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 19 comments)

EcRocker on January 20, 2009 at 11:11 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 on December 7, 2009 at 11:39 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 on November 21, 2011 at 6:22 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 on November 21, 2011 at 8:48 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 on November 23, 2011 at 12:27 pm

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 on December 6, 2012 at 10:54 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 on October 18, 2014 at 7:03 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.

Avenue_J on January 5, 2015 at 11:07 pm

I remember when there was a Halloween costume party on a Saturday morning around Halloween and the contestants paraded around the theater and the kids in the audience picked the winner based on how loud the applause was. I also remember fondly the manager Mr. Burns who my family knew well and who used to give us passes so we did not have to spend 25 cents for the kiddie ticket. I also remember fondly the matron whose job it was to make sure all of the kids were herded into the children’s section in the front on the right side. Even if the children’s section was full to capacity she was an expert at the job of hunting kids down in the rest of the theater which was usually empty and she would come around and shine the flashlight in your eyes and haul you to the children’s section.

And I initially lived on Coney Island AVenue and Avenue J as well (1013 Avenue J)

What a great theater!

elifriedmn on January 7, 2015 at 3:44 pm

Having lived on East 17th Street between Avenues J and K for over 50 years, I cherish the drumbeat of live that was fed by the Midwood Theater. Now, when grandchildren recount their joy in finding DiFara’s Pizza still open, I realize how fortunate life has been for and to me. Its been a grand tour made even better by the still functional nearby Kent Thater. Eli Friedman

Orlando on February 19, 2015 at 5:50 pm

In the early 1970’s, I attended this theatre many times. It was always a pleasantly operated theatre as were many of the Century Theatres were. Its great to see some upper terra cotta still in place today as the owners knew it was special features. However, it is sad to see. It’s a good thing we have our memories.

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