Evergreen Theatre

926 Seneca Avenue,
Ridgewood, NY 11385

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Showing 1 - 25 of 65 comments

Bway on December 29, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Very interesting article. The original name for Seneca Ave is Covert St (that’s why the first article mentions Covert St). The article also mentions Van Cortland Ave, which today is known as 71 Ave.

Bway on June 2, 2009 at 11:44 am

Yes, I think it was. Some of the weeks don’t have a “neighborhood” section on the online directory, so I think what you said may be the case.

Bway on June 1, 2009 at 10:19 am

I looked at he archives too. I remember the article in print….

Bway on May 31, 2009 at 8:05 pm

That’s very strange, as I remember the article. The photo showed the Evergreen next to the Bank building.

Bway on April 19, 2009 at 10:23 am

There’s a story and photo of the Evergreen in this weeks Timesnewsweekly in the “Neighborhood” section. The online version of the should be online in about a week.

Bway on November 20, 2008 at 8:08 am

I don’t know how big that area between the bank and the theater was. It could have been along the whole property, or it may just have been a few feet in from the sidewalk to an emergency exit or something. But in any event, chances are slim that the first floor of the supermarket is the first floor of the Evergreen. If anything, it could be, as well as the basement, but there’s no way to tell for sure.
Was this the theater that had the roof cave in in a snowstorm? Wasn’t there also a fire?

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 19, 2008 at 8:58 am

The 1922 photo shows only a portion of the Evergreen Theatre. I wonder if the evergreen atop the building is a real potted tree or part of the electric vertical sign?
View link

PeterKoch on November 19, 2008 at 7:44 am

There is a photo of the Evergreen Theatre in the 100-year anniversary supplement of the Times Newsweekly (formerly the Ridgewood Times)dated October 23, 2008. Perhaps a link to it will be posted here on the Evergreen Theatre page.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 24, 2008 at 1:34 pm

You don’t need a separate listing for open-air theatres that were an adjunct of hardtops. Open-air theatres operated only for a few months of the year, except in tropical parts of the USA and elsewhere. The Van Cortlandt AirDrome and the Van Cortlandt Park are undoubtedly the same venue.

Bway on March 24, 2008 at 12:53 pm

I don’t think you would need a seperate listing for the “Evergreen Park” as it was the outdoor version of the Evergreen Theater.

As for the Van Cortlandt AirDrome, if it was to be placed at Myrtle and 60th St, instead of one block west at Myrtle and 71st Ave, that would put the AirDrome right around where the Ritz Theater was. I wonder if the Ritz Theater (listed on this site already) was built on the site of the old Van Cortlandt AirDrome.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 24, 2008 at 11:04 am

What is the historical evidence showing these open-air theatres advertised as “Airdromes” (or “Airdomes”)? The descriptive in this 8/25/1916 ad is “Parks” (or “Park” in the singular): View link

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 24, 2008 at 7:54 am

An ad in the Ridgewood Times of 8/25/1916 suggests that the outdoor theatre was called the Evergreen Park. The address given is “Myrtle and Seneca.” Also featured in the ad is another outdoor theatre called the Van Cortlandt Park, with a location of “Myrtle and Anthon.” These two sites were apparently under the same management, linked in the ad as “Evergreen and Van Corltandt PARKS,” with the last word in larger and bolder type. The programs were the same at both sites, and changed daily.

Bway on June 6, 2006 at 6:09 am

Here’s another aerial view showing what is left of the Evergreen Theater building. The altered building is the C Town store, with the red awning:

View link

Bway on April 5, 2006 at 9:45 am

Billy, if you click on “n”, “S”, E, or W on the left side, it will shift the photos to get a that various direction vantage points. So each scene will have four corresponding similar views from other directions. it’s a great site.

