Loew's Oriental Theatre

1832 86th Street,
Brooklyn, NY 11214

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Showing 201 - 225 of 227 comments

theatrefan on June 24, 2004 at 10:59 am

In Saturday Night Fever, Tony (John Travolta) runs under the marquee of the Benson Twin Theatre, not the Oriental. You can see the Chase Bank and the 20th Avenue subway entrance clearly in the backround.

HomegaMan on June 22, 2004 at 9:31 am

Alot of you guys failed to mention that John Travolta as Tony Manero in “Saturday Night Fever” (the quintisential Brooklyn film) is walking down 86th street after he buys his pizza and the Oriental is in the background showing “Rocky” and “Network”. This is a great scene in a great film and great theater. the last film I saw there was “Mr. Mom” in 1984.

PeterKoch on May 17, 2004 at 11:41 am

Thank you, ErwinM, for your diligent work ! It’s indeed a pleasure working with you on this site !

EMarkisch on May 17, 2004 at 11:35 am

Referring to Peter K’s May 12th posting of the el train photo containing part of the marquee for Loew’s Oriental, I think I have deciphered the titles of what was playing that day. The first two lines read “RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK” and the bottom title, of which only one word is visible, should be “ZORRO, THE GAY BLADE”. This time the date of the photo (August 2, 1981) appears to be correct, which was not the case when I figured out the Loew’s Hillside marquee. That one was only slightly more legible. In any event, according to the microfilm of the New York Times for 8/2/81, these were the two features that were playing at the Oriental, which had already been twinned by that time. If you zoom, enlarge the photo and stare a bit, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” does seem to fit.

YMike on May 17, 2004 at 5:08 am

I believe there was also a faded sign on the 46st mentioning Vaudeville shows.

MikeRadio on May 16, 2004 at 10:03 pm

Nevertheless, the sign in faded paint always said VAUDEVILLE SHOWS

YMike on May 16, 2004 at 8:24 am

I have heard from old-timers that they did have some Vaudville shows there in the early 1930’s. Al Jolson made a personal appearance and performed at this theatre before a screening of “Jolson Sings Again” He toured several Loews theatres on the same day in the New York area.

MikeRadio on May 14, 2004 at 6:45 pm

What you cabnt see is that on the lefthand side under the painted LOEWS ORIENTAL there wasa VERY faded painting of the words


How incredible is that!!

MikeRadio on May 14, 2004 at 6:45 pm

What you cabnt see is that on the lefthand side under the painted LOEWS ORIENTAL there wasa VERY faded painting of the words


How incredible is that!!

PeterKoch on May 14, 2004 at 1:32 pm

An outside wall of the Oriental, with “ORIENTAL” on it in large capital letters, appears in the upper left of this image of the West End elevated line :


PeterKoch on May 12, 2004 at 1:30 pm

Sorry, I meant right edge of aforesaid image.

PeterKoch on May 12, 2004 at 1:28 pm

The Oriental is visible in the background in this image :


As you can see from the apartment bldgs. at the left edge of the image, the side wall alone is seven stories high, with the roof peaking several stories above that. The high, nearly block-long brick side wall, the zigzagging exterior fire escape metal staircase, and individual water tower above the roof, are all dead giveaways of older,larger theaters in NYC.

The marquee is visible in this image, but I do not know, and cannot read, what was playing then. Perhaps some cinema buffs can figure it out from the date of the photo, and from their knowledge of films, as was done for that image I posted the link to for the Loew’s Hillside Theater in Jamaica, Queens. Thanks.

RobertR on April 22, 2004 at 2:00 pm

There was no reason for this theatre to close, too bad another company did not take it over.

PeterKoch on April 22, 2004 at 1:55 pm

The one and only film I ever saw at Loew’s Oriental was “Star Trek IV : The Voyage Home” the last Sunday in February 1987. It was a triplex at the time. Even divided into three cinemas, each cinema was huge, given the total size of the theater. The Moorish architecture of arches and tiles was beautiful. One of my friends thought it had been a mosque before it was a theater. I and my other friends had to explain to her the grandiose architecture and interior decor of some of NYC’s older theaters.

YMike on April 19, 2004 at 1:49 pm

Several years after the Oriental closed NBC filmed several scenes of a made for TV movie outside the theatre. They even put phony movie titles on the marque. You can also see the Oriental during the chase scene from “The French Connection.”

