Avenue U Theater

1602 Avenue U,
Brooklyn, NY 11229

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Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on May 17, 2017 at 8:43 pm

The 1980 picture added to Photos

bradmarcus
bradmarcus on August 24, 2013 at 4:16 am

In late 78 it started playing Rocky Horror on Saturday nights at midnight to packed crowds. My friends and I did the stage show in costume once. What a blast!

dybbuk
dybbuk on October 9, 2011 at 5:59 am

i worked at the avenue u at about the same time that kirk doulas’s lonely are the brave made its debut. what was most intriguing to me was the theater’s basement (near the bathrooms. which were downstairs, too.) where i found promotional items like tiny red dice sent rolling on a spinning circular platform, encased under glass and activated by a plunger you pushed with your thumb, as well as illustrated ticket stubs for a presentation of king kong.

Astyanax
Astyanax on May 24, 2011 at 9:14 pm

The vintage bus forces me to real;ize that the photo was taken over 40 yrs. ago. I remember when the new marquee was installed and the sense that the Rugoff chain was finally trying to spruce up the place.

mp775
mp775 on May 24, 2011 at 8:53 pm

The Avenue U in 1970. Battle of Britain and Buona Sera Mrs. Campbell are playing.

GaryCohen
GaryCohen on January 9, 2010 at 12:49 am

This was a relatively small, average theater that usually had long lines throughout the 1970s due to its dollar admission. My parents used to go there a lot and it was quite popular due to its low admission price. I saw several films there throughout the 70s: Live and Let Die (for the second time,) The Deep, The Great Gatsby, The Legend of Hell House, etc. I think the last time my wife and I were there was to see Hannah and her Sisters in the early ‘80s. As stated this was basically a small, unattractive neighborhood theater with nothing really distinctive to remember it by.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on November 24, 2009 at 11:09 pm

Address numbers do and can change sometimes!This might lead to some of the confusion in the Google maps.This is rare but it does happen.

TPH
TPH on November 24, 2009 at 9:40 pm

Flyman47 refers to Century’s Avenue J. Isn’t that the Midwood theatre?

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on November 25, 2008 at 9:21 pm

The Avenue U Theater Corporation was located in the same building at 1602, in 1940. Phone was SHeepshd 3-2550.

Hyford
Hyford on February 11, 2008 at 3:17 pm

Doesn’t Anybody want to speak about Century’s AVENUE J?

PKoch
PKoch on December 17, 2007 at 4:15 pm

Archaeonut, I don’t mind the correction. If I’m wrong, I want to know. I did the best, and came as close as I could, with the images that I knew about, and which were available to me. I hope we get a link to an image of the theater posted here.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 16, 2007 at 4:12 am

I checked the address on Google Maps, and their satellite view of the neighborhood confirms ArchaeoNut’s claim above. The crested buildings in the photos show from above as the nearest of four adjoining structures located between the corner of E. 15th Street and the transit line. The address 1602 Avenue U would be on the near side of the Avenue, and at the corner of E. 16th Street farthest from the transit line, and thus in these photos the theatre’s location would be entirely out of view, off to the photographer’s right.

jflundy
jflundy on December 15, 2007 at 10:30 pm

The Avenue U Theater was very plain, just a rectangular box on one level with little or no ornamentation. When I was there in 1949 the candy was sold by the matron from a small poorly lamped wooden sideboard type of furniture at the rear of theater.

Spaceknight
Spaceknight on December 15, 2007 at 9:51 pm

I hate to correct Peter.K and I am sure everybody appreciates all of his work. In reference to his post of May 20, 2004, the links to the four photos do not seem to show the Avenue U theater. The address for the building with the crest is 1507 Ave U and the building next to it (the next crest) is 1505. Unless the theater moved from 1507 to 1600-1602 in the past, the building in the photos are incorrectly identified. In fact, the photos are all facing the wrong way to have any possibility of seeing the theater.

