Colonial Theatre

1746 Broadway,
Brooklyn, NY 11233

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Showing 1 - 25 of 198 comments

HomecrestGuy on December 10, 2018 at 5:14 am

@ Bway, Photo added to Gallery, I didn’t see that you’d posted already here. Aren’t those pics from the archives great?

Bway on November 15, 2018 at 7:18 am

Here is the only photo I have ever seen of the Colonial with it’s vertical sign and marquee still in place:

Ancestery on September 3, 2016 at 5:58 am

Riccoban, I am retracing my family roots and have found out that my grandparents, my mom and her 2 brothers lived at 1730 Broadway according to the 1940 census. My Grandparents were Nora ( francis ) and Robert Evans. They’re children were Robert Jr., My mom Marilyn and John. I know they were still there in 1951 do these name ring any bells ? if so can you reach out to me @ Thank You ! John Williams.

riccobon on June 26, 2013 at 11:47 am

Our first apartment after arriving in 1951 was at 1730 Broadway, right down the block. I remember a “Refrigerated” banner hanging from the marquee. A few years later we moved around the corner to Rockaway Avenue. Across the street from that apartment was an owner-operated laundry. I became fast friends with their son, Ziggy, who was only there on Saturdays. Since they put a Coming Attractions poster in the window, they got free passes, so Ziggy and I went to the movies just about every Saturday. The majority of features on Saturday were B-list films, i.e. House on Haunted Hill, Seventh Voyage of Sindad, etc., but it was always a double bill and included Movietone News. The best bill was when they had a matinee of “25 Color Cartoons, and a Two-Reel Three Stooges Comedy!”

johndereszewski on December 21, 2010 at 5:31 pm

jseven, I think your comments about the current Pilgrim Baptist Church concern the old, and much lamented, Loews Gates, which closed in 1977 and has served as Reverand Roy Brown’s base since the early 1980’s. This theater has a page on this site that I just linked below. Hope you enjoy it.


JoeG on December 21, 2010 at 11:04 am

Sorry, Jseven, forgot to add, you can probably contact the city’s Buildings Department for info on the factory.

JoeG on December 21, 2010 at 11:02 am

Jseven, I lived just three blocks from there on Bushwick Avenue, a long, long time ago, and though I had a friend who lived on that block, I only vaguely remember the factory. I have old family photos from back then, some of the elevated train tracks, which still look much the same. The building at 133 Broadway was the HQ of the Williamsburgh (note the H) Savings Bank for as long as I can remember, now an HSBC branch. Don’t remember there ever being any theater there. We’re not supposed to get too far afield from theater info on this board, but if you look at earlier posts you’ll find other boards listed such as Bushwick Buddies, where people post info about the neighborhood. 133 Broadway is adjacent to the Williamsburg Bridge. The climactic scene of “The Naked City” (1948), directed by Jules Dassin, was filmed on the bridge, and the building can be glimpsed.

JeJesus on December 21, 2010 at 6:42 am

Hello to one and ALL, as a somewhat ‘newbie’ to these boards (haven’t posted in quite a while now), I’ve been absolutely amazed and pleasantly surprised by what I’ve been reading here. As a now 20 year resident of Bushwick it seems the more I find out about the ‘former’ Bushwick, the more there is to learn.
What I’d really LOVE to see posted here though are ‘photos’ from the past (‘30’s-'70’s if possible), which would give me a somewhat better idea of what it was like back then. My 17 year old nephew who has Aspergers Syndrome also has a fascination with 'things from the past’ (usually to do with trains though) as well, and is very interested in ‘old Bushvick’.

Would anyone here happen to know the name of the building that is almost at the end of the block on ‘Vanderveer Street’ (it looks like some kind of factory or warehouse from many years ago, wouldn’t mind renovating it if I had the money, and maybe even renting it out), at Bushwick Avenue? I’d heard something about a ‘sugar factory’ but wasn’t certain if it’s the same building. Also, I attend Pilgrm the Reformed Church (133-44 Broadway), which used to be a theatre a while back, but wondered why the city did not want to try and preserve the “carriage house”, which is located around the corner on Gates Avenue? I LOVE old buildings like the ones mentioned and if I had the funds, would fix them up, keep a portion of their former beauty and if possible, rent the building out to those who felt the same way (then again, I’d like to bring back the ‘trolley’ system in some form as well).

So, would anyone here know anything about the two buildings mentioned (if you Google 69 Vanderveer Street, where the dead end is, you will see the building I’m talking about), and how I can get further info on them? Thanks for your help, your memories are great. It’s kind of sad that so many had to flee this area, and that not even their children want anything to do with it now. It’s changed alot and I’d LOVE to see the black, latino, white, etc. in this section ALL come together to make it even better. Take care everyone.

Bruce Calvert
Bruce Calvert on December 20, 2010 at 10:32 am

Here’s the cover of the 1916 program from the Silent Film Still Archive site.

Bruce Calvert
Bruce Calvert on December 6, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Airdome is (was) another name for an open air, outdoor theater. They may have projected films on the side of a building, or an outdoor screen, probably only after dark.