Thanks for the “Glenwood Manor” link! So the Evergreen Theater became that after closing as a theater! Then burned down, and laterthe upper floors or two demolished to turn the building into the one story store building it is today.

mrbillyc on April 5, 2006 at 8:47 am

For whatever it is worth, there is mention of the Glenwood Manor which was in the building that once was the Evergreen Theater in the “Our Neighborhood” column of the Times Newsweekly of March 16, 2006. It describes the building and their interesting drink menu. My family memories are that this building burned in the winter of 1956-1957, and we can safely say the menu pre-dates the fire! I stand by my theory that the existing one floor building was once the base of the indoor portion of the Evergreen.
View link

Also, the arial photos are awesome, Bway! In all the photos I am able to see buildings where my family or blood relatives once resided. If I widen the photo of the Ridgewood Theater I can see two buildings I personally lived in on Woodbine St, and the home my maternal grandfather was born in on Cornelia St. The Evergreen photo shows the adjacent homes my family once owned at 930-932 Seneca Ave, my dad’s old barber shop on Wierfield and Seneca, and a house where my family once lived at 54-54 Myrtle Ave. Thanks for these great prospectives you can only get from the air. Billy C.

Bway on April 5, 2006 at 4:38 am

Here’s an aerial view of the Evergreen theater. This is the back. The bank is to the left, and the 6 family homes are to the right. I am still convinced that the lower floor of the Evergreen Theater, what is now the supermarket is in fact the original base of the old theater, with the upper floor or floors removed in the 50’s or 60’s.
To get a perspective on the size of the original Theater property, and former airdrome, you have to consider the low building (former base of the theater), the bank on the corner, and the parking lot for the bank, which was all a part of the Evergreen property.

View link

mrbillyc on September 9, 2005 at 5:01 am

Lostmemory…I am glad my family’s stories have come in handy. Your research is (as always) very impressive and to be commended. Now if only a photo or two would surface of the building when it was run as a theater.

Bway on July 25, 2005 at 7:53 am

Billy, sounds quite reasonable to me. I know of a few buildings where the upper floors or floor of a building had burned, and they later demolished the upper floors, but kept the lower floors. It is quite possible that the shell of of the Evergreen Theater is in fact the current building…..

mrbillyc on July 25, 2005 at 7:42 am

I spoke to my dad about this. He was born right in the front room of one of the apartments in 930 Seneca Ave in 1935. He agrees that to see the silent films in the open air theater from the backyard of 930 Seneca Ave the screen would most certainly have to have been along the outside perimiter of the property on Hancock Street and facing towards Wierfield St. He seems to remember hearing that the movie theater ceased operation in 1928-in fact he was pretty definite about that.
What he is not sure of is if the three story building that stood here in the 40’s was actually the old theater building renovated for commercial use. We guest-imate that that building went back about 75-80 feet from Seneca Ave. He remembers the following from his young childhood (probably the early 1940’s): the basement housed a small bowling alley; on the ground level starting from the left side of the building was an entrance to upper and lower floors of the this building, Obler’s Photography Studio, Marvel Printing, and then the Bank of the Manhattan Company in its own building on the corner; the second floor contained the Glenwood Manor hall, and the third floor contained a pool hall, and he thinks some storage space. We are 99% sure that this building burned down in the winter of ‘56-57, most likely Jan or Feb 1957.
Now he is trying to remember if the building that is still there is actually the first floor of the older building (possibly the theater building). He thinks the main fire damage in 1957 was to the upper floors and that the ground level stores were damaged but not burned. Additionally, I remember in the backyard of 930 Seneca you could see the one story brick wall of what was then Bohack’s and it extended about 20 feet into the yard. It looked like a old, aged brick wall, and completely covered with grape vine or english ivy in summer. Not like something that was only 6 years old in 1963. I very vaguely recall there may have been what looked like a window that had been bricked up with newer brick, but can’t be sure. It is possible the upper floors were removed and at least the foundation and perimiter walls of the present one story building are actually from the prior, possibly theater building.
Maybe some Ridgewood person in their 70’s and a sharp memory will surface with the missing clues to solve this mystery!

Bway on July 23, 2005 at 7:43 am

Thanks for all the information Bill. It all makes perfect sense, and probably what I imagined in my theaory about the whole thing. The only missing link was of course, if the Bohack/CTown store was the actual Theater building converted to retail (similar to the Associated supermarket in the Starr Theater), or if it was a replacement building. And I had wondered why they would have torn the old theater down if it was in fact a replacement building. The fire makes perfect sense, and is the missing link.

