Halsey Theatre

928 Halsey Street,
Brooklyn, NY 11233

Unfavorite 1 person favorited this theater

Showing 1 - 25 of 64 comments

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 6, 2018 at 3:17 pm

This web page from Brownstone Detectives says that the Halsey Theatre was built in 1912. The adjacent Arcadia Dance Hall and Broadway Arena flanking the theater were built around the same time by the same developer. The page notes that the Halsey closed in 1943 and was occupied through the late 1940s by a company that made cardboard leis and party favors. The arena next door was the boxing venue. All three structures were demolished around 1967 to make way for a New York City Housing Authority senior citizens housing project.

The caption of one of the photos in the January, 1913, issue of the trade journal Architecture and Building to which I linked in an earlier comment says that the Halsey Theatre was designed by the architectural firm Harde & Short. However, a biographical sketch of the firm says that the partnership was dissolved in 1909 (confirmed by this article in The New York Times from December 1, 2005), so unless the theater was designed some two to three years before it opened it was more likely one or the other of them who completed the project. I suppose it’s possible that the design was done late in 1909 and construction began in 1911, but I haven’t found the opening date of the theater, nor the exact date on which the partnership of Harde & Short was dissolved.

Herbert Spencer Steinhardt (later shortened to Harde) and Richard Thomas Short are remembered for a number of lavishly decorated apartment buildings completed between 1904 and 1909. Short went on to design a large number of theaters, mostly in Brooklyn, under the professional name R. Thomas Short.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on March 6, 2018 at 1:42 pm

Hello-

didn’t William Fox at one time manage this theater?

TorstenAdair
TorstenAdair on August 26, 2017 at 4:56 pm

1) This theater does not appear on the “Movie Theaters in Bushwick Brooklyn, NY” neighborhood map. (Probably because it’s listed as “Bedford-Stuyvesant”, but technically, the border is Broadway, and you list theaters on the southeast side of Broadway as “Bushwick”. . 1.5) Yes, I know it would look crowded, but how about a one-stop map for all the theaters? So we can just zoom in to a region, and not have to worry about neighborhood listings, or only seeing 30 listings and map placements at a time.

TorstenAdair
TorstenAdair on August 26, 2017 at 4:51 pm

2) http://collections.mcny.org/Collection/Loew’s%20Melba%20Theatre%20and%20Halsey%20Theatre-2F3XC5XJUAB.html 75.207.54 Anthony F. Dumas Loew’s Melba Theatre and Halsey Theatre DATE:1936 Formerly Keeney’s. Livingston St. opp. Hanover Place. Brooklyn N.Y. | Halsey St. near Broadway.; drawing (visual work) pen-and-ink drawing H: 11 in, W: 16 in

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 10, 2011 at 6:11 pm

Two interior photos of the Halsey Theatre appear on page 39 of the January, 1913, issue of the trade journal Architecture and Building.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on February 21, 2011 at 6:01 am

After posting the last comment, I perused the Halsey’s page in the Brooklyn Theatre Index. A few interesting facts emerged.

Most significantly, the Index provides a 1943 closing date, which conflicts with the 1945 date cited in the previous comments. The Index’s documentation – a 1945 NY Times article that, in the course of describing the property’s sale, notes that the Halsey had been dark for about two years – seems pretty strong, though not absolutely conclusive.

Another 1945 article, this time from the Brooklyn Eagle, notes the possibility of the old theater being converted into a boxing venue. While it is unclear if this ever came to pass, it does provide some documentation for several previous comments. There was probably much comment in the community that the place COULD become a boxing site that may have lingered in people’s memories whether or not the move was ever made.

The last property transaction cited occurred in 1953, when it was probably converted into a factory. It is interesting to note that, between the 1945 and 1953 sales, the assessed valuation of the property had plunged from $100,000 to $50,000. My guess is that the intervening decline in the community’s fortunes during that time was not the only reason for this development.

Getting back to Jackie Gleason, it is clear that the Halsey provided many fond memories to him. Although it closed sometime in the mid-1940’s, it remained Ralph Kramdan’s movie house of choice well into the following decade. Long live the Halsey!

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on February 20, 2011 at 11:46 pm

I just saw one of the “lost” Honeymooner episodes where Ralph referred to the Halsey. In this piece, he was planning a surprise anniversary party for Alice at the “Kit Kat Club', which was situated right down the street from the Halsey. (Taking Alice to the movies was the ploy he would use to get her to the club.)

My question is, does anyone remember if something like the Kit Kat Club ever existed here? Given all of the other references to local people and businesses that pop up on the Honeymooners, the possibility that this is also the case with the Kit Kat is quite likely.

I really enjoyed perusing the memories of the Halsey and its neighborhood on this page.

IrishDJKevin
IrishDJKevin on August 28, 2009 at 9:52 am

It was converted into a factory (Merimakers). My mom worked there in the early 50’s.

Bway
Bway on April 19, 2009 at 10:06 am

It looks like the Halsey was already abandoned by 1967, it must have been torn down soon after this photo was taken. Anyone know when it closed to movies?

jflundy
jflundy on March 19, 2009 at 1:13 pm

The 1924 Eagle Almanac lists the Halsey as seating 2500, with George W. Powell as manager.

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on July 18, 2008 at 8:05 am

Thank you, Zitch, particularly, in advance for those photos you may find, and which you may be posting.

