Commodore Theater

329 Broadway,
Brooklyn, NY 11211

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Showing 1 - 25 of 296 comments

Willburg145
Willburg145 on June 4, 2011 at 6:33 pm

I think this theather was closed and torn down because some members of the community did not want to see their precious neighborhood overrun by hippsters. This could have become a great venue for films, concerts, and a community theater. There was so much potential but it would have clashed with certain people.

Bway
Bway on May 31, 2011 at 7:12 pm

Wow, Great photos of the Commodore! It was nice to see those “urn” things again….I used to pass them every day for a decade on the J/M trains through there on the el. STILL can’t believe that beautiful building was senselessly torn down. What a shame.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on October 6, 2009 at 12:46 am

Thanks Panzer for capturing an act of absolute folly! In looking at the empty lot that will probably remain vacant for the foreseeable future, the sheer stupidy of it all just shocks anyone’s conscience.

Bway
Bway on July 5, 2009 at 3:04 am

I meant Marcy Ave….

Bway
Bway on July 5, 2009 at 3:03 am

It still sickens me whenever I ride by on the el trains through March Ave station that they tore this theater down….and for what? What a waste.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on July 3, 2009 at 11:05 pm

Passed by the site today. It is still an open lot. Looking through the wall, I saw a mostly weed strewn lot with no sign of any development. Yes, some concrete foundation were installed – many months ago – but absolutely no new development appears to be comimg soon – if ever. The most recent Building Permits lapsed last February. Thr only activity I saw was a place to accumulate broken bike parts – but that is it!

The total stupidy of gutting what could have been an extremely appealing endeavor in marketing the Commodore as a cutting edge movie house just becomes more and more apparent! Stupidy rules!

Bway
Bway on April 16, 2009 at 5:44 pm

I don’t know what the current owners paid for the theater, but the theater was deliberately attacked with holes punched in the roof to quickly destroy the place so there was no hope it would be saved. Has anything been built in it’s place?

Anyway, here a 1967 photo of the Commodore in it’s happier days:

View link

JDaVi
JDaVi on April 14, 2009 at 12:59 am

I HEARD THAT THE COMMODORE THEATER WAS SOLD FOR $1.00 TO THE JEWS. TRUE OR FALSE? Shoot i even had $1.00. =(

JDaVi
JDaVi on April 14, 2009 at 12:52 am

Is IT TRUE? THAT THE JEWS BOUGHT THE COMMODORE FOR $1.00? If True Williamsburg,Brooklyn really is the
‘King Of The Jews! jDa'Vi.

Tantive7
Tantive7 on March 16, 2009 at 3:42 pm

I wish I could had taken pictures from the inside,I loved the chandelier inside the theater..Wow,I miss that place..

delgado218
delgado218 on March 2, 2009 at 7:34 am

HI anniegirl, It’s so nice to read that many people had great memories there. My dad ran the Williamsburg theatre about 2 blocks down the street in 70’s. He became partner of the Commodore in the early 80’s until it closed. I was about 4 years old when he started there. Yes, I remember the soda machine it was red and in the same spot you described. It was there for a couple of years then my dad upgraded the candy stand. he had a new one built in front of the old one. The old stand became a storage the room. He got rid of the soda machine and added more arcade machines. I missed that machine I used to ask my parents for change just to watch the cup come down and fill with soda. It was pretty amazing 2 me lol. The couch in the ladies room was gone in the 80’s probably because the bathroom sizes were cute back to make room for the candy stand or my dads office. i not sure which ladies room was the original one. The size of the balcony’s were also decreased to add a second screen up stairs. So you probably remember one big balcony in the rear. They used the middle section of it to make the second screen. All that was left was 2 small balcony’s one on the left and one one the right with a huge wall in between them. I wish I could have seen it it before all those changes because I could tell it was a beautiful theatre. I used to sit in the balcony and stare at the huge chandelier, all the details on the walls and try to imagine it when it first opened. Its sad how everything old gets torn down instead of bringing it back to its original beauty. If that theatre were in England it would have stood for hundreds of years because they preserve history.I read the whole blog and saw the discussion about the kimball, that organ was behind and above the screen.when you walked on stage right there was a doorway straight ahead that led to a tiny room behind the movie screen. In that room there was a metal ladder bolted to the back wall that you had to climb straight up to a ceiling door through that door was where they kept the Kimball organ. As far as the filming Avril filmed her music video on the outside of the Commodore they couldnt get in to film.They went in to my dads restaurant next door and asked my dad for help getting in but the theatre was already sold.The second filming was the disney movie enchanted. Just some fyi saw a lot of questions about it. :)Thank you for writting if you have any other questions please ask.