JoeG on December 6, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Airdome? What the heck is an airdome? Did they mean airdrome, which I can’t imagine they did; there couldn’t have been a landing field there, could there? Or maybe it was kind of an outdoor theater? I wonder …

Bruce Calvert
Bruce Calvert on December 6, 2010 at 10:59 am

Here is a program from June 1916, listing each day’s films at the Colonial Theatre and Airdome in Brooklyn…

Bway on February 18, 2010 at 11:58 am

It has to do with your browser. Unfortunately, if you are not logged in when you type your comment, and it brings you to the log in page, unfortunately, when you go back, your computer may have cleared the cache, thus your typing is gone. Internet Explorer does that. Mozilla Firefox doesn’t do that, and your message would still be there, but unfortunately IE sometimes clears it.
So the tip would be to just make sure you are logged in before you begin typing.

TomBrett on February 18, 2010 at 10:24 am

What am I doing wrong?

I first posted a comment, hit Preview, and was told I had to register.

Did so.

When fully registered, I posted a comment again, hit Preview, and again was transferred to the home page. Went back to the bottom of the site and again, my comment had disappeared. I’ll just “Submit” this comment.

Perhaps someone can offer me some advice.

T. Edmund

Bway on December 25, 2009 at 8:27 am

Thanks John…yes, Rudy gave a great report of your tour, with pictures. He had a great time. Sorry I couldn’t make it….

johndereszewski on December 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm

I thought you would be interested in reading the attached description of the walking tour that, among many other things, discusses the Colonial. We all had a great time.

View link

johndereszewski on December 15, 2009 at 6:34 am

No, the church was closed when we passed by, but the tour members took pictures of the exterior and one participant, who is active on Bushwick Buddies, shared his experiences at the old Colonial.

One place we WERE able to enter was the former 14 Holy Martyrs Church, which now serves as a Baptist chapel. (It is affiliated with the Pilgrim Baptist Church, whose main chapel is situated in the former Gates movie house on Broadway.) The old church, situated at the corner of Covert and Central, had scarcely changed its appearance and several stained glass windows were still in place.

Bway on December 14, 2009 at 10:56 am

Thanks John for the email you sent me about this, sorry I couldn’t make it (did you get my email last week?).
Did you get to go inside the Wayside Baptist church?

johndereszewski on December 13, 2009 at 9:16 pm

Just wanted to note that, despite the cold weather, the walking tour went very well – and the old Colonial still stands very elegantly as the Wayside Baptist Church. Many of the stories noted in the previous comments were shared during the tour – and greatly enjoyed.

johndereszewski on December 10, 2009 at 12:35 pm

PS. The tour will meet at the station platform at 11 AM and last until around 2 PM. Sorry for this not insignificant oversight!

johndereszewski on December 10, 2009 at 12:25 pm

Just wanted you to know about a walking tour that I will be participating in on this Saturday, December 12th, that will explore the community around the old Colonial Theatre. It will also visit the two local cemetaries and other sites in southern Bushwick, including the old Alhambra Theatre at Irving Sq. Park.

The tour will meet on the Manhattan bound platform of the L train’s Broadway Junction station. For more information regarding this event, please access the link.

Hope you can make it.

View link

Bway on April 19, 2009 at 9:57 am

Here’s a google street view of the old Colonial Theater:

View link

PeterKoch on September 3, 2008 at 9:53 am

Thanks, JoeG, Bway, and roybarry.

My dad went shopping with his mom for Easter suits for him at Pitkin and Rockaway Avenues in the 1930’s, on Sundays, after church. There was quite a thriving garment district there. I’m glad the stores on Pitkin, and the Loew’s Pitkin itself, lasted into the 1960’s.

Joe G., you’ve got great taste in Harryhausen movies ! My son, now age 13, asked to see “7th Voyage Of Sinbad” on DVD this past weekend. We also have “20 Million Miles To Earth” on DVD but not “Jason And The Argonauts” although my son and I both know the film.

Bway : cartoons before movies : that leads to another question : when did multiple features in NYC and vicinity first run movie theaters end ? 1979 or 1980 ?

I think the last double features I saw were in summer 1978.

roybarry on September 3, 2008 at 7:38 am

Before our family moved to Brooklyn we lived in Jamaica where the RKO Alden, Jamaica, Savoy and the Merrick would have 25 cartoons on Saturday mornings with 5 or more serials like Dick Tracy, Supereman, Hopalong Cassidy…etc. I know the Colonial would show a cartoon or two prior to a movie, but I don’t remember having seen the Saturday specials showing 25 cartoons. I might be wrong!

roybarry on September 3, 2008 at 7:38 am

Before our family moved to Brooklyn we lived in Jamaica where the RKO Alden, Jamaica, Savoy and the Merrick would have 25 cartoons on Saturday mornings with 5 or more serials like Dick Tracy, Supereman, Hopalong Cassidy…etc. I know the Colonial would show a cartoon or two prior to a movie, but I don’t remember having seen the Saturday specials showing 25 cartoons. I might be wrong!