Italian Theatre

260 Bushwick Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11206

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According to the Brooklyn Theatre Index, the Italian Theatre operated at 260 Bushwick Avenue – between Montrose Avenue and Johnson Avenue – from 1911 through 1917. Since the listed construction costs were only $6,000, it must have been a rather modest facility – but then, the newly arriving Italian immigrants who presumably served as the theater’s main patrons, probably could not then afford anything more lavish.

Despite its modest cost, the Index does reference a construction firm – Metcalf and Worden.

In 1917, the Italian Theatre was replaced by a garage. However, in the early 2000’s, this site and the adjacent building were demolished and replaced by a six story apartment house.

Any additional information regarding this theater – and the community that patronized it – will be greatly appreciated.

Contributed by John Dereszewski

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on April 17, 2011 at 7:19 am

This theater helps document the existence of a once fairly extensive community that has pretty much disappeard. Unlike those mostly Neopolitan Italians who moved into northern Williamsburg and Greenpoint, the Italian residents of southeast Williamsburg – as well as Bushwick – mainly hailed from Sicily. Due to post WW11 urban decline and the massive impact of major urban renewal projects, this community had dwindled to very small numbers by the time I first became acquainted with it as a student at nearby Most Holy Trinity HS in the mid 1960’s.

After this theater closed, the local patrons would probably direct their cinematic attention to the Echo Theatre, which would open a few blocks to the south in 1921.

My guess is that, in addition to showing films here, this theater also hosted Italian oriented concerts and theater and served as a center for a new immigrant community. But this is only a guess that will, hopefully, be either confirmed or contradicted by further documentation. It would also be interesting to know the sort of movies that were presented – silent, of course, but with Italian titles?

Hope this helps start a dialogue.

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