RKO Shore Road Theatre

435 86th Street,
Brooklyn, NY 11209

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robboehm on May 18, 2015 at 10:11 pm

Photo from Brooklyn Pics uploaded

rivest266 on September 29, 2013 at 2:15 pm

I notice that this theatre is now a Foot Locker, Also the Loew’s in Montreal.

DJM78 on January 9, 2012 at 1:32 pm

mp775-Great link! My first time ever seeing a photo of the RKO Shore Road. I have to be honest. When I did the scroll through the 1980’s shot blew me away too. I almost forgot about the “Martin Paint” and “fayva” shoe store. When I was a young kid durning the 80’s I never realized that building was once a movie theater. I could always tell by looking at the building up the block (The RKO Dyker) that it once was a movie theater.

LuisV on December 15, 2010 at 11:34 am

The Shore theater was LANDMARKED yesterday by the city of New York! What great news for the city, for Brooklyn and especially, for Coney Island! I really think that a restored palace could actually do well is this fast rising entertainment center; especially of the concert variety. Hopefully, others will share that vision and make it happen.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on August 4, 2010 at 8:26 pm

It was not a Loews Theatre in 1956.I know that much Tls.

TLSLOEWS on August 4, 2010 at 7:26 pm

Anyone know why this theatre is listed as a former Loews house?

TPH on November 13, 2009 at 9:49 am

With the massive expansion of the Century 21 department store over to 87th St., it is surprising that the store management did not take over this retail space.

mp775 on November 12, 2009 at 3:02 pm

The New York Times has an online feature comparing tax photos of twelve properties taken by the City in the 1930s and 1980s with photos taken today. The evolution of the RKO Shore Road is included

Scroll through.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on July 17, 2008 at 3:39 pm

On May 5, 1993, The Brooklyn Spectator published two pages of Bay Ridge movie palace memories written by Andrew Johnson and John Cocchi.

Here they are:
View link
View link
View link
View link

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on August 9, 2006 at 1:00 pm

A photograph I took of the RKO Shore Road Theatre in June 2006:

BoxOfficeBill on August 3, 2005 at 6:49 pm


Thanks for catching my fudge of the dimensions. After taking into account the lobby space at the entrance and the space for the narrow stage apron before the screen, the auditorium’s interior was still wider than long, and that’s the anomaly that sticks in my mind’s eye. And with the relatively small screens of the 1940s-50s, the viewing area at the RKO SR couldn’t have been more than 12x15 (or unlikely 15x18) maximum.

This means, with a proscenium frontage of 86 feet, no more than 15 (or generously 18) feet were given to the screen’s width. Hence, my memory of an elongated, top-shortened proscenium and burgundy traveler curtain, with side-auditorium seats angled uncomfortably toward the center.

But above all, lostmemory, thanks for every wonderful shred of detail that you’ve contributed to this site over the past months.

BoxOfficeBill on August 3, 2005 at 4:21 pm


Thanks for the stats. FxD 106x100 approximates my guestimate of 110x90. The Phantom’s current picture conveys the disproportionate width of the frontage if you bear in mind that the depth ends abruptly where it appears to end in the image: there’s nothing beyond that rear angle as it hits the property line of houses on 85 Street. What an odd building.

thephantom on August 2, 2005 at 7:59 pm

A current photo of the building that was the RKO Shore Road was posted today on the Bay Ridge Blog, www.bayridgebrooklyn.blogspot.com

BoxOfficeBill on June 3, 2005 at 5:10 pm


Thanks for recalling those co-features— The Shore Road did not deviate from these double billings. Yes, I remember snatches of “Doc Robin” and, yes, of Esther W’s “Island.” Mutatis mutandis, Loew’s Bay Ridge received product from the RKO circuit after it had played at the RKO Dyker. I remember seeing there the nunly-tender “Come to the Stable” and the opera-screamer “Everybody Does It.”

BoxOfficeBill on June 3, 2005 at 3:02 pm

Jeffrey, Theaterat, and Jody—

Thanks for the updates. I rarely attended this theater as a toddler, since its fare hit the Alpine first and lured me and my family to that venue; but I do remember seeing there some remarkable films.

One was Cecil B. DeMille’s “Unconquered,” which had opened at the Rivoli on 10 Oct. ‘47, and so must have made its way to the Shore Road early in 1948: the climactic escape down the river and over the waterfall scared me under the seat. Another was Zinnemann’s “The Search,” which had opened at the Victoria on 23 March '48, and so must have played at the SR during the following summer: the unbearably painful separation of the child from his mother deeply affected me at the age of six, and haunts me still—what a vulnerable age I was to see that film.

The confusion of the theater’s name with that of the nearby Cantonese restaurant (earlier located at a site closer to 5 Avenue than its present location near 4 Avenue) also caused heartache. One fine Spring day, my mom spontaneously proposed, “Let’s go the Shore Road today!” I leapt with joy. It turned out that she had meant the eatery, not the movie palace. That afternoon, I sobbed woefully in my chop suey.

