Shore Theatre

1301 Surf Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11224

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Shore Theatre

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The Loew’s Coney Island Theatre seated 2,472 when it opened on June 17, 1925 with Blanche Sweet and Ronald Colman in “The Sporting Venus”. It was taken over by the Brandt Theatres circuit in May 1964 and was renamed Shore Theatre. In early-1966, film use had ceased and live theatre was presented, but this was a short lived venture, and films returned.

By 1971, the Shore Theatre had begun running X-Rated adult movies and was possibly closed around March 1973. It has remained unused and empty ever since.

On the evening of October 29, 2012, the historic ‘Shore’ blade sign on the front right hand side of the theatre was badly damaged by Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy and it has been removed.

The Shore Theatre was sold in January, 2016, with the new owner planning to restore it and possibly bring back live entertainment, and convert the office block into a hotel.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 158 comments)

LuisV on June 20, 2013 at 8:20 am

I am an eternal optimist. Now that Coney Island’s future is brighter than it has been in decades it is possible that this actually bodes well for a restoration of this historic theater.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on June 20, 2013 at 8:46 am

I am an eternal optimist.

You and Nellie Forbush!

LuisV on June 20, 2013 at 9:43 am

I don’t believe that all old theaters can be saved. At the end of the day they must be able to pay for themselves if not in the renvation phase, certainly in the operating phase. That said, I never lost hope on the Kings and that will be one of the biggest success stories. I am also hopeful on the Brooklyn Paramount being eventually brought back to a full performing arts space and Chicago’s Uptown. I am NOT optimistic on the RKO Ketihs Flushing. Alas, we can’t win them all. Speaking of which, check out the page for the United Palace (Loews 175th Street). They have a campaign to bring movies back and they are more than halfway to their goal of $40,000. I just contributed myself! Finally! A real palace that will have regularly scheduled films in Manhattan!

theatrefan on June 30, 2015 at 5:33 am

Is there any chance of the Vertical sign being put back? I thought that since the exterior was a landmark the owner would be required to replace it. This October will be three years since Sandy destroyed the original one.

theatrefan on October 11, 2015 at 7:33 am

There has been talk in the local publications that the City Of NY should use the laws of eminent domain to take this theatre away from it’s current owner Jasmine Bullard, because the building if basically just an eyesore that is rotting away. I was here last night and the front of the theatre now is an encampment for the homeless who are seeking shelter under the scaffolding that’s in place around the front. I hope something will be done soon before it’s too late and it gets condemned.

robboehm on October 11, 2015 at 10:00 am

The entire building is empty?

theatrefan on October 12, 2015 at 8:29 am

Yes unfortunately, and it has been for many, many years.

jimvid on January 21, 2016 at 5:59 pm

theatrefan on February 1, 2016 at 3:49 pm

That is great news! I hope they will be able to restore plenty of the former glory this theatre once used to have.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on February 2, 2016 at 6:40 am

Text of Brooklyn Daily article:

They’re shoring it up!

A developer bought Coney Island’s long-neglected Shore Theater and plans to restore the 90-year-old landmark to its former glory, the buyer’s legal counsel confirmed.

“The people of Coney Island can start looking forward to an amazing theater,” said lawyer Igor Oberman. “They don’t want this to be just a seasonal venue — it will be for all seasons benefiting not only tourists, but the people here year-round.”

Jasmine Bullard, daughter of People’s Playground land baron Horace Bullard, sold the icon to Pye Properties for $20 million last week, the Coney Island Blog first reported.

The rebirth bodes well for the People’s Playground, which area businesses and political leaders have been pushing to become a destination in the winter as well as summer, according to one neighborhood booster.

“This is wonderful news,” said Boardwalk impresario and Coney Island U.S.A. founder Dick Zigun, who has long advocated for the ailing theater. “If Coney Island is on a trajectory to go year-round and build hotels, you have to have nighttime entertainment and that’s the place to do it, at a landmarked Broadway-equivalent theater.”

The building has been vacant for decades and fell into serious disrepair, and Pye is still determining what it will take to make the theater show-worthy again, Oberman said.

“They’re still in the assessment phase,” he said. “The property has been derelict for many years, so right now they’re doing structural studies, and trying to understand the physical condition of the building.”

The theater was built in 1925 as the Loew’s Coney Island, according to historian Charles Denson. It housed Vaudeville acts in its heyday, he said. The Brandt Company took it over in 1964, and the theater started showing X-rated movies in 1972 in a last-ditch attempt to lure audiences.

Kansas Fried Chicken mogul Horace Bullard purchased the property in 1978 hoping to convert it into a hotel and casino, but the state decided against allowing gambling in the People’s Playground. The land baron put the building up for sale and let it sit derelict for the next several decades, drawing criticism from Coney Island advocates as the structure deteriorated and became an encampment of homeless people. Bullard died in 2013, and a 2015 announcement that the city would scoop up other derelict Coney Island properties that passed to his family reignited calls to seize the property through eminent domain.

It’s not the first historic Loew’s theater to be pulled off the historical scrap heap — the Kings Theatre in Flatbush reopened last year after the city hired a theater group to restore the iconic venue.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.

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