at the building that once housed the Lindy, which you can see on its CT page, you would never guess that it was once a theater.
Hello bernzie and welcome to Cinema Treasures!I did not know that the old Graham had “dish nights”. Growing up in Greenpoint during the 1950’s, I remember my mother, grandmother and aunt frequently attending dish nights at the old American Theatre, which became the Chopin before morphing into its current existence as a Starbucks coffee house. I may still be eating on plates initially given out at the American.I would really love to hear of your movie-going experience at the Graham. In addition, you probably also took in a number of films at the old Lindy – the modest movie palace that you alluded to that was situated on Graham about a block or two south of Moore St. And did you ever visit the really old Echo Theatre, which showed movies at the intersection of Bushwick Ave., Moore St. and Morell St. – right by the Bushwick Library branch? (Do you remember Morell St?) And, of course, you must remember the great Rainbow Theatre. (All of these theaters have pages on Cinema Treasures; so please visit them.)Finally, getting off topic for a second, as a resident of Graham and Moore, you must have patronized Katz Drugs during your time there. Michael Katz, who ran the place until he sold the business about ten years ago – he still owns the property – is one of my closest friends. If you have any memories of this place, please share them with me. So, thanks for the memories and hope to hear from you very soon.
In retrosprect. I regret placing my commets about this theater, which concerned the old American in Greenpoint and later the Chopin, on this page. I was a real rookie in placing comments and confused this site in posting this comment.
Sorry, and I look forward to hearing more comments about this “other” American.
I hope that many interesting comments regarding this site will now be posted on CT.
Thanks, site manager, for such a prompt response in posting the Novelty’s address and capacity.
While it is possible that some of the theater’s old bricks were used in constructing the Novelty Court apartment house – if in fact this ever did occur – it is clear that the latter is a totally different building. Thus, it probably makes the most sense to designate the old theater in the “Demolished” category.
The Brooklyn Theatre Index has much to say about this theater. In fact, the Novelty occupies about 13 pages of space – from page 151 through 163 in volume 1.First, the Novelty’s address is given as 780 Driggs Avenue and its capacity during its latter days was approximated at about 1,000. So, the site manager should add these stats to the site description. Originately established as the Odeon Hall in 1852, this theater went through over 20 name and management changes – including six designating it as the “Novelty” – before finally giving up the ghost in 1916. For the most part, this was a legitimate stage and musical hall operation that, during the cusp of the new century, became a “Hebrew Theatre”. At the end of its run, it was described – in a 1916 Brooklyn Eagle article – as being “an ordinary movie house” that “had fallen under hard times”. (This establishes this theater’s scant cinematic history.) During 1916, the Novelty was sold to a developer who constructed a 50 unit apartment house – the current “Novelty Court” – on this site.The Brooklyn Eagle article noting this sale goes on to state that the developer “expects to use the bricks of which the theater is built for the interior walls and the rear walls of the new apartment house”. So, more of the old Novelty – in addition to the name – may still exist to this date.
The Brooklyn Theatre Index does provide some documentation for this theater. Specifically, it indicates operating years of – from March 11, 1916 to 1929. Thus, this was one of those many silent movie houses that did not convert to sound.The Index also notes that an architect named James A. Boyle performed alterations to this building in 1916 – the year of the Park view’s opening. This at least suggests that the building pre-dated its cinematic career and initially was constructed for a different use.
In reviewing my last message, I noted a mistake. Specifically, I wished to reference the RIDGEWOOD – not the Bushwick – as a theater whose facade did not architectually match the Bushwick’s. Sorry.
While it is appropriate – at least for those who enjoyed viewing movies here – to mourn the passing of this theater, it is worth pointing out that the opening of Kings Plaza in 1970 had the unforseen consequence of really gutting the once vibrant Flatbush/Church Avenues shopping district. The greatest cinematic victim of this development was, of course, the Loews King.
So the random fates of life go forward: The Kings Plaza Theaters are now history while the Loews King is undergoing a well deserved restoration.
Ed, you caught the current location of this old theater just about right. Thanks.
Unfortunately, when I returned from my vacation, I found a response to my “landmark the RKO Bushwick” request in my mailbox. Specifically, the Landmarks Commission noted that, since the building is “too significantly altered to meet the criteria for designation” it will not be recommended for designation.
Given the Commission’s interest in designating other – and frankly less imposing – facades such as the Bushwick and the Shore, I was more than a bit perplexed by this decision.
If anyone wishes to take up the torch on this issue, I would certainly welcome your interest.