Irving Theatre

1533-1537 Myrtle Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11237

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Irving Theater, Brooklyn, NY 2004

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Irving Theatre was opened on April 11, 1914. In 1914, it also boasted an airdrome theatre located adjacent, and seating 1,600. This small neighborhood theatre was catering to the German speaking population in the greater Ridgewood area of Queens and Brooklyn during the 1930’s and early-1940’s.

My mother mentioned the theatre on occasion as she and my father had attended German movies there in the late-1930’s.

In 1940, it was renamed Mozart Theatre, still screening German movies, and it closed in 1942 when all German language prints were confiscated. However, I do know that after the war and during the 1950’s that the only German language theatre in the Ridgewood area was the Wagner Theatre on the corner of Wyckoff Avenue and Stockholm Street.

Contributed by Erwin Markisch

Recent comments (view all 53 comments)

Bway
Bway on September 29, 2010 at 3:50 pm

The Irving Theater is currently for sale:

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johndereszewski
johndereszewski on March 5, 2011 at 1:27 pm

I finally visited this site – or more likely passed by what I now know was once a movie house. The 99 cent store is still doing well and – as Bway previously noted – the building, or at least a portion thereof, is being offered for sale.

While the interior has definitely been gutted, the exterior is in very good shape. This is particularly the case of the Spanish tile roof awning, which is quite attractive. The overall facade is, however, solid but very modest, as was the case of this old “nabe” theater.

Finally, as I noted in my Wyckoff Theatre comment, I really cannot see how nearly 600 people could have been crammed into this very small apace.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on March 5, 2011 at 1:39 pm

In consulting the Brooklyn Theatre Index – and the results of my recent site visit – the following observations can be made.

The building’s address should be given as either 1533 Myrtle Avenue – as noted in the store’s address – or 1533-37 – as provided in the Index. (Given the current address sequence, the Index’s address is probably the more accurate one.) In any case, the address noted in the intro needs to be changed.

In addition, the Index provides an operating date history of 1914-40 for the Irving and a 1940-42 run for the Mozart. Since this theater was, for the bulk of its run, known as the Irving, it should continue to be designated as such in CT. (Sorry WAM.)

Finally, the Index does note the one time existence – in 1914 – of a 1,600 seat Airdrome at this location. It probably had a very short run.

Bway
Bway on March 10, 2011 at 4:45 am

Wonder Theater, the 175th Street Theater in Manhattan is listed as the “United Palace Theater”, the Mayfair Theater in Times Square is listed as the Embassy 2 3, and they modest Irving Theater is listed as the Mozart.
It’s sort of a shame that a theater like the Mayfair or 175th St Theater have to be delegated to their much less known names, but for consistency, it has to be this way. Again, I can see it both ways, but the list can be beneficial either way too with this policy.

Bway
Bway on March 10, 2011 at 4:46 am

Sorry, my message above got messed up, ignore my above message, this is the way it was supposed to be typed:

Yes, the address should be changed to the proper address, as in the index, as that is what the address of the building is currently to. Perhaps the number listed at the top was the address for the adjoining airdrome?
In any event, I agree that this theater probably should be called the “Irving Theater” as opposed to the Mozart which it was for barely a year, while the whole life, the theater was the Irving Theater.
The policy of the site (for better or worse – I can see it both ways) is to name the theater title for the current or last operating name of a theater. It’s for consistency. That unfortunately means that some very WELL known names for their past namkes of the theater, are not the name listed, but the current, or last known operating name of the building.
That means that a theater that is now a Performing Arts Center, and operating as a theater would be found as it’s current name, but is good, but the side effect of that would be places like the famous Wonder Theater, the 175th Street Theater in Manhattan is listed as the “United Palace Theater”, the Mayfair Theater in Times Square is listed as the Embassy 2 3, and they modest Irving Theater is listed as the Mozart.
It’s sort of a shame that a theater like the Mayfair or 175th St Theater have to be delegated to their much less known names, but for consistency, it has to be this way. Again, I can see it both ways, but the list can be beneficial either way too with this policy.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on March 12, 2011 at 3:33 am

Bway, while CT’s rule of crediting the theater’s most recent name on title makes eminent sense and works in most cases, there are situations where exceptions should definitely be made.

An extreme example concerns the Graham Theatre, in Williamsburg, where after having served the community for decades under that name was turned into a porn house and “rechristened” The Capri. It only lasted a your or so in that capacity before closing for good. In the Graham page, I argued that it would make absolutely no sense to use the name of a theater that not only lasted for a brief time but did not, in any way, reflect the tastes and memories of thse thousands of people who patronized the Graham over its long lifetime.

That was an easy one. The Irving/Mozart provides a much closer question, since the name change did not, in all probability, reflect any change in programming. Still, I agree with you that the Mozart’s relatively brief lifespan works against its use. I am sure that practically everyone who patronized this theater remembered it as The Irving and only viewed The Mozart, if at all, as a footnote.

So, let’s keep the Irving’s name at the top while also hearing other views on this subject.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on March 12, 2011 at 6:39 am

Obviously, the Capri lasted for only one YEAR or so – not “one your”, whatever that is!

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on December 26, 2013 at 10:05 am

Thanks so much Ken for this terrific vintage photo.

Bway
Bway on December 29, 2013 at 10:15 am

Wow that is a wonderful historic photo. I wish the update emails would send out emails when people add photos to a theater we are watching, like when someone makes a comment. the only way to know is when someone makes a comment when adding a photo like this.

robboehm
robboehm on December 29, 2013 at 11:03 am

Well, perhaps people adding photos should announce when they are adding photos (some do). Then the email notification would go out to all who have asked for an update. Probably easier than reprogramming. There seem to be minimal people adding photos.

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