Shore Theatre

1301 Surf Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11224

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Orlando
Orlando on August 19, 2016 at 8:42 am

I saw workmen bringing in some materials through a door which is the left side of the exterior entrance. There was one outer lobby postercase in poor condition and the cement work under the area over the boxoffice (demolished) that was quite intact but in cement form and unpainted. Work is about to start here soon.

theatrefan
theatrefan on July 14, 2016 at 7:02 am

As reported by the Coney Island Blog the Shore is now slated to become a hotel and catering hall with retail, there will also be a restaurant and rooftop swimming pool. http://www.theconeyislandblog.com/?p=3383

EcRocker
EcRocker on April 8, 2016 at 10:22 pm

Mark I know the building on the outside very well. Since most of the cars parking there are from Memorial Day through Labor Day. From what I recall the few times those doors were open the stage was at street level so load ins and outs would have to be ramped or forked of the trailer.. There is no other way around it.

markp
markp on March 5, 2016 at 5:30 am

EcRocker, Im sure something would be addressed about the stage door issue. Many years ago (mid 80’s) when we had live shows at the Ritz Theatre in Elizabeth NJ, our stage door was on Jefferson St with parking, etc. The city would just close off that one block to traffic on load in days. Not the best scenario, but it worked.

EcRocker
EcRocker on March 5, 2016 at 1:23 am

I hope this is not a case of to little to late. The Kings original cost to restore in 1999 was about $32 million. Then in around 2012 $69 million and the final cost was $95 million.

To add to the history of the Shore when the XXX movies stopped there was an attempt to turn it in to a bingo hall but it was found to be to hot in the summer and to cold in the winter due to the cost of heating and cooling the theatre.

If and when it does open people won’t be complaining about getting there since there are 4 subway lines that terminate there. The major logistical problems would be getting the tractor trailers since they have to use the streets. Also since the stage door is located on Stillwell Avenue and last i knew there were parking meters up and down the block where the former taxi stand used to be. Logistics at work.

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.

theatrefan
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.

jimvid
jimvid on January 21, 2016 at 5:59 pm

http://www.brooklyndaily.com/stories/2016/5/bn-shore-theater-sold-2016-01-29-bk.html

theatrefan
theatrefan on October 12, 2015 at 8:29 am

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

robboehm
robboehm on October 11, 2015 at 10:00 am

The entire building is empty?

theatrefan
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.

theatrefan
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.

LuisV
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
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

Text:

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 www.coneyislandhistory.org

JamesD
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
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
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
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… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jllTm9frw2k

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
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.

http://www.coneyislandhistory.org/news/?p=950

Two photos posted on the History Project’s flickr photostream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/27583836@N08/sets/72157630751139790/

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on February 5, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Nice shot of the Loews Coney Island, Tinseltoes.