michelemarie
michelemarie on March 1, 2009 at 10:14 pm

Dear Dorianne,
When did your dad own the Comodore? I used to go there as a kid between the years 1952-1970. I loved that theater. Every Saturday I was there with friends…I remember the matron with the flashlight telling every kid to be quiet. The ladies room had brown couch’s to sit on and when the J train passed by the place would tremble..I remeber the soda machine, the cup would drop down and the syrup and seltzer would mix. It was right next to the candy counter. And the movies, that played there, great for the neighborhood. I remeber when we used to be able to sit in the balcony. Wow. at night. My Mom, Aunts and Uncle’s would go at night. Now it is just a memory.
But a great memory. Give my regards to your dad for many a great time any kid could have. I lived 70 Penn Street and then on 700 Bedford Ave at Heyward Street then 35 Lynch Street and lastly 258 Marcy Ave at Keap Street. Went to Transfiguration School 1952-1960.anniegirl

delgado218
delgado218 on March 1, 2009 at 5:19 pm

hey greenpoint, i will send my dad your regards. He is ok, bored out of his mind now that he’s retired. I don’t think it will last very long he’s already thinking of starting another business closer to his home. I loved getting my dads chicken next door with some fruit punch then sit in the balcony and watch a movie. i have so many great memories of that place. :)

Greenpoint
Greenpoint on February 28, 2009 at 10:12 pm

Happy 43rd Billburg…
I am sneaking up on 35 in a few months…
Next year I will tell people I am going on 26.

Greenpoint
Greenpoint on February 28, 2009 at 10:11 pm

Hi Dorianne, How is your dad, I used to call him every week to see what he needed for my orange/ fruit punch machine. The theatre was always a good customer. Please relay these best wishes on behalf of Energy Beverage.

Willburg145
Willburg145 on February 28, 2009 at 9:15 pm

I am 43 years old today.

delgado218
delgado218 on February 28, 2009 at 4:50 pm

hello everyone my name is Dorianne Delgado..Some of you know my dad Angelo Delgado he was part owner of the commodore.. I discovered this blog looking for a photo of the Commodore in its original state circ 1920’s but i can’t find one. I'am happy to see that many people loved that place. It was a second home to me and my family.. If anyone see this and has questions i will be more than happy to help. i have answers to many questions that were posted wish i could have found this sooner.. especially when people were interested in trying to help save it..My dad tried so hard to delay the sell so the money could be raised to buy the other owners out… (sigh) but its to late now it’s been difficult for my dad because he worked there for 20 years and before that he ran the williamsburg theatre also known as the commodore twin.. Hope to hear from someone or myspace url delgado218

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on February 9, 2009 at 5:24 pm

No, Anniegirl, I’ve had no similar experiences. I am now 53 years of age.

michelemarie
michelemarie on February 9, 2009 at 5:20 pm

dear all, ok it’s just that I am not old enough to see any shantytowns in my time. However living in Williamsburgh, i did travel with my mom to the lower east side of manhattan and i remember the bowery with all of the homeless there in the 1950’s. I was afraid to get out of the car. I surely hope it does not return to those days of homelessness. But woh knows what lies ahead. Next to the Commodore theater was the glenwood hotel and in the summer when we exited the movie, we walked down to the ice cream parlor run by 2 brothers that were quite portly in stature. That hotel was surly a place for homeless men. They were hanging out the window and they looked hopeless. That was in the 1950’s. Does anyone have any similar stories. I am now 63 years of age and I was affected by those experiences. Anniegirl

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on February 9, 2009 at 3:23 pm

Good point, Billburg. Thanks.

Thanks for posting for me, LuisV.

No, Anniegirl, I didn’t mean to say there were shantytowns in Williamsburg. All I was saying was that, just as nature abhors a vacuum, vacant lots tend to be squatted on by the homeless, who are perhaps afraid of being robbed, raped, and murdered in the NYC shelters, kids play baseball, or other games, in them; in general, unused vacant horizontal space tends to become used again very soon.

John D., I agree wholeheartedly with you about the destruction of the Commodore Theatre.

Willburg145
Willburg145 on February 7, 2009 at 10:17 pm

The site of the old Broadway Theater also sits EMPTY. But developers are always going to tear down old buildings while dollar bills dance around their heads. It’s sad they tear down something that has character and put up a building that is grey and flat. I am sure most of those new buildings will start to fall apart in a few years. They go up so fast and cheap.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on February 7, 2009 at 3:25 pm

Given the glut in Williamsburg’s condo market – where many unsold units are now being rented (or attempting to be rented) – and the site’s close proximity to the el line, residential development here does not appear to be realistic for the forseeable future. The construction of several retail stores is probably the best we can hope for, though the odds clearly favor the continued existence of a vacant lot.

Looking back, the destruction of the Commodore was an incredibly stupid action from both the cultural AND economic perspective.

LuisV
LuisV on February 7, 2009 at 3:22 pm

Hi Anniegirl, I don’t believe Peter K meant that Williamsburg had shantytowns. I assume he was referring to the shantytowns that did exist in many parts of the city during the depression. As a matter of fact, some bums were actually living in makeshift housing in Thompkins Square Park in Manhattan in the 80’s.

Even though it looks like we’re heading into some desperate times, I still don’t think we will ever see the return of shantytowns to our city.