Eagle Theater

431 Central Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11221

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Eagle Theater September 2004

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Central Theater was a small neighborhood movie house in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick. It opened on September 23, 1916, and was designed by Thomas Lamb. Located at 431 Central Avenue, between Woodbine and Madison Streets, about 5/8 of the way southeast from Woodbine to Madison. It operated until 1926. In 1927 it was renamed Luxor Theater and continued until 1936.

In 1936 it was re-named Eagle Theater and closed in the early-1950’s. It was apparently one of many small neighborhood movie houses that was done in by television in that time frame. The building became home to a church. In 2008, the building was gutted, removing the roof and most of the facade. The side-walls remained, and the remainder of the building was demolished in 2013.

Contributed by Peter Koch

Recent comments (view all 48 comments)

johndereszewski on December 19, 2010 at 10:31 am

A brief description of the old Eagle plus a few current pictures of the site appear in an article that I recently wrote for the terrific BushwickBk blog. The pictures can be viewed in a slideshow that also contains pictures of a number of other old Bushwick movie houses. Hope you enjoy it.

View link

johndereszewski on February 12, 2011 at 9:02 am

The recently released Brooklyn Theatre Index confirms the fact that Thomas Lamb was the architect. This project, which was little more than a rather plain “nabe” theater, must have been one of Lamb’s very early creations. Also, given the similarity in design that, as noted in previous comments, the Eagle shares with other local theaters, one would wonder if Lamb was, in some way, involved with them as well. (I believe Lamb did live in the general area.) Anyhow, a little food for thought.

The Index does, however, part company from Peter’s introduction by providing a 1940 closing date for the place, while Peter places it in the early 1950’s. In addition, the only testimony of actual attendance noted in the comments provides a 1938 date. Thus, the actual closing date needs to be clarified.

Finally, the theater’s initial name – the Central Theatre – should be added as a previous name at the top of the page.

Bway on February 15, 2011 at 9:55 pm

Someone else I know claims to have also used the theater in the 40’s, so it’s not really clear when it closed.

Bway on May 31, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Notice in the street view of the theater, the words in the cement/tiles on the sidewalk under where the marquee used to be still say “Eagle” right up until the point when the building was partially demolished. The side walls of the theater still remain to this day…someone should do a walk by and see if you can still see “Eagle” on the ground in front of the barricade they put around the building when they tore the front part of the building down….

Bway on September 5, 2013 at 3:52 pm

The Eagle Theater is now History.It should be changed to ‘Demolished", while the partially demolished theater stood for about a year, it is now completely gone. i just added a photo from when it stood partially demolished in the photo section of this theater.

johndereszewski on November 3, 2013 at 11:28 am

Thanks again Ken for the vintage photo. And, while it did take a while for the second shoe to drop, it looks like the RIP designation can now be applied to the Eagle.

Finally, Chuck’s note about the “closed for Summer” sign is intriguing. Can anyone cite a similar situation where a non-airconditioned theater simply closed for the Summer? The non-airconditioned movie houses that I remember – like the Winthrop – just installed large fans when the temperatures rose. This sometimes made it difficult to follow all the dialogue, but it did allow the show to go on.

robboehm on November 3, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Obviously not air conditioned if it was closed for the summer.

johndereszewski on November 5, 2013 at 11:14 am

While I never recalled ceiling fans being used – though that would have made a good deal of sense – I definitely remember the two huge fans that were trotted out to cool us off at the Winthrop, in Greenpoint. They stood – and really stood – directly to the left and right of the screen. I think the same practice occurred at the old American – later the Chopin – Theatre.

I guess before we were spoiled by air conditioning, we put up with a lot of discomfort – especially at the prices charged by the old “nabes”.

bobsmith on September 12, 2015 at 12:13 am

The red arrow marks the correct location of the Eagle. It was on the north side of Central Avenue between Madison and Putnam. I remember seeing a newsreel there with a lone crying baby sitting in the street (probably Japanese invasion of Manchuria about 1938). I believe at that time the Grove was the more popular movie house. I know it was for my family. Bob Smith {PS 106, JHS 85} (1296 Putnam Avenue ‘til April “51 then to Korean war. Pop left Brooklyn Navy Yard for Long Beach (CA) Navy Yard in Jan.52, so CA was my new home when I came back. I could never afford college in NY but CA college was almost free in the 1950’s.

johndereszewski on November 4, 2015 at 3:55 pm

I finally passed by this site today and – yes- nothing of the former theater remains. Only a vacant lot – which will probably not remain vacant for long, though, who knows – remains.

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