BAM Harvey Theater

651 Fulton Street,
Brooklyn, NY 11217

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PhillG on January 5, 2014 at 3:15 pm

I’m a BAM employee front-of-house, and just added a few photos I had.

The basics of the renovation — The large box office area (now the “outer lobby”) was originally the (only) lobby. When you take a right and enter the ever larger interior lobby, you are standing at the back of the original orchestra section.

The house is now made up of the old mezzanine and upper balcony, and the stage was bumped out past the proscenium, and raised to meet the old mezzanine. Under the apron of the current stage, you have the old front orchestra. It’s now used for stage trap doors, etc. I believe part of it can be lowered to serve as an orchestra pit.

The original director that brought the first show in for the re-open by BAM was Peter Brook, and the renovation mirrored a project of his in Paris — the crumbling portions of the theatre were pulled down, surviving ornamentation was left. That is, rather than creating a new “fake” skin for the theater, the ruin was stabilized and the ornamentation that survived stayed put. Where there were new walls, they were painted to match the authentic distressed walls.

The technical systems were completely replaced, since it needed to be a working, modern performance space. I believe the roof was completely rebuilt too.

The seating in the orchestra was replaced last year (the original seating was long gone), and two functional sort of right and left boxes were added over top the exit voms.

I’ll try to remember to get some more detailed photos. I’m there all the time.

mhvbear on May 30, 2013 at 1:41 pm

The movie palace is making a return to Brooklyn this summer. The Harvey Theater at the Brooklyn Academy of Music will be home to the Steinberg Screen, a 35-foot-by-19-foot digital projection screen, with 42 accompanying surround-sound speakers. That will make the theater, a centerpiece of live productions and concerts, the largest cinema in Brooklyn able to show both 3-D and conventional films, according to BAM officials, who are to announce the new installation on Thursday.

“It’s going to be huge, because it’s going to fill the proscenium of the Harvey,” Karen Brooks Hopkins, the president of BAM, said. “You’re in a spectacular atmospheric theater, that will now have this giant screen and will be this spectacular atmospheric movie theater. It hearkens back to the great movie palaces of yesteryear, but it will be completely state-of-the-art.”

The screen and accompanying equipment were the gift of Joseph and Diane Steinberg, Brooklyn philanthropists and cinephiles. It will give the theater the ability to show 3-D movies, as well as multimedia works and films with live soundtracks. (The Harvey will continue to showcase theater and other performances; the screen is storable under the stage.) It will also give BAM, whose Rose Cinemas and BAMcinématek already draw 200,000 people a year, the opportunity to screen bigger films in the summer, when the 834-seat Harvey is usually dark. “We hope to show big Hollywood films in August,” Ms. Brooks Hopkins said.

The Steinberg Screen will open to the public on June 19 for the BAMcinemaFest. Coming programming includes a “Big Screen Epics” series including “2001: A Space Odyssey,” Doctor Zhivago” and “The Godfather.”


rockywoods on May 28, 2012 at 1:50 pm

According to, this Majestic opened in 1904, as the “Majestic Theatre”. see this link

TLSLOEWS on February 9, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Interesting photos posted by EdSolero 11/23/07,and the other photos show a great marquee when known as Majestic Theatre.Good to see that is it still in operation.

Tinseltoes on February 9, 2011 at 8:04 am

P.S. “King of the Circus” was also a re-issue, and a new title for the 1935 British-made “This Woman Is Mine.”

Tinseltoes on February 9, 2011 at 7:57 am

“Hitler, Beast of Berlin” and “King of the Circus” played a week’s engagement at the Majestic Theatre starting on February 26th, 1943, so the Brooklyn Pix photo must have been taken during that period. The PRC programmer had been re-issued to capitalize both on the newfound stardom of Alan Ladd and RKO’s blockbuster success with “Hitler’s Children.” When it first opened in November, 1939 at the Globe Theatre in midtown Manhattan, the title was “Beasts of Berlin,” referring to the Nazi party, and not to Hitler specifically. Ladd then spelled his first name as Allan, and had a supporting role.

MarkieS on February 5, 2011 at 7:03 pm

I saw a play there today. I think it’s fascinating that they left the theatre in this condition. I really like it; you can feel the history.

luckyshow on October 28, 2010 at 3:56 pm

The following image:
View link

shows a bridge rally that took place in June, 1939 (this was a bridge from Hamilton Avenue to the Battery and eventually became the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel). Note that on the sidewalk are the columns (supports, stanchions) for the Fulton Avenue El, one of which is going straight through the middle and front of the Majestic’s marquee. The Fulton Avenue El came down in 1940.

