RKO Greenpoint Theatre

825 Manhattan Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11222

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B.F. Keith's Greenpoint Theatre exterior

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Greenpoint Theatre first opened on October 10, 1908, and was part of the Percy Williams chain of vaudeville theatres. It was taken over by B.F. Keith in 1912, and in 1930, became part of the RKO chain.

The RKO Greenpoint Theatre was closed in 1965. This old Brooklyn theatre was demolished years ago…

Contributed by Ed Solero, Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 87 comments)

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on December 31, 2010 at 6:22 am

Bway, I wish I had you for my buyer. I had to shell out $43 for the set.

While the Index does provide excellent reference materials, it, unfortunately, does not contain a large number of photos. There is a nice one of the Wagner that I have not seen before – although the one you posted is better – and a great shot looking up Graham Ave. that captures the old Folly Theatre. And there are a number of others. However, you should not buy the Index if you only want to look at the pictures.

Regarding your question of what became of the old Opera House, the record, at least to date, is pretty blank. Most of the western portion of the block, which abuts Lorimer St., is dominated by the Greenpoint YMCA. So, it is possible that this large building could have been constructed on the old theater’s site. However, the Index places it closer to the Manhattan Ave. corner, which is not occupied by any buildings of note. So, beyond sheer speculation, we really don’t know.

PS. Have a wonderful New Year!

Bway
Bway on January 1, 2011 at 5:28 am

Yes, I looked at the google street view, and there are typical tenement style old buildings on two of the corners, and the other two corners have buildings that could have replaced something, it could be either of the other two corners, one of which has a mid-century brick building, and the other, a newer condo building, which replaced something. Here’s a google street view:

View link

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on January 1, 2011 at 6:29 am

Bway, you took the google street view of the Manhattan Ave./Meserole Street intersection, which is in Williamsburg. The old opera house was situated just west of the Manhattan/Meserole Avenue intersection, in Greenpoint. If you take this view from Manhattan Ave. looking west on Meserole, the opera house would have been situated on the right side of the street

Bway
Bway on January 1, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Interesting. I wonder if this attractive building is it:

View link

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on January 1, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Bway, at one time, I thought that the building you referenced might have been the old opera house, but I don’t think this is the case for at least two reasons. First, it is situated at the southwest corner of these two streets while the Index places it at or near the northwest corner. (Not an absolute disqualifier but still pretty significant.) Second – and more importantly – in checking some of the Building Dept. info for this site, I just do not think that the current building is that old.

With that said, I very fondly remember this building as the home of the New Garden Chinese Restaurant. It was, at the time – late 50’s/early 60’s – just about the only restaurant in Greenpoint that was not a diner. While, in retrospect, the quality of the food was pretty poor – their best dish was breaded veal cutlet, which was very tasty – we didn’t know the difference and thought it was a real classy place. The grand staircase leading to this second floor establishment made it seem almost regal!) At one time – before my time but well within my parants memory – this large restaurant hosted dance parties. This proved to be a harbinger for the future, since the place now hosts a Polish nightclub.

I think the old opera house was actually situated between the Greenpoint Y and Manhattan Ave. As a review of the goggle map indicates, nothing of interest currently exists in this area.

jflundy
jflundy on March 1, 2011 at 9:34 am

View link

Link to photo for sale on ebay taken March 3, 1928

lfreimauer
lfreimauer on March 1, 2011 at 1:03 pm

It’s amazing when you realize how many RKO and Loew’s theaters there were in so many local neighborhoods and basically they are all gone.

Hard to belive how times have changed.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on April 25, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Wow, TT, this may very well have been the last time that real vaudeville acts appeared at the Greenpoint. By the time I came of cinematic age in the mid-to-late 50’s, vaudeville at the RKO Greenpoint was clearly a thing of the past.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on April 25, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Actually, TT, Greenpoint was named after the green shoreline that the initial Dutch explorers encountered near the south bank of the intersection of the East River and Newtown Creek. There was nothing “Irish” about it.

By the early 1950’s, Greenpoint had hosted a large Irish population for nearly a century. So, the vaudeville act you referenced must have had a wide following.

LugosiResearch
LugosiResearch on December 29, 2012 at 6:28 pm

On Thursday 15 February and Saturday 24 February 1951, Bela “Dracula” Lugosi presented his in person Horror and Magic Stage show at RKO Greenpoint. Currently I am conducting research on all things Lugosi; if anyone out there actually saw either or both of these shows and/or has memorabilia (poster, handbill, photos) related to these shows, please contact Bill at Thanks in advance for any assistance!

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