Alhambra Theatre

783 Knickerbocker Avenue,
Bushwick,
Brooklyn, NY 11207

Unfavorite No one has favorited this theater yet

Alhambra Theatre May 1925

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Situated in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, the Alhambra Theatre was originally a vaudeville theatre operated by the Ward & Glynne circuit. It opened on December 31, 1914, and was designed by Arthur G. Carlson of the architectural firm Carlson & Wiseman and had a seating capacity for 1,500. In 1918, it was enlarged, with a balcony added, and the seating capacity became 2,200.

In 1923, when Loew’s Inc. acquired W & G’s Astoria Theatre in Queens, it also took over the Alhambra Theatre and ran it for a few years, but with movies that were at the end of their circuit bookings. It was remodeled in 1927 by noted theatre architect Thomas Lamb.

Loew’s eventually leased it to various “indie” owners, including Randforce Amusement Corp, the Alhambra Theatre ceased operation in 1951. After laying unused for several years, it was announced in December 1959 that it would be converted into a supermarket, initially operated by Safeway. It has now been used as a day-care centre for many years.

Contributed by Warren G. Harris

Recent comments (view all 119 comments)

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on October 12, 2010 at 7:57 am

I just noticed that the top of the page has been changed to reflect the closing of the center that – as I just noted – did not occur after all. I hope the site manager will update this item accordingly – and I regret having provided inaccurate informtion. (I guess this is one of those things you just have to verify via a site visit.)

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on October 13, 2010 at 1:37 am

Thanks site manager so much for correcting the bad information that I received regarding the demise of this site as a day care center. I guess that while the advocates to save the day care center went to the press as much as they could as long as the center’s future remained in doubt, they pretty much forgot to tell the wider public about the center’s salvation once it had been achieved.

Anyhow, the center’s notice that they are still here apppears below, and I wish them the best for the future.

http://www.grandstreet.org/html/news.shtml

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on December 6, 2010 at 4:29 am

If you scroll up to the great vintage picture that Tinseltoes posted here on March 30 and enlarge it, you will note that a movie called “The Old Soak” – I’m not making this up – was playing at the time of the photo. Checking it out, I found that the movie – a detective drama that starred Gene Hershalt – premiered in late 1926. So this picture was probably shot in 1927, when the movie reached the “nabes”.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on December 19, 2010 at 3:44 pm

I just linked an article that I recently wrote in the terrific BushwickBk blog that discussed a number of old Bushwick theaters, including the Alhambra. Several vintage and current pictures of this site also appear in an extended slideshow that also includes a number of other old theater sites. Hope you enjoy it.

View link

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on May 25, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Here’s a pre-construction sketch of the Alhambra Theatre: brooklynpubliclibrary

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on September 28, 2013 at 3:05 pm

A local blog called Wyckoff Heights, which covers real estate transactions very thoroughly, is reporting that the old Alhambra will be converted into 24 units of housing. Given its location just off a recently restored Irving Square Park, this is not a surprising development. I hope alternate space will be identified for the day care center, though I doubt it.

Jpic121
Jpic121 on December 2, 2013 at 1:02 am

In doing some family history research I have learned that I am the Great grandson of Arthur G. Carlson. I was surprised to see some of his works shown here.

John, in one of your earlier posts you mentioned how you did not know why one architect had taken credit for most of the works and Carlson only showed up once or twice. The reason for this is that my Great Grand Father Arthur died at the age of 35 leaving his partner Weisman to use and finish Arthur’s designs.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on December 29, 2013 at 4:19 am

In the photo section, Tinseltoes recently posted an ad for the movie “The Soul of Buddha”, staring Theda Bara. Since the picture was released in 1918, the year the Alhambra opened, this must have been one of the earlier films to be presented here.

By the way, both the ad and the Brooklyn Theatre index indicate a 2,200 capacity for the Alhambra. The Index also does not allude to any capacity decrease that subsequently occurred. For this reason, the 1,600 capacity noted at the top of the page is apparently wrong and needs to be corrected.

Astyanax
Astyanax on December 30, 2013 at 1:58 pm

The appearance of the Alhambra with the rounded corner tower, reminds me of the architecture of the Foley, built about 20 years earlier on Graham Ave. Was there an architectural connection?

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on December 30, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Astyanax, I think you are referring to the FOLLY Theatre, which once graced the corner of Graham Ave. and Debevoice St. In looking at photos of the two theaters, one does notice a slight resemblance. However, they were the work of different architects – Dodge and Morrison for the Folly and Carlson and Wiseman for the Alhambra.

While I am at it, thanks site manager for changing the Alhambra’s capacity figure so promptly.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater