Shore Theatre

1301 Surf Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11224

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Showing 1 - 25 of 151 comments

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!

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 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.

Matthew Prigge
Matthew Prigge on November 14, 2012 at 2:45 pm

If anyone has any stories about going to/ working at this threatre in its adult days, I would love to hear them. I am chronicling the histories of adult theatres in the US. Please contact me at Thanks!

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on November 3, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Pic from Brownstoner of Shore vertical blade after Hurricane Sandy posted in photos.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on August 25, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Article with plenty of photos in NY Daily News on 8/24/12 by Lore Croghan Link


The last of Coney Island’s movie palaces has been locked up tight for four decades – but flapper-era glamour flourishes within, shining through peeling plaster.

Historian Charles Denson got a rare glimpse inside the Shore Theater, and is sharing what he saw in a photo exhibit at the Coney Island History Project.

“They don’t build ‘em like this anymore,” said Denson, 59, whose visit to the Surf Ave. landmark took his breath away.

“It was constructed during the Roaring Twenties, the last time there were grand plans for Coney Island,” he said. “My hope is the Shore is part of Coney Island’s future, too.”

When the Shore’s caretaker Andy Badalamenti let him take photos in 2006, the theater’s seats were torn out and there was rubble underfoot. But the electricity worked perfectly – Badalamenti had rewired the building.

“I went into the balcony with flashlights,” Denson remembered. “Andy said, ‘Wait a minute,’ and flipped a switch, and it all lit up. I was awestruck.”

The golden glow lit up a mix of neo-Renaissance grandeur and nautical fantasy he had never noticed when he went to the movies there as a teen.

Graceful arches flanked the stage where celebs like Al Jolson and Jerry Lewis had performed, and the soaring ceiling was crowned by a 150-foot-in-diameter dome.

In the mezzanine, a dramatic semicircle of pillars stood before walls painted glowing red. Overhead, plaster mermaids set in sea-green diamonds danced.

Henry Hudson’s ship, the Half Moon, sailed above the sea sirens.

What he saw gave him hope: “Theaters in much worse shape have been brought back to life,” he said.

Denson promised Badalamenti, who died last year, that he wouldn’t go public with his pix to avoid provoking break-ins by scavengers.

But this year, a photographer with a blog about abandoned theaters, Matt Lambros, figured out a way into the Shore. His pictures are all over the Internet, with pickup up by Gothamist and Huffington Post. The Shore’s secrets are secrets no longer – and security has been beefed up at the building to foil copycats.

The theater – a Loew’s for much of its five-decade run and a porn palace right at the end – was long vacant when Horace Bullard bought it in the late 1970s.

It won’t sit idle much longer, he said – he’s putting it up for sale by year’s end after he repairs the building exteriors, which he has permits to work on.

“Somebody will come along and know what to do with it,” he said. “It’s a beautiful place. It has a name. It has a history.”

He has been widely criticized for letting the Shore languish, most recently by Coney Island’s unofficial mayor Dick Zigun – who said city officials should take it over through eminent domain.

Bullard shrugged off the salvo: “Dick Zigun is not the city,” he said.

The man who mothballed the famous movie palace has at least one defender, though.

“He installed a new roof and stopped water damage – it cost a fortune,” Denson said. “He’s a controversial figure, but whatever you think of him, he preserved our theater.”

The photos stay up through Oct. 14 at CIHP on W. 12th St. See

JamesD on August 6, 2012 at 10:58 am

I’d agree with you if we could see more of them, but it’s only like 4 photos of the theater then the office building. I’d love to see the building saved, but I doubt it will come from a youtube video that only 260 people have watched.

AmusingTheZillion on August 6, 2012 at 7:44 am

Charles Denson’s photos/video of the Shore Theater are beautiful and heartbreaking. Let’s hope a buyer who wants to restore the interior comes forward as a result of seeing the photos. Things are looking up for the north side of Surf Ave. There are new restaurants and bars including a Grimaldi’s Pizzeria as well as a new commercial building breaking ground on an empty lot until recently owned by Shore Theater owner Horace Bullard.

If no private buyer comes forward, the City should save the Shore by either buying it —the selling price is now $13M—or a Demolition by Neglect lawsuit which, if successful, requires the owner to fix up the property or sell it. More in my new blog post about the Shore.

JamesD on August 5, 2012 at 12:25 pm

That video is boring. I’d like to see more of the theater, not the abandoned office building.

