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 46 comments)

johndereszewski on March 21, 2010 at 8:09 am

I was able to make it over here yesterday, and the situation is as Bway described. One thing that I did observe was the fact that the building permits pasted on the fence expired last November. This is obviously not a good sign for the future prospects of what remains of the Eagle.

johndereszewski on August 1, 2010 at 7:53 am

Had a free day, took a pass by and found the shell of the old Eagle much as it was before. Even the old and even more expired building permits were still in place. The metal beams have, however, become the nesting ground for a number of pigeons.

johndereszewski on December 19, 2010 at 7:31 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 6:02 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 6:55 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 10:53 am

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 12:52 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 8:28 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 10:52 am

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

johndereszewski on November 5, 2013 at 8:14 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”.

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