ERD on March 30, 2004 at 9:19 pm

This was the last theatre near the West End elevated “B” train line.
It was very convienant to take the train & not have to use the car.
The area also had good restaurants and a large variety of retail stores. In its prime, the Loew’s Oriental theatre was attractive & comfortable.

theatrefan on March 10, 2004 at 2:29 pm

There was talk in the early 90’s of modernizing this theatre into a true multiplex, unfortunately it never happened because of parking. In the film “Angie” with Gena Davis there is a brief shot of this theatre at the start of the movie. The marquee lit up at night is visible in this scene.

MikeRadio on February 19, 2004 at 11:15 am

In the later years, most seats were broken or missing.

There was also a ladder present in the downstairs auditorium.


Nelson on February 15, 2004 at 1:25 pm

I saw some of the best movies of my youth here during the late 70'and early 80’s it was better as a twin , triplexing cut the second level theatre in half. It was a huge building. The first floor still had a piano in it i suppose a holdover from its early days , it seemed to be a mile from the first row of seats to the piano and the screen . As kids we would dare eachother to go and play the piano. The lobby was really nice full of marble and brass . a real contrast to the Benson which was a few blocks away. It became very rundown in later years broken seats poor lighting and bad sound. And the Drapery on the walls would fall .

MikeRadio on December 4, 2003 at 6:00 pm

Philip.. Thanks for the tip about how to see a PIECE of the ld theatre! Next time I am in Brooklyn I will try that.

MikeRadio on December 4, 2003 at 6:00 pm

I saw a movie at the Oriental not too soon before it closed. The sound was so unaudiable, I had to ge tmy money back. There were tons of broken seats n the auditorium and a ladder sitting there.

However, this theatre was actually kept up more than most of the decaying old Brooklyn theatres. It lasted awhile, and was not renovated into something sterile.

Do you remember the sign that said in VERY faded paint VAUDVILLE SHOWS on the side of the building.. you could see it from the train!

Here is something interesting. An employee of the theatre who was there when it closed, made a home movie, just a few minutes long, about the theatre. He showed it’s last day of operation, a bunch of pictures from when it was new, and some photos of photos that were in the basement.

It is amatuerish but very interesting nonetheless.

If you are interested in a copy, I have transferred it to DVD. Please email me at and I can make you a copy of the DVD. Cost including shipping will be $15, since DVD blanks are still costly. However, it is a very nostalgic piece.


Gigantor on December 2, 2003 at 9:52 am

If there is a single theatre that I could say I practically grew up in, it’s the Loew’s Oriental.

I’ve seen countless movies there with my family as we lived within walking distance (imagine a family of 5 WALKING to the movies?!?)

From infancy being sent to the movies with my older sisters to get out of our parent’s hair on a Saturday, to seeing firt-run blockbusters like “Love Story,” to hanging out with high school chums (while cutting out of class) watching “The Longest Yard” to making out in the wonderful balcony with my future wife – this theatre was a huge part of my life!

I’ll never forget being there with a 100 percent capacity crowd watching “Lenny,” or how complete strangers passed teary eyed neighbor a Kleenex during “Love Story.”

There is a special exhilaration in being part of a packed house during a riotous comedy! “The Odd Couple” and “Airplane” provided me with memories of HUGE laughs with the crowd.

Thanks for letting me reminisce. I drive past the Oriental to this day, and I still smile at the great times!

William on November 15, 2003 at 10:24 am

The address for the Loew’s Oriental Theatre was 1832 86th Street.

theatrefan on November 2, 2003 at 9:36 am

The Loew’s Oriental opened in 1927, designed by Harrison Wiseman. It contained 2,733 seats before it was twined in the 70’s and triplexed in 1982. The Oriental showed it’s last movie in May 1995.

philipgoldberg on November 5, 2002 at 11:10 am

I was in the building this weekend shopping with my wife. Although the orchestra level is completely gutted, I found an original theater staircase behind a closed door. it still has some of the original brasswork. Look at the drop ceiling and you’ll see a few missing panels, let your eyes adjust to the darkness above and you can barely make out the old ceiling of the theater. Also look at the plastered side wall. It’s also from the original theater lobby. It’s freshly painted but if you look up to where the ceiling panels are, and look above them through one of the missing panel’s holes, you see where the old dark paint from the theater begins. (To gain access to this stairway, just ask to use the bathroom, as it stands behind a locked door, and a store associate must open it for you.)