Canarsie Theater

9310 Avenue L,
Brooklyn, NY 11236

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Canarsie Theatre exterior

Viewing: Photo | Street View

This was a theater in Canarsie, Brooklyn on Avenue L. The Canarsie Theatre opened in 1927 with 1,470 seats. It was triplexed in March 1980. I recall they used to have normal hours, then reverted to odd ones. I remember “Purple Rain” and “All of Me” playing here in the 1980’s. Very cramped as I recall.

It closed in 2004. There were plans to turn the former theater into a banquet hall, which never materialized.

Contributed by gena

Recent comments (view all 46 comments)

TPH on March 4, 2010 at 9:38 am

Although I never got to go to this theatre up through the late 1990’s I was frequently in the neighborhood and got a sense as to the special role that the treatre played along the commercial strip on Avenue L. It’s a pity that area residents have to travel and contend with the crowds at Kings Plaza and the UA Sheepshead Bay, making a trip to the movies more of an ordeal than a recreational activity.

RayHarp on March 4, 2010 at 12:33 pm

ANYONE INTERESTED IN TRYING TO SAVE THE CANARSIE THEATER, or maybe even try to find someone to restore it, renovate it, or convert it to a live theater/playhouse/music hall, let’s try to form some kind of grass-roots organization. I’m in California now, but I’m willing to work on-line and by telephone to try to organize such an effort.
We may start by trying to get the CANARSIE THEATER designated as a National or State or City of New York Historic Site. That would at least give time to work and save it from possible demolition. INTERESTED PERSONS may send an E-MAIL to me, RayH, at a new E-Mail address I am going to create and post in the next message in a few minutes.

RayHarp on March 4, 2010 at 1:01 pm


As per my previous message, I just established an E-MAIL ADDRESS:

Everyone interested, please send me a message…

Hopefully, there will be a lot of interest in this.

I look forward to hearing from HUNDREDS of you…

Or, at least, DOZENS ! Thanks, RayH

Bway on March 10, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Thanks Ray for that great story!

Unfortunately, I think it’s too late for the Canarsie theater, at least the interior, it has been gutted inside (see April, 2009 Message with photo link above). Hopefully they can at least preserve the exterior.

RayHarp on March 10, 2010 at 5:24 pm



GaryCohen on October 11, 2010 at 12:05 pm

I drove through my old area of Canarsie yesterday. I made sure to drive down Avenue L, a street that I walked on many, many times. The entire building housing the Canarsie theater, including he luncheonette that used to be next door, was painted a wierd-looking pink color. The marquee was still up. However this was painted too. No longer were the letters there showing the last films playing (Lord of the Rings and Cheaper by the Dozen.) When a neighborhood goes downhill, the local theaters are always some of the first things to go. Its always very sad.

Lenox on April 30, 2011 at 2:05 pm

I drove on Ave L about 6 months ago and stopped at Originals for pizza .

Pwf1930 on January 29, 2013 at 9:45 pm

I was born in canarsie and my earliest recollection was the picture Gone With the Wind in 1939 when i was 9 years old.My mom had taken me and i was thrilled to see a movie in color.I think every kid waited for Saturday to go to the Canarsie theater and see two pictures,news of the day,cartoons,and mostly for the chapter,which ran for ten or more episodes.Each week it would pick up where it left off.God forbid you missed a week!As some of the people stated here the price was cheap,and i remember paying a dime to get in.If you were lucky and had an extra nickle get a candy bar or a drink.Times were bad in the early 40’s and the dime was hard to come by.Many times i took flyers for upcoming movies and delivered them to homes in the neighbor hood mail boxes for the manager of the canarsie theater,and received two free tickets. As kids growing up in canarsie that was our pride and joy,the Canarsie theater.Wasn’t much else we had. I still have fond memories of Canarsie,and that Movie theater.Broke my heart to hear its gone.

mikepiper54 on December 13, 2013 at 6:57 pm

I was 8 years old when we moved to Canarsie in 1962, and lived on E. 92nd St. just off Ave L. I remember my first time at the Canarsie Theater fondly. It was a Saturday, and my Mom sent my brother and I to the matinee for the afternoon. A Frank Sinatra rat-pack western and another western were playing. My brother and I liked it so much that we just stayed in the theater, watching the same two flicks over and over again, and didn’t leave until about 9:00 that night. Needless to say, Mom and Dad were highly pissed. We paid the price, and were grounded for a long time. I had many a good time at that old hall over the years, and miss it’s old-time grandness dearly. I guess it’s kiss of death was when it went multiplex.

johndereszewski on December 15, 2013 at 8:37 am

Mike, your fond memories got me to think of the time I overstayed my visit to the old Greenpoint RKO and had to be rudely picked up by my father at about 10:30 PM. I was about 10 at the time. The picture that captured my attention was Disney’s “The Swiss Family Robinson”.

While I was not officially grounded, it was quite a while before my parents let me visit a movie house alone.

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