RKO Bushwick Theatre

1396 Broadway,
Brooklyn, NY 11221

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Showing 201 - 225 of 415 comments

PeterKoch on October 21, 2008 at 7:44 am

That’s a good, basic question, Louis Rugani, and I thank you for asking it. I would guess that all those windows opened into the inner lobby, with the possible exception of that circular “porthole” high up on the corner, which may have opened into the outer, upper balcony.

It would be great to have a photo of the inner lobby of the RKO Bushwick, when it still functioned as a theater.

LouisRugani on October 21, 2008 at 7:15 am

A great facade, one of my favorites. Where did all those windows open into?

PeterKoch on October 17, 2008 at 7:11 am

Cool, LM. Thanks.

PeterKoch on October 16, 2008 at 2:48 pm

Lost Memory, I just tried the link, and it works. It shows the Bushwick inhabited by the Pilgrim Baptist Church, which now occupies Loew’s Gates Theatre. Thank you.

johndereszewski on October 11, 2008 at 10:35 am

Thanks, Warren. I did not realize that McElfatrick designed the RKO Greenpoint, where I spent many afternoons in my youth.

johndereszewski on October 11, 2008 at 8:49 am

The correction appears on page 2 in tomorrow’s Real Estate section.

Since the main point of the piece concerned Lanb’s EXTERIOR designs, the error was pretty egregious and certainly extremely unfair to McElfatrick.

Warren, can you provide us with a few other examples of McElfatrick’s work?

Bway on October 8, 2008 at 8:50 am

The RKO Bushwick is mentioned in a wonderful article from the NY Times on Thomas Lamb:

View link

Panzer65 on July 22, 2008 at 1:58 pm

Nice photo Warren,
A truly beautiful theater inside and out.

PeterKoch on July 22, 2008 at 8:42 am

Thanks, Warren.

Bway on March 27, 2008 at 12:28 pm

Here’s a current view of the side of the Bushwick theater I took yesterday when walking by. The building had amazing detail:

Click here to see photo

PKoch on October 29, 2007 at 7:21 am

Thanks for your post, BrooklynJim. I’m glad you and your friends had a good time watching “The Believers”.

BrooklynJim on October 27, 2007 at 9:40 am

GMTA, cypress. I, too, got the movie “The Believers” based on Bway’s comments. Watched it with friends last night and pointed out some of the RKO Bushwick’s past greatness to them. Sad to see the results of neglect over time (late ‘60s – '87 or so), but glad to know the building itself has been restored and is used for offices.

As for the movie itself, lots of jolts from a fine director (the late John “Midnight Cowboy” Schlesinger) and quite a capable cast. We enjoyed it, despite being weirded out quite often!

Scholes188 on October 27, 2007 at 5:44 am

I am watching the movie, THE BELIEVERS, and just saw the scenes filmed outside the RKO Bushwick. I bought the DVD specially to see the theater.

PKoch on September 25, 2007 at 7:25 am

Thanks, kong1911. Glad you got out of the Palace O.K.

kong1911 on September 24, 2007 at 5:17 pm

I did see the Three Stooges in the 60s in the Kanema (spelling?) on Pitkin Ave. in East New York. I was also inside the Lowes Pitkin in the mid 70’s when it was a church. It was still beautiful. You could have put on live shows at any time. Even the pipe organ was still there. I also, about the same time took a walk through the Palace which was just a few blocks away and it was a bombed out mess due to fire and water damage. I got out when pieces of the ceiling came down near me.

PKoch on September 24, 2007 at 7:29 am

Thanks, Warren and kong1911.

kong1911, I’m glad you got out of what was left of the Bushwick, alive and unharmed, after your 1978 visit inside there.

I found it sad to read about the looters going in four days after the church had left the building.

kong1911 on September 21, 2007 at 6:24 pm

Sorry it takes me so long to read all the posts. Re: the post on Aug 23,24. The theatre was a church for awhile and 4 days after they left the building the looters started going in. The glass on the front door was smashed in. I happened to see that so I went in with a flashlight and saw they started in the lobby to rip the copper wiring out of the walls. I went in up to the stage area and it was really nice in there with the large overhanging mez. That was the one and only time I was on the inside and that was in 1978.

PKoch on September 21, 2007 at 2:56 pm

You’re welcome, Panzer65, and thank you for pointing that out about The Three Stooges.

Panzer65 on September 21, 2007 at 2:55 pm

Thank you for your reply concerning RKO Bushwick’s vaudeville act,The Three Stooges.
Your welcome, it’s interesting to note that the Three Stooges were part of the entertainment industry’s most versatile acts, acknowledging the fact that RKO Bushwick had many live appearances, it should be noted that Moe, Larry ,Curly, Shemp ,and Joe &Joe, did Vaudeville, Television and Movies. Not many acts of today can claim that.

PKoch on September 21, 2007 at 2:48 pm

Thank you for posting this, Panzer65. I tend to think of The Three Stooges as being on WPIX Channel 11 rather than WABC, but in 1959 they were also on Steve Allen’s Sunday night NBC variety show.

It just occurred to me that the RKO Bushwick is on Broadway, which many people regard as the Bushwick – Bed-Stuy border, just as the Ridgewood theater still is, and the RKO Madison was, near the Ridgewood-Bushwick, Queens-Brooklyn border.

Panzer65 on September 21, 2007 at 2:43 pm

According to previous posts, The Three Stooges appeared on the stage of this beautiful theater. After the war, the new invention television, which spelled the death knell for so many of New York’s classic movies houses, recruited The Stooges and their time proven comedy acts for one of WABC TV’s proposed weekly comedy shows. An early form of Tv production, kine scope, is the format of this rare peice of footage as a proto type of the proposed show.

PKoch on September 14, 2007 at 7:06 am

Good comments, Bobby Boinko and Bway !

Bway on September 13, 2007 at 4:19 pm

Bobby, the Bushwick Theater was gutted. All that remains it’s it’s shell. The interior was so bad, and so neglected after about 30 years of abandonment (and I am sure it was in need of help even before it closed), there wasn’t much of the inside that was salvagable, even if they wanted to. While I think they did a great job on preserving the exterior, and it’s great that it’s now being used, it would not have been bad at all (perhaps better) if it was gutted and made a Loews multiplex….as the exterior would probably also have been preserved, just as it is now….and inside it’s walls…would still be movies, even if not in the old theater.

Trikuro on September 13, 2007 at 3:53 pm

If Magic Johnson came in, wouldn’t he have just gutted it and made it a Loew’s theater instead of preserving it?