Mardi Gras Theater

1243 Surf Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11224

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Located on Surf Avenue at Coney Island, Brooklyn, on the north side of the street near L.A. Thompson’s Scenic Railway and Luna Park, this theater burned to the ground on 24 January 1940. Four and half years later the same fate befell Luna Park.

Contributed by J.F. Lundy

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

jflundy
jflundy on July 30, 2004 at 10:53 am

This is a photo link showing Mardi Gras Theater vetical on Surf Avenue in 1937 during Tri-Cent Parade. Theater is on lower right.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on August 4, 2004 at 11:11 pm

What theater is that on the left with Movies written on a vertical sign?

jflundy
jflundy on August 5, 2004 at 6:59 am

That is the Mardi Gras. Caption above should read “lower left”.

jflundy
jflundy on November 12, 2004 at 8:54 pm

This theater opened in the former Boston Hotel on Surf Avenue in 1920. It replaced a large saloon at ground level. The hotel itself dated prior to 1890 and became unviable after the BRT subway/“L” lines provided cheap (nickel),fast access from the City as well as Queens and far away Brooklyn neighborhoods such as Bushwick. The saloon was closed by passage of the Volstead act in October 1919 which implemented the 18th Ammendment.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on September 16, 2006 at 10:54 am

Here is a photograph of the fire in 1940. The address is given as 1243 Surf Avenue:
http://tinyurl.com/nx7nz

jflundy
jflundy on October 8, 2008 at 7:30 pm

Here is a photo dating to 1908 which shows what I believe to be the Mardi Gras Theater on Surf Avenue. If it existed under this name in 1908 it would contradict information I have posted above about it opening in 1920. It may have existed under a different name in 1908 but vertical sign shown in photo does not give name.
http://www.shorpy.com/node/4616?size=_original

Beer signs in the photo near the vertical may indicate that movies may have been projected in the large saloon said to occupy the first floor of the hotel mentioned above, prior to 1920.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on December 9, 2011 at 7:54 am

The Mardi Gras is listed in the 1932 FDYB with 500 seats and an address of 1221 Surf Avenue. However, a news report in The New York Times of the fatal fire in January, 1940, gives an address of 1243 Surf Avenue. The NYT described the Mardi Gras as a “two-story theatre adjoining the concession-studded terminal of the BMT at Surf and Stillwell Avenues, but except for the rerouting of passengers from the main entrance, subway traffic was in no way affected…The landmark went back at least thirty-five years. George Asemacopoulos is listed as owner of the little movie house, where the show was free because patrons all sat at metal-topped tables and had hot dogs and beer.”

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