Peter K.

geoj99
geoj99 on July 18, 2008 at 8:02 am

Peter, Kevin,

I am currently going through old family photos of the Halsey theater area..I have plenty so far of Sarotoga park and one of Jim Proces bar where Jackie Gleason hung out……..hopefully I will be able to find one of the Halsey theater marquee
..I am also reviewing photos of the Ridgewood hangout around the theater…if I come up with any of the marquee i’ll let you guys know…another bit of movie/tv trivia….I think I remember my mom mentioning that Jack Lord (Hawaii 5-0 ) growing up around Sarotoga and Halsey street also….Kevin????

Kevin….my uncle was Charlie Eckhardt…..sadly he passed away in Florida 1992….I believe he did indeed know your family..

Zitch

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on July 18, 2008 at 7:27 am

Zitch and Kevin :

I remember both the Chaplains and the Halsey Bops, not personally, but as graffiti, the Chaplains en route on the B-52 Gates Avenue Civic Center bus from Ridgewood to downtown Brooklyn, somewhere on a building in Bushwick or Bed Stuy, and the Halsey Bops on the concrete abutments of the Cypress Avenue LIRR / Connecting Line trestle, along with “Russ and Connie” (on the northern abutment).

I remember thinking that maybe “Chaplains” was a dirty word that I should ask my parents about before using it aloud.

Please be advised : There is a Warren (G. Harris) out for our arrest for OT posting.

Any connection between the Halsey Bops and the Halsey Theatre ?

Does anyone have a chronology of Jackie Gleason’s appearances at the Halsey, first in the audience, then as a performer, on Amateur nights ?

Does anyone have any images of the Halsey, either interior or exterior, when it was still a theater ? Perhaps one of those 1930’s NYC tax photos, with the sign in the foreground, such as I have seen for the Eagle / Luxor and the Monroe ?

Pax et bonum,
Peter K.

IrishDJKevin
IrishDJKevin on July 17, 2008 at 5:43 pm

Zitch,

Spoke to to my older brother Ed (somehow he is now my younger brother). He thinks he remembers a Charlie Eckhardt. However, he says the landlord was Mr. Hardey (not Halsey). He brought the building in the mid 50’s. He spent a lot of money putting in central heating and hot water. The “slumlord prior to that was Mr. Giagantie.

Spoke to someone at work. He remembers a gang called the Halsey Bops. THe only gang I remember was the Chaplins.

Pax et bonum,
Kevin

IrishDJKevin
IrishDJKevin on July 16, 2008 at 4:44 pm

I don’t know who the statue was. If I remember correctly it was a woman in robes, holding something up with her left hand (maybe a light). She may have had a wreath around her head.

Pax et bonum,
Kevin

PS: The BROOKLYN Dodgers (Dem Bums) only won 1 World Series (God bless Johnny Padres!!!)

geoj99
geoj99 on July 16, 2008 at 12:56 pm

Kevin,

do you remember who the statue was dedicated too in Saratoga park…….????

Zitch

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on July 16, 2008 at 11:46 am

I guess he will, and I hope he does.

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on July 16, 2008 at 11:14 am

OK, Lost Memory, and thanks, but didn’t the Halsey Theatre close about 10 years earlier, in 1945 ?

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on July 16, 2008 at 10:28 am

Kevin,

What date that the Dodgers won the World Series did you have in mind ? Fall 1963 would have been way too late for the Halsey Theater.

Pax et bonum,
Peter

IrishDJKevin
IrishDJKevin on July 15, 2008 at 5:14 pm

The park supervisor was Mr. Jackson. Poor guy had his hands full with the wino parkies that worked there. Myself, Rickie and Billy were going to egg his car. Unfortunately, my eggs broke climbing onto the roof.

Was anyone there the day the place went nuts? The day the Dodgers won the World Series.

Pax et bonum,
Kevin

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on July 15, 2008 at 12:18 pm

The closest I’ve come to seeing an exterior view of the Halsey Theater was the A & E Biography’s version of it in October 2002, with Brad Garrett as Gleason, but not the real thing. Perhaps Warren will come forward with some images of the Halsey Theater. Perhaps one of those NYC tax photos from around 1939 or so, which is how we got images of the Monroe, and of the Eagle / Luxor Theatres.

Bway
Bway on July 15, 2008 at 10:49 am

…or even exterior ones…I don’t think I have ever seen a photo of it, and since it was so large, that is hard to believe.

Bway
Bway on July 15, 2008 at 10:49 am

Anyone know of any interior photos of the Halsey?

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on July 15, 2008 at 10:01 am

Thanks for the memories, zitch and Kevin Westley ! Keep ‘em coming !

geoj99
geoj99 on July 14, 2008 at 9:10 pm

Kevin,

i believe my grandparents lived there from 1953 till 1966 approximately….they moved to himrod street and knickerbocker ave….i remember playing in saratoga park….when you could not go on the grass and they had a park attendant……there was another movie theater in the neighborhood aside from the halsey that i used to go to….for a quarter you got 2 feature films….b- movies…cartoons during intermission and popcorn. i can’t rember the name…i think it was off bway
…i also remember one of the neighbors on the first floor left….her name was mrs halsey ( no joke) and she was african american i believe…..

zitch