I do not want to sound too obnoxious, but in case anybody else looks for the theater in the subway photos: I looked through the photos and I was unable to identify anything that could be part of the theater even when looking in the right direction. I am not known for great eyesight and the orientation did leave me a little confused, though. Personally, I do not believe you could see the theater from the subway platform over the awning unless the theater was higher than four stories in the past. In addition, the theater was not as close to the subway station as the photos implied. It is actually half a block and across the street from the subway station.

If I remember correctly, the theater was gutted and the floors and roof were removed. Only the outer walls were left. (In case, somebody goes into the bank today and looks for remains of the theater-nothing is left.) From what the building looks like today I am guessing (because I cannot remember exactly) most of the front wall was changed except for the section at the left, which may be the design from before. It seems fancy when compared to the general square shape of the bank. On the side wall, the area to the left was definitely changed. The area to the right (the brick wall) is left in the original design (I seem to remember this design).

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on November 2, 2007 at 5:41 pm

In the 1972-73 Brooklyn yellow pages, the Avenue U was listed at 1600 Avenue U.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on April 11, 2007 at 7:17 pm

According to a July 1928, 1954 Variety story:

(CHROMED PENNIES DRAW T-MEN TO B'KLYN THEATRE)

Albert Greene who ran the Avenue U decided it would be a good idea to chrome plate 36,000 pennies to hand out as change to his patrons. The patrons were then asked drop one into a “Wagner bottle” in order to drive home his protest against the 5% admission tax imposed on theatres.

After a visit from the Treasury Men, Greene was warned that adding weight to coins was illegal and he should desist immediately a turn over all the altered pennies, of which 12,000 remeined. In an effort to undo the damage he offered two copper pennies for each chrome one returned.

Unfortunately neighborhood kids with chemistry sets caught on to the deal and “fake” chrome pennies started turning up in massive numbers.

Greene responded by running a trailer addressed to the “fathers of Junior Counterfeiters”

“We beg you to assert your parental authority on the chemistry genius in your family. Pul-e-e-ze tell your boys to stop producing synthetic chrome plated pennies. This is against the law, besides being of great annoyance to us. Show mom how firm you can be.”

Once enough pennies had been returned, Greene decided to “strip” them of the chrome instead of turning them in and again ran afoul of the Treasury Department for tampering with the currency.

Once the stunt hit the news, neighborhood merchants started pitching in, helping to round up renegade chrome pennies, 1400 of which had ended up at the CBS “It’s News to me” show.

AnthonyS1957
AnthonyS1957 on May 10, 2006 at 10:13 am

Looking to hopefully get in touch from the owner of the Chopin / Avenue U Theaters.

EcRocker
EcRocker on February 16, 2006 at 1:18 am

For the life of me I can not remember the Avenue U theatre. I remember the Ave M that is now a bank or at least it was the last time i was by there. I also recall that the old 61 Precient used to be on Ave U between 15&16 and there is a bank there now

naaaatt
naaaatt on September 18, 2004 at 3:51 am

The avenue U theater once tried a live vaudiville type show.

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on September 7, 2004 at 10:28 pm

Thanks, RobertR, for mentioning this. I remember the Chopin in Greenpoint.

RobertR
RobertR on September 7, 2004 at 10:15 pm

The last owner of the U also had the Chopin in Greenpoint.

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on May 20, 2004 at 9:28 pm

The Avenue U Theatre can be seen in the following images. It is the crested brick building visible above the trains in these images :

http://www.nycsubway.org/perl/show?2321
http://www.nycsubway.org/perl/show?4602
http://www.nycsubway.org/perl/show?4784
http://www.nycsubway.org/perl/show?4526

William
William on November 15, 2003 at 12:22 am

The Avenue U Theatre was located at 1602 Avenue U.

theatrefan
theatrefan on November 1, 2003 at 4:18 pm

The former building housing the Avenue U Theatre sadly now houses a Commerce Bank Branch where the auditorium once was.