In this image:
we see movies on the busy active marquee. Hitler Beast of Berlin was a 1939 movie. We see no El columns at all.

My question is, then:
Were there a marquee on each street the theater face OR was the Aland LAdd flick seen later in time, not 1939? Alan Ladd was not really the star, and the other movie is a renamed 1935 British film. Or is something else involved? It is odd that the marquee is empty in first definitely 1939 image, but ver full in the second image.

Anyone reading this and know?

AlAlvarez on May 17, 2010 at 6:25 pm

jorgito2001, the New York City Majestic most likely referred to is the one on 44th Street in Manhattan. It never showed movies.

Tinseltoes on May 2, 2010 at 8:19 am

The Majestic Theatre can be seen to the right of the elevated tracks in this historic photo. And note portions of the Orpheum Theatre on the left side: View link 209

Jorge on February 11, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Please forgive my ignorance…but I just finished watching “the Curious Case of Benjamin Button” for the 1st time, in it there is a reference to “The Majestic” in New York City (Cate Blanchett’s character dances there)…the only one in NYC I fuond is THIS one & one that closed int he 20s…is this the one referenced in that movie? Sure looks like it from the pics.

Bway on May 28, 2009 at 11:33 am

The majestic had such a classic marquee, a shame it’s gone.
If they only use the balcony level of this theater, what do they use the orchestra level for?
It would seem that other theaters could also use just it’s balcony level to remain as a theater, while provididing extra rent from renting out the orchestra level to retail. This is being proposed for the Ridgewood Theater in Ridgewood…
Perhaps other theaters could be semi saved this way. The old Madison Theater in Ridgewood comes to mind, as it’s orchestra level was destroyed, but it’s balcony level is all still up there, but unuised.

kencmcintyre on April 16, 2009 at 6:47 pm

Here is a 1939 photo from the Brooklyn Public Library:

Bway on February 22, 2009 at 10:24 am

There’s a great photo of the Majestic on

View link

Bway on January 8, 2009 at 2:41 pm

Here’s a nice little article about the BAM Harvey Theater (former Majestic). If you click “slideshow”, the second photo is a great photo of the interior.

By the way, if this is currently the BAM Harvey Theater, isn’t that supposed to be the mane name for this theater, with Majestic being the former with the aka names? BAM by the way stands for Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on January 8, 2009 at 10:09 am

Shhh…the Phantom lives down there.

Bway on January 8, 2009 at 9:22 am

Is the old orchestra level used for retail, or what do they use the 1st floor for?

Bway on January 8, 2009 at 9:20 am

Here’s a NY Times article about the first production there, and a little bit on the “renovation” back in 1988:

View link

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 8, 2009 at 6:50 am

The Majestic was closed and deteriorating for quite a few years before re-opening with plays.

Bway on January 7, 2009 at 6:45 pm

After reading the comments, it appears that the orchestra level is now under the current floor, and what was once the first balcony is now sort of the “orchestra” level. That is very interesting. Does anyone know of any other current (or historic) photos of the interior of this theater? it must have been a huge theater, as even though they raised the floor to the 1st balcony, it still looks like quite a high ceiling.

Bway on January 7, 2009 at 6:35 pm

It appears that the floor was evened out in the renovation? That’s what it appears in the photo Warren posted. What was it in between showing cinema and becoming a live theater?

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 25, 2008 at 8:19 am

This previously posted image has a new direct link:
View link

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 30, 2008 at 8:29 am

Starting with the year-end holidays of 1948, the Majestic installed vaudeville on weekends only. To offset the talent costs, the movies were reissues. The new policy proved a failure and within a few months, the Majestic reverted to movies only:

maddanmusic on December 4, 2007 at 8:24 pm

Thank you Warren for responding to my request..for interiors of The more request do you perhaps have any shots of the Old RKO Albee ot The Loews Metropolitan??
The Albee was to me Bklyn’s Radio City Hall Palace grand staircases. huge auditorium. seating..and the ceilings wow…anyway thanks again for the Majesctic shots… you rock
(The Paramount lives) & roll (smile)

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on December 3, 2007 at 11:56 am

Here’s a view of the renovated auditorium. The ground floor, as well as the stage floor, have been raised considerably, with seating now in the former balconies. Originally, three tiers of boxes flanked both sides of the stage. The bottom tiers are buried beneath the new floor: