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Just paased by the site today. The new gym is now operational but they have pretty much wrecked the theater’s old front in the process of doing this. The Parthenon’s roof, however, is still untouched.
While the new set up is quite attractive – a big improvement to the depressing old bingo parlor – the fact that no attempt was made to restore the old facade is unfortunate. But this could have been a lot worse.
Well – we atill have the old pictures.
I know that Hamburg Ave. was changed to Wilson Ave. during WWI. My point was that the Index referred to the newer name before the change had occuured. In any event, thanks for responding to this post; it’s been a long time since anyone looked at it.
Let us just bask in the good news that occurred today and not, for once, be cynical. Hip, hip horay for the Kings and for the people of Brooklyn!
The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, which now operates out of this old movie house, hit a home run in performing the Battle Hymn of the Republic at Monday’s Inauguration ceremony. Kudos to the choir, the congregation and the people of Brooklyn!
Thanks for the great pictures of this long gone theater.
steveb, since El Cid, athough released in late 1961, was probably presented in an exclusive midtown run for a number of weeks and then reached only an independent theater like the Dyckman many weeks later, the 1962 movie calendar noted above makes sense. The delayed presentation at the Dyckman of “A Touch of Mink” also probably took place well after its initial release date. Thus, when the place burned down, the El Cid run had probably already occurred.
The steeple – and in all probability the church itself – have been demolished. Like the Novelty, they were probably replaced by apartment houses. In the wake of the opening of the Wlliamsburg Bridge in 1903, Willliamsburg’s population skyrocketed. This produced a critical need for additional housing units. To meet this need, many large apartment houses were constructed in this vicinity during the first three decades of the past century.
I will, however, further check out this item the next time I visit the area.
As was noted in a previous comment, the only thing remaining from the old movie house is the wall along Russel Street – and even that cannot be said for certain. Except for that, supermarket is an entirely new building.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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?
Great catch TT, since the place was only known as the Capri very briefly.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.