Showing 1 - 25 of 57 comments
Had not seen the interior photo and am blown away. Much credit to the current owners that they have gone through the trouble and expense to maintain the auditorium in such pristine condition.
You raise an interesting point. Despite the presence of large ethnic communities in that vicinity foreign language product corresponding to the Italian or Yiddish enclaves that were in the area failed to be presented. It wasn’t until after WWII that theaters like the Sun & the Alba began importing Mexican movies primarily through Columbia Pictures, for the Latino population that moved into the neighborhood. As late as the ‘60s, the Graham may have been presenting some Italian films, but not the art house fare that was popular then.
Of course I’m familiar with Our Lady of Pompeii having attended many a family function there. As it may not relate specifically to the message parameters of CT, let me know if you’d want me to contact you off-line to go into further detail.
This theater was so low on the distribution ladder that it never came under the management of the Brandt’s who ran a string of neighborhood 2nd tier sub-run houses across the boroughs or even the Endicott group, which was generally at the end of the food chain.
Bushwick Hylan Houses opened in 1961 but the “urban renewal project” which involved the condemnation proceedings began in the mid to late 50’s. Moore St. was its own commercial hub which centered around the municipal market on Humboldt St. bounded by Moore and Varet. The Echo could not keep up with the technological advances and population shifts of the area, and although Bushwick Ave. was a busy thoroughfare, it was not as centrally located as nearby Graham Ave., or served by bus/trolley or elevated subway lines.
Curious whether the closure of Clearview’s Cinema 23 in Verona, and AMC’s renovation of the Essex Green in West Orange will boost business here.
87 yr.old relative recalls going to the Echo as a pre-schooler with his older brother who would read him the subtitltes of the silent screen features. Suspects that the theater closed in the ‘40s and when he was old enough to make his own theater choices he would opt for the sumptuousness of the Alba. He had no recollection of the G&M theater.
It’s interesting that as certain Brooklyn neighborhoods re-gentrify there is a need for large event spaces for banquets and weddings. The corridor of Bedford Ave. between Flushing & Park Aves. heading towards Williamsburg, is a prime example. The Empress with its rich treasure of architecural detail in the upper portions would be a great location to open a banquet hall, sorely needed in the Crown Heights neighborhood.
Just saw the excellent photos of Josephine Baker from 1951.I find it curious that La Baker would be willing to share billing with a Ku Klux Klan movie.
It’s remarkable that the renown Leo Reisman Orchestra played the Kameo in 1929. Clearly the Eastern Parkway section of Crown Heights was in its heyday as a fashionable middle class community.
Nice to see a traffic free Fulton Street. Anyone know when the Fulton St. el came down?
Saw the 1969 Rene Clement flick, Riders in the Rain, here as part of a double feature. Don’t recall the other half of the bill. Help, anyone?
Although I never got to go to this theatre up through the late 1990’s I was frequently in the neighborhood and got a sense as to the special role that the treatre played along the commercial strip on Avenue L. It’s a pity that area residents have to travel and contend with the crowds at Kings Plaza and the UA Sheepshead Bay, making a trip to the movies more of an ordeal than a recreational activity.
Terrific photos (except for the demolition one of course). Hard to imagine that outside of Manhattan, outer boroughs such as the Bronx & Brooklyn once supported art cinema and foreign films.
I agree with the above post although I recognize CT policy in identifying theatres by their last known names. In this case the Embassy & the Mark affiliations had a minimal impact on the significant history of this site known either as the Mayfair, or the DeMille. If the Guild organization had taken over the Rivoli and renamed it Emabassy 5, would anyone recognize it as other than the Rivoli?
I moved into the area nearly 40 years ago and by then the site was already a small supermarket, competing with a Bohacks on the other side of the Newkirk Plaza subway tracks. The theatre could have been an early victim of the television era. Am curious if given the name, it presented more art house fare. Nearest competition was the Leader on Coney Island Av. which was very much a mainstream house.
Is City Cinemas squelching on the adverstising budget? Did not see a listing for these screens in last Friday' NY Times movie clock.
I was reminded after seeing a vintage movie poster in a Vermont drug store, that local theatres would often not advertise their features in newspaper ads. Instead they would print two-color, simple lettered posters announcing what was playing for the week. These posters were then distributed among local merchants who would display the placards in their shop windows, probably in exchange for a few movie pases. Probably a very inexpensive form of advertising.
Economy Candy, the large cut-rate candy emporium, has been situated across the street from the theatre site since 1937. Can’t imagine what it was like to stock up on penny-candy and cross the street for a double feature at the Ruby.
Some multi colored neon, some bright flourescents wrapped around a marquee or flashing on a blade sign, and instantly you have a drab, non-decript building facade transformed into a focus of attention. Theatres like this, the Rogers and the Lindy, et al, late run nabes, could not compare with the sumptuous movie palaces like the Folly, or the Republic, but shared in common the ability to transform the movie goer to the far reaches of the imagination through the magic of the movies.
Back in the 60’s the MH was on the original United Artist Premiere Showcase string for Manhattan along with the Astor & the Trans Lux East. Was a hard house to book alternating between commercial and art house fare. Saw my first Polanski film there, Repulsion on a double feature with Il Bambole (the Dolls). All the 34th St. houses were done-in when Loews opened the Kips Bay complex.
Capt. Blood, I share your sentiments. The Plaza certainly rode the crest of art/commercial films after coming into the Rugoff fold. Even movies that didn’t work such as Petulia or Taking Off were still an event when seen here. But that was the same for the entire Cinema 5 chain. But the standouts like Finzi Conitinis & Amarcord were all the more special when seen here.
Hard to believe that after all the effort that was made to restore this theatre that it remains shuttered. Granted that it sits in a hard-scrabble community, but where is the wide-visioned impressario who can make a venue like this or the Paradise successful. The Loews 175th St. in Washington Heights is now attracting top tier talent such as the Allman Brothers & Bob Dylan. Is no one willing to perform in the Bronx?
Having had strong and recent family connections to MHT and the surrounding neighborhood I cannot recall the theatre ever having been converted to a catering hall. The only catering facility nearby was the long closed Charles Mansion on Montrose Ave, across from MHT between Leonard St. & Manhattan Ave. At recent sighting, that too became a church. I agree with John’s assertion that it would have been unmlikely for the current church group to have restored the auditorium if the theatre had indeed become a catering facility.
Does anyone have an idea what condition the nearby Loews Delancey is in? The structure still stand at the corner of Suffolk and Delancey Sts. and has been converted to commercial uses. Could it too be a candidate for restoration?
Sounds like a remote but remarkable possibility. Alan Gerson’s efforts would be a capstone to his otherwise lackluster career on the NYC Council.