Subway Theater

158 Myrtle Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11201

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Subway Theater

The Subway Theater, on Myrtle Avenue in downtown Brooklyn, was a “Negro” movie house in the 1930’s.

It was demolished around 2007.

Contributed by philipgoldberg

Recent comments (view all 19 comments)

Theaterat on May 23, 2005 at 11:38 am

Astynax….While growing up in NY in the early 60s(when I was able to go to the movies alone or with friends), I never remembered any segregated theaters anywhere.None of the big movie palaces in Brooklyn or even Manhattan had any restricted seating policies. Actually, it all very democratic( in the true meaning of the word}. You bought your ticket, you went in, and you saw the show.My friends from grade school were a mixed group, both racially and ethnically, and we never encountered any problems whatsoever.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on June 21, 2006 at 4:31 pm

Currently as seen in June 2006, the Subway Theatre building still stands. The triangular site which contains several other small buildings is now totally closed up and awaiting imminent demolition.

The entrance to the Subway Theatre remains standing at 158 Myrtle Avenue, whilst around the corner was a subsidiary entrance/exit at 243 Flatbush Extension, that in recent years has been in use as Studio 243 Bar & Lounge. The auditorium of the Subway Theatre has been rendered over externally and actually looks like a recent building, but looking at the rear-side of it the brickwork is very old there there is some sort of old apperatus on the roof which looks like an ancient cooling sytem. The last use for the auditorium was as a 24 Hours Car Wash facility.

Just to the left of the 243 Bar & Lounge and to the right of the corner chicken eatery (which was never the theatre entrance), is the bricked up entrance to the abandoned Myrtle Avenue subway station.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on June 21, 2006 at 5:45 pm

The Subway Theatre was re-named Ace Theatre from 1949 and closed in 1950.

Back in the 1920’s the currently closed up chicken take-a-way on the corner of Myrtle Avenue and Flatbush Extension was an Oyster Restaurant.

PKoch on June 22, 2006 at 5:09 am

Thanks, KenRoe.

The chicken take-a-way was a Kennedy Fried Chicken, I think.

“Take-a-way” instead of “take-out” ? You’re a Brit ! More power to you !

God save the Queen !

PKoch on June 12, 2007 at 2:18 pm

Thanks, KenRoe, for posting these.

The closed and abandoned Myrtle Avenue station was on a subway line (B ? D ? N ? Q ? W ?) that runs under Flatbush Avenue and thence under the Manhattan Bridge, and has a kinescopic Keith Haring – type work of art set up on it (I saw it in December 1980)in which successive views of slightly different images through narrow slits gives the illusion of motion, like stop-motion animation. The precise technical term for this escapes me.

But it was NOT on the now defunct and demolished Myrtle Avenue el, which ran over Myrtle Avenue until October 3, 1969.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 21, 2007 at 12:21 am

Warren posted a link to this forgotten-ny article about Albee Square over on the RKO Albee page. If you scroll down about 2/3 of the way you’ll come across a large vintage B&W image of the Flatbush Avenue Extension looking towards the elevated Myrtle Avenue subway line. At the far right is a canopy that reads “Photo Plays” belonging to the old Subway Theater. If you compare to Ken Roe’s 2006 photos above, you’ll see the same arch detail on the facade above where the canopy used to be. Ken actually describes this as a bricked-in exit door, with the original entrance located around the corner on Myrtle Avenue. I’m not sure if this doorway was used as an auxilliary entrance or if the canopy was merely installed for advertising purposes – since Flatbush Avenue Extension was unfettered by the El tracks.

The photo also clearly illustrates PKoch’s observation that the underground Myrtle Avenue subway station (you can make out the large signage for the station entrance just beyond the theater canopy) was distinct from the elevated Myrtle Avenue line.

PKoch on August 21, 2007 at 7:49 am

Thanks for your above post, EdSolero.

I think the term for the work of art installed in the abandoned Myrtle Avenue subway station is “zoetrope”.

Bway on April 22, 2010 at 6:54 pm

Here’s a photo of the Subway Theater:

Click Here for Photo

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