Coney_Island_History_Project on August 3, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Coney Island’s Shore Theater, a film by Charles Denson, director of the Coney Island History Project and author of “Coney Island Lost and Found.” The film features some of his photos of the interior of the Shore…

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on August 1, 2012 at 6:09 am

There’s a new post on the Shore Theatre on After the Final Curtain, along with some pictures. Check it out here

Coney_Island_History_Project on July 27, 2012 at 8:29 am

New Exhibit: Inside the Shore Theater: Photographs by Charles Denson

Never-before-seen photos of the ornate interior of the Shore Theater Building by Coney Island History Project director Charles Denson are on view at our exhibition center through September 3rd. The new exhibit “Inside the Shore Theater: Photographs by Charles Denson” is open to the public on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 12 noon – 6pm. Admission to the Coney Island History Project is free of charge. The History Project is located at 3059 West 12th Street at the entrance to Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, just a few steps off the Boardwalk.

“This purpose of this exhibit is to remind the public of the importance of the Shore Theater and the role it should play in the future of Coney Island,” said Mr. Denson. “With the latest round of proposals to build casinos and hotels in Coney Island, it’s easy to imagine a restored Shore Theater as the centerpiece of a year-round entertainment venue.”

The seven-story, neo-Renaissance style theater and vaudeville house and adjacent 14-story office building at the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues opened in 1925 and operated for half a century. Both structures have been closed and sealed up for decades. The theater’s facade was granted landmark status in 2010, but the interior is not protected and vulnerable to demolition. The images provide a rare glimpse of a Coney Island treasure.

Two photos posted on the History Project’s flickr photostream:

TLSLOEWS on February 5, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Nice shot of the Loews Coney Island, Tinseltoes.

johndereszewski on December 27, 2010 at 9:01 am

The Landmarks Commission’s report in support of the Shore’s designation has just been put on line and is linked below. (If the link does not work, you can access it via the Commission’s web site in NYC.GOV.)

Congratulations to all involved.

View link

Bway on December 23, 2010 at 9:59 am

The interior is in pretty bad shape. I have seen photos that were taken over 6-10 years ago, and back then it was already in pretty dire shape. Part of the plaster ceiling collapsed on one side of the proscenium for sure, and who knows how much more. Also, I am sure it hasn’t gotten better in the last 10 years either.

AmusingTheZillion on December 22, 2010 at 11:44 pm

The building is for sale for $12 Million! The broker says there are prospective buyers.

Only the exterior is landmarked at this time. Elisabeth de Bourbon of the Landmarks Preservation Commission told ATZ that by law the commission may consider only those buildings which are “customarily open to the public” for interior designation.
View link


bazookadave on December 20, 2010 at 6:11 pm

Thank goodness it has been saved.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on December 19, 2010 at 9:47 am

Per New York Post 12/16/10

Coney theater landmarked

A long-shuttered 85-year-old Coney Island theater that once hosted Al Jolson will be preserved as part of the city’s amusement-district revamp.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission yesterday unanimously approved designating the 2,500-seat, seven-story Coney Island Theatre building on Surf Avenue — renamed the “Shore Theater” in 1964 — a city landmark.

View link

LuisV on December 14, 2010 at 6:44 am

WooHoo! Excellent news! I still wonder about the true condition of the interior.

AmusingTheZillion on December 14, 2010 at 6:16 am

GOOD NEWS! The Shore Theater will be landmarked today!
Once the building is landmarked, the City’s Demolition by Neglect laws could come into play. I would not be surprised if the City ended up acquiring the building
View link

Tom Brennan
Tom Brennan on November 17, 2010 at 3:54 am

Well if you ever find them, I would love to see them.

William on October 19, 2010 at 11:54 am

Maybe, but that person that posted them asked this site to remove them because the owner wanted them removed. I remember downloading them ages ago, but I don’t remember disc or drive they are on.

Tom Brennan
Tom Brennan on October 19, 2010 at 10:04 am

@William, thanks for the update… is there any possible way to get those photos elsewhere? Via email perhaps?

LuisV on August 22, 2010 at 8:05 am

Whew! It’s a relief! The Real Deal had, in fact, used the wrong photo that showed the Shore Theatre. It was changed after I sent them an email asking why no mention was made of the efforts to landmark the Shore Theatre. It was only then, that they changed the photo.

Bway on August 21, 2010 at 2:42 pm

So I assume this has nothing to do with the Shore Theater?