Midwood Theatre

1307 Avenue J,
Brooklyn, NY 11210

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Midwood Theatre

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The Midwood Theatre replaced an earlier Midwood Theatre (1913-1920) and opened in 1921. It was designed by architect R. Thomas Short, with a total seating capacity of 1,208, it featured a balcony. It was equipped with a Kimble organ. It was enlarged to a total seating capacity of 1,953, again to the plans of architect R. Thomas Short. By 1929 it was part of the Century Theaters chain. In 1932 the interior was modified to the plans of architect A.J. Burns.

In 1948 alterations were carried out to the plans of architect John J. McNamara. It later became a second-run Century Theaters house. In its final years, it offered a discount policy where the price of admission was the same as the last two digits of the year. The Midwood Theatre was closed in 1984.

It closed in the very early-1980’s and is now an eye surgery facility.

Contributed by philipgoldberg

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

MagicLantern
MagicLantern on October 29, 2007 at 2:11 am

As revealed in Eric Lax’s new book of interviews with Woody Allen, this theatre was owned by Allen’s grandfather.

Astyanax
Astyanax on February 26, 2008 at 10:51 pm

Great neighborhood destination. By the 70’s most of the original detail had been “modernized” but always comfortable, clean and well run especially for a discount house. Packed the crowds when it played “Raging Bull” & “Grease” as well as other blockbusters of the era. Great eateries on Avenue J including Bonaparte’s, Joy Fong and of course Di Fara’s, still serving one of the best slices of pizza in the city.

richflanger
richflanger on September 23, 2008 at 11:08 am

Just discovered this web-site! Remember the Midwood well. For 30 cents: two movies, a short, AND cartoons. Brave kids exited out the front fire doors and ran down the alley bathing the theater in sunlight and blinding patrons until ushers rushed down to close doors.

EcRocker
EcRocker on January 20, 2009 at 6:11 pm

The big joke about the Midway was when it became the dicount theatre is that the seats may have been cheap but the snack mar was not. They chaged the same at the Midwood as any othere movie house. Who ever owned it at the time had a good idea but the other thing was that the place was never kept clean. It was a pig sty and stunk too.

GaryCohen
GaryCohen on December 7, 2009 at 6:39 pm

During the late 1970s, the Midwood theatre had lines going around the block and the parking was extrememly difficult. This was because the admission price in 1978 was .78, it went up to .79 in 1979 and .80 in 1980. It was a good place to see a film that you had already seen somewhere else was wanted to see again. I saw “Superman,” “Moonraker” and “Star Trek-The Motion Picture” all for the second time for the .78 or 79 cents. It took an enormous amount of time for these films to work their way down to the Midwood. “Star Trek-TMP” opened up at Christmas and didn’t work its way down to the Midwood until near-summer. Still it was a fairly decen theater. I remember going back in the early 80s to see “The Final Countdown.” Suddenly the price was back to four bucks to get in. Suddenly the lines to get in disappeared and the Midwood was history.

Dublinboyo
Dublinboyo on November 21, 2011 at 1:22 pm

The Midwood was Woody Allen’s local neighborhood theater. In last night’s American Masters on PBS about Woody, He speaks very fondly of growing up in the neighborhood and all the great films and memories he has of the Midwood. At one point he goes back and stands in front of it seeing what it has become. Very poignant.

greeneyes
greeneyes on November 21, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Part 1 of Woody Allen’s bio was great to me. As someone who loves his work and who as a young girl lived in the neighborhood on E 13th ST. between Avenues H and I, I found it to be a very nostalgic trip back in time. Just had to take the street-view Google tour today. Looking forward to tonight and Part 2! He is incredible. It’s been my secret desire to be in one of his films! Sad to see the Midwood Theater is not there any more. I saw many movies there and especially remember the pleasure and comfort of sitting in the air-conditioned space a day after baking at Coney Island or Brighton Beach. Brooklyn has always been God’s country to me!

CConnolly1
CConnolly1 on November 23, 2011 at 7:27 am

Allen’s documentary on PBS was why I came to look at the write-ups about the Midwood. I’ve been on this site numerous times and lived in Brooklyn for a short period in the early 90s but I never checked out the Midwood until now. Allen’s recollections of the Midwood in particular and Brooklyn in general were kind of mind-blowing. A time and a place gone but it sounded amazing.

ajs42548
ajs42548 on December 6, 2012 at 5:54 pm

My great uncle (my maternal grandmother’s brother) was Joseph Springer who owned the Midwood from the late 50’s into the 60’s. He also owned 5 other theaters some in Brooklyn and the rest in Queens. I saw the American Masters show and also heard Woody Allen mention that his grandfather owned that theater. Either he sold it to Century Circuit or directly to my uncle. I used to live on Coney Island Avenue and Ave. J (across Coney Island Ave. from Bobbins). Of course I used to have a family pass and see movies free whenever I wanted.

bradmarcus
bradmarcus on October 18, 2014 at 2:03 pm

That was my neighborhood theater and I saw more movies there than I can count. As someone mentioned, DiFara is down the street and so was Joy Fong. Bonaparte’s was on Avenue M, near the old Elm theater. Unfortunately, the end for the Midwood really happened in 1978 when the “Animal House riot” happened. After that, things spiraled downhill quickly.

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