mrbillyc on July 23, 2005 at 3:33 am

My family owned the two Matthews Flats homes at 930 & 932 Seneca Avenue from about 1920 until the late 1940’s. My great-grandfather is the person who converted the two ground floor apartments at 930 into store fronts. The left side became the Evergreen Barber Shop, and the right side the Evergreen Beauty Shop. His name was Dominic Conte and he ran the barber business with his son (my grandfather) Vito (Willie) Conte. The Beauty shop was run by his daughter, Mary Conte (later Recco). The family lived behind these two store fronts.
My grandmother (Rose Conte), now deceased, married in 1924 and moved to the second floor right side apartment. She used to tell us stories about climbing the first two rungs of the washline pole to look over a brick wall that seperated the backyard of 930 and see the silent movie screen. I wish I knew where the 1920’s family photos have gone to, but as you can imagine there were many fading photos of Seneca Avenue.
Piecing together our family stories with these posts, this is my theory on the Evergreen Theater:
The Matthews Flats were built in the early 1910’s.
I believe the open air theater was on the corner of Seneca and Hancock Street, and the screen was on a wall which either backed Hancock street or at the western (back)end of the property. The screen would have to be at least 60-70 feet back from Seneca Ave in order for my grandmother to see it from her back yard. There is a small parking lot behind the present bank building on Hancock St.-if that was part of the original theater property you would really be able to have a fairly large area for the airdrome.

I would bet the indoor theater was right next 930 Seneca Avenue. I remember from photos seeing a two or three story building there. The building that was between the Bank of the Manhattan Company and 930 Seneca Avenue was operated as a hall for parties called the Glenwood Manor in the 30’s-to 50’s. Mr. Pachtman’s toy store was on the street level. I think there was also a pool hall in the building. I propose that the original theater building had been converted into these businesses. (My dad remembers waking up on hot summer nights by drunken brawls that broke out at parties in the Glenwood Manor.)
This building burned down in the mid 1950’s It burned on a cold winter night. At this time three of the four apartments in 930 Seneca Avenue were occupied by blood relatives of mine and they recall being bundled up outside for hours in the bitter cold as the building burned down.
A new, one story building was erected for Bohack’s “convenience store #1” (as one of the signs called it.) Mr. Pachtman still had his toy store on the right side of this property next to the bank. I don’t think his store went all the way to the rear of the property and the supermarket had that space. I recall he retired to Florida in the early 1970’s and that space was incorporated into the supermarket space.
Does all this make sense?
Bill C.

ps…since my grandmother lived at 930 Seneca Avenue from 1924 till 1972 (and then moved to 56-54 Myrtle Avenue till 1987)I just wish I knew where the many family photos have gone to.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 1, 2005 at 7:05 am

If you have access to old Ridgewood newspapers, could you please look for an opening date for William Fox’s Ridgewood Theatre? The answer to your query about the expansion of the Evergreen might depend on whether the Ridgewood Theatre existed at that time. It has often been claimed that the Ridgewood opened in 1913, but more recently 1917 was suggested.

cjdv on December 31, 2004 at 10:28 am

In the Weekly Chat Newspaper—March 1, 1913—there is a short article on Joseph Hartmann and Kaplan (no first name given). They are listed as the owners of the Van Cortland Open Air Theatre (mentioned above). According to the article, they will start work “next week” on the “the foundation of a new motion picture house to be located on the southeasterly corner of Covert and Myrtle Avenues”.Originally it was to have been a “first class vaudeville and motion picture house”. However “after considering the location and time it would take to put up a first class house it was decided to erect a motion picture theatre temporarily.” “If demand is strong, make necessary changes and convert the building into one suitable for vaudeville.”
Hartmann is listed as the president of the Wyckoff Avenue Property Owners Association. He “resides at 225 Decatur Street”. The only information on Kaplan is that he lives “in East York”.
I have not been able—so far—to find any follow-up article on this.

deleted user
[Deleted] on October 28, 2004 at 11:31 am

The location given for the Grand View Theatre in Ridgewood is Woodward Avenue and Woodbine Street. Do not confuse this theatre with the Grandview Theatre on Grandview Avenue.

deleted user
[Deleted] on October 27, 2004 at 6:29 pm

You are correct B'way. My post should have read Woodward Avenue and Woodbine Street. 68th Avenue was a street belonging to another theatre I was working on in another city at the time. No, the Grand View was located on Woodward Avenue and Woodbine Street. I presume it was a corner building.