Chopin Theatre

910 Manhattan Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11222

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Chopin Theatre

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This neighborhood house, which opened as the American Theatre, was for years a second run house. The last few years it was operated by the same owner as the Avenue U Theatre. It was advertised as a twin, but was a single screen. They would charge a seperate admission for each feature and then clear the house after each one.

Contributed by RobertR

Recent comments (view all 105 comments)

johndereszewski on November 16, 2010 at 3:21 am

Thanks for the article. I must have missed it.

In response to the “terrified” Starbucks fan, one should respond that only multi-plexes situated in the “new” 42nd Street have bedbug problems!

The article is wrong in asserting that a disco was situated in the old theater before it became a Burger King and then a Starbucks. Instead, a disco continues to occupy the building’s second floor, which was never part of the movie house and previously hosted a bowling alley and a bingo hall. (I believe the old Strand Theatre building on Fulton St. also hosted a second floor bowling alley. I would not have wanted to watch a movie with bowling balls rolling over my head!)

By the way, as I noted in a previous comment, the Starbucks people actually did a pretty nice job in designing the coffee house. It has a somewhat arty cinematic theme with bare brick walls. It could have been a lot worse.

Bway on November 16, 2010 at 10:15 pm

So if the disco isn’t in the old theater, what takes up the old theater space location? The Starbucks and burger king only took up the lobbies if I am not mistaken.

johndereszewski on November 17, 2010 at 1:06 am

Hello Chris. Good to hear from you.

As best as I can determine, the Starbucks coffee shoppe takes up both all of the old lobby area – which was a pretty modest affair to begin with – as well as the rear area of the old movie theater. The remainder of the theater is currently used – if it is used at all – for storage or for the non-public portion of the Starbucks store. The disco is clearly only situated on the second floor. My guess is that any portion of the old Chopin that is not in use has pretty much been altered beyond recognition.

Bway on November 18, 2010 at 12:50 am

I have been in the Burger King when it was there, and remember there was a side entrance, as well as the one under the marquee. It was also decorated sort of “film” which was neat. I have not been in there since it became Starbucks.
Have you been in the old Meserole across the street which is now a drug store? That place is really neat, and is very intact. When I was there some years ago, they were even projecting slides of sales on the old screen area!

johndereszewski on November 18, 2010 at 1:19 am

Bway, again good to hear from you. I think you would like the Starbucks if you ever pass by this way. They did a nice job in creating what could have otherwise been a pretty dreary place.

Regarding the old Meserole, I have been there many times and agree that it retains the essence of the old movie palace. A few nice accounts of its current situation appear on its CT page.

Hope all is otherwise well – and talk soon.

Willburg145 on June 13, 2011 at 7:26 pm

I went to the this theater several times. I saw MIDNIGHT EXPRESS there. I also saw a movie with Farah Fawcett (her husband was murdered) I recall that by that time it was indeed a twin with separate screens.

johndereszewski on October 22, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Just caught your recent comment, Willburg145. I was surprised about your remark that the Chopin had actually been twinned and wonder whether you had the correct theater in mind. As far as I remember, the Chopin remained a single screen theater until the end and that the only thing “twin” about it was the odd – and not very wise – policy, described in the introduction, of showing fifferent pictures after another and forcing the patrons to either leave or pay a separate price at the end of each performance. If you – or any other commenter – have any further evidence to the contrary to share, please do so.

Bway on October 23, 2011 at 1:44 am

I wonder if that really was a foolish practice, and I wonder why more theaters didn’t do it. While I can totally understand some of the negatives (large 2 hour+ gap between showing times for a movie – meaning that if you couldn’t make the 7:00 showing the next one would be before 11:00, and that’s if the movies shown are under 2 hours). Some of the positives would be that they could in essence make the theater a “twin” without having two screens. If people didn’t care for one of the movies showing, perhaps they would like the other, meaning that week you wouldn’t lose that patron.

johndereszewski on October 23, 2011 at 1:28 pm

While the concept isn’t inherently unwise, I just don’t think it was a good fit for Greenpointers – at least with the Greenpointers of that time. These were people who did not pay much attention to movie starting times and just went to the theater when they could get out. If the movie was just about to start, fine; but if the show was in mid-run, you would just see the rest of it and catch the beginning of the film on the next showing. Given this approach, the practice of forcing people to leave at the end of every performance would raise problems.

Bway on October 23, 2011 at 4:37 pm

I guess I am “trained” now on how theaters operate, but I do understand what you are saying. When I was a kid, we would just go to the movie theater and just spend all day there. Gone are the days of going to a beautiful movie Palace like the Madison, Ridgewood, Oasis, Elmwood, or fill in a blank…. Kids today will never know the feeling of walking into a large building like that chosing between the balcony or downstairs, and coming into the dark building with the credits from the showing before going….

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