Jody527 on May 14, 2005 at 10:47 pm

I was in the RKO Shore Road Theatre two weeks ago and walked up to the second level.Part of the original ceiling is still intact. The structure is not being demolished it is just being converted to retail space.

Theaterat on May 3, 2005 at 2:27 pm

Looks like this structure is going to be demolished. The side wall(that faces 4th Av) has a huge chunk of bricks missing. You can see inside the 2nd. floor balcony? level, but none of the theater seems to remain.

f13pt4rules on April 3, 2005 at 2:26 pm

I worked here when it was The Wiz from May 1992-Oct 2002. In that time The Wiz took over the whole building. I worked upstairs, but they had a drop ceiling so I couldn’t see the original ceiling. Eventually, The Wiz closed in Oct 2002. The building stood closed until The Zone (former founder of The Wiz) opened in Nov 2003. I also worked there till they shut down in early 2004. They soon gutted out the whole building and now will house multiple retail stores on lower level. The first of which is a small Foot Locker that is situated in the center of the buliding.

BoxOfficeBill on September 1, 2004 at 11:50 pm

How can you describe a theater that’s been dead for more than fifty years? I’ll try. It was not a great theater, but an odd one. Chiefly, it was much wider than deep. Its depth extended half the city block, approximately 90’. With the still-existing building, you can see today that its rear wall hits the property line of the private homes behind it on 85 Street. (If you walk up that street, you can view the rear wall by looking down the two or three alleys separating these homes.) Its width extends about 110’ along busy 86 Street. (The ever popular Century Department Storeâ€"the very first, parent-original one that dates to the early ‘60sâ€"faces it across the street.)

The windowless red-brick façade with shallow stone-fluted columns rises somewhat more than three stories. The pitched roof behind the facade rises higher than four stories. The main body of the building comes to an abrupt stop about 70’ in depth from the front. The remaining 20’ is a one-and-a-half story extension that housed the proscenium and screen, as well as several rows of front seats. Because there were absolutely no fly-space and no stage apart from a shallow apron, the theater was designed for movies only. And the building’s extreme width must have made for some uncomfortable screen-viewing from the far sides.

The box office faced the street, and a shallow but wide ticket-taker lobby led into a likewise shallow but wide interior promenade with a candy-stand in the middle and staircases to the balcony at either end. Nestled beneath these staircases were rest rooms, each gender to a side. The stairs led to a relatively capacious balcony whose rear abutted the façade, and whose front curved at an inward concave several yards from where the building’s main section joined the proscenium extension. The orchestra section was quite shallow as, with allowances for the lobby, promenade, and screen-apron, it could have measured no more than 60’ in depth: might that have allowed for about twenty-four rows of seats? The greater width would have allowed for three central- and two side-aisles.

The outside and inside ornamentation was fairly restrained. The large marquee sported blinking and running yellow lights around the trapezoidal RKO logo and theater name, with white-lettering on black-plate film titles. As with many RKO houses of that era, I remember the lobby’s black granite siding, white marble flooring, and brass-plated doors (any of it faux?). The interior style seemed a restrained beaux-arts, if by that term you mean a dominant Italian classicism punctuated by some eclectic but faint baroque features. The page on this site for the nearby RKO Dyker describes the latter’s style as Baroqueâ€"no, no, hardly so: both theaters were Palladian on the cheap: no side boxes, no proscenium bas reliefs, no tapestries, but the suggestion of organ screens on each side (neither theater had one) and some shallow fluted columns, with a recessed dome in the center ceiling. A lightly ornamented shell-like tympanum descended from the ceiling to the top of the space where the proscenium extension began. A few modern-style lighting fixtures descended from the ceiling. The color scheme was a grey-ivory or dull-beige. I remember the wide but shortened curtain as burgundy.

The films were subsequent-runs inherited from nearby Loew’s Bay Ridge, which had inherited its fare from Loew’s Alpine. If I’m right, the last film was “Inside Straight,” which had opened at either the Capitol or Loew’s State in March ’51. It would have made its way to the Shore Road by late May. Possibly the theater had poor air conditioning, and so the management closed it before summer took charge? The marquee came down quickly. Three or four large store-fronts then took over the ground floor: Davega Sports, Davoe Paints, latterly The Wiz. The second floor housed a series of dance studios, insurance carrier offices, and the like. On the third floor, a fairly successful banquet facility held sway for several decades. I’ve come to imagine that this facility kept the theater’s recessed dome and tympanum decoration for ornament. If I had the wit to check it out, I could have done so. But now I live more than 200 miles away. Folks in the neighborhood might want to investigate.

philipgoldberg on November 11, 2002 at 9:38 am

Recent research shows that this was a RKO house and that it closed a lot earlier that I thought, sometime in the early 1950’s.