Imperial Theatre

157 Irving Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11237

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Imperial Theater September 2004

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened in 1914, the Imperial Theatre was located on Irving Avenue between Dekalb Avenue and Stockholm Street in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn.

It was closed in 1940, and in 1945 was in use as a knitting factory. In later years it has become a storage facility for a mail order shipping company.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 49 comments)

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on September 28, 2013 at 10:14 am

I just wanted to second Bway on the real beauty of the old photo. Was this, by any chance, taken as part of NYC’s project, in the late 1930’s, to take a picture of all of its buildings? Again, thanks to whomever for this great addition.

simpletwig
simpletwig on July 16, 2014 at 1:10 pm

There is an old photo of the Imperial Theater at http://www.oldnycphotos.com and click on bush wick where you can find a photo of the original thither w/ marquee, et. al. on about page 4 or 5. There are photos of other theaters from this neighborhood as well.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on July 18, 2014 at 10:51 am

I just noticed that the wonderful old picture of this theater has somehow disappeared from the photo section. What gives??

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on November 4, 2015 at 4:01 pm

I was able to visit this site yesterday. Not only does the old building look in pretty good shape but the site is now being advertized as being for lease. This could provide an opportunity for the new arty community in Bushwick to secure a very interesting venue. As it appears that the old theater has not been altered, this could make for a very promising situation. Let’s see what – if anything – happens.

robboehm
robboehm on November 4, 2015 at 10:44 pm

John I uploaded a picture of the Imperial from “Old NYC Photos”

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on November 5, 2015 at 7:48 am

Thanks robboehm for the photo; this is the same picture that was posted some time ago but then suddenly vanished. Hopefully, it will be featured at the top of this treater’s main page.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on October 3, 2016 at 11:24 am

In passing through Bushwick yesterday, I noticed that the old theater is – or will soon be – undergoing renovation. The signs placed outside the building indicate that it will be re-modeled for retail purposes. When I called the firm whose number was listed on the sign, they verified this fact but could not identify any specific businesses that would be located here. It appears that the landlord will rent the space out to interested businesses as soon as the place is suitable for its new occupancy. Since this building housed a Robert Hall’s clothing store for a number of years after it ceased being a movie house, this type of development makes some sense – though I would certainly prefer a return to a more theatrical use. (Given the dramatic changes that have recently occurred in Bushwick, the opening of a new theater would certainly fill a need.) Anyhow, this is still a most welcome development in contrast to the site’s most recent use as a warehouse – as is certainly preferable to its demolition. Let’s see what happens.

Bway
Bway on October 6, 2016 at 3:41 pm

Well if they couldn’t save the Ridgewood for performing arts center, don’t see how they could this. That said, the RKO Madison (now the Liberty Department Store), the old balcony is fully intact, and in pretty good condition. Plaster walls, plaster ceiling, and the top of the old Proscenium arch is all still there above the drop ceiling of the store. It would probably be possible to restore the balcony for theatrical use, they would just have to put a solid ceiling/floor in place of the fake drop ceiling over the store the theater currently has. I have seen other theaters where the orchastra level was converted to retail with the old balcony still used for theater purposes.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on February 21, 2017 at 8:11 am

Since I was off for President’s Day, I took a short trip through Bushwick and visited the old theater. The renovation is proceeding very well and they have done, with one exception, a very good job of restoring the fa├žade – they have even taken those unsightly metal slabs off the window. (The exception concerns some modern brickwork that was installed at the top of the building’s Irving Ave. side; perhaps the original material was just too weak; but this is a minor wrinkle to what otherwise is a most admirable development.)

When I asked one of the workmen what the building is being renovated for, he vaguely answered “stores”. (I don’t think he knew anything more definite.)

While the conversion of the old building into anything theatrical or cinematic remains a long shot, I was encouraged by the name of the development company that was provided on the placard that provided some of the details of the work – the name is “Imperial”.

Since the renovation should be completed soon, we should get a better idea of what actually will take place here in the very near future.

Bway
Bway on February 23, 2017 at 4:38 pm

Very interesting John, have to check it out one day. As for the replacement bricks, the old ones were probably in not too good shape. If you look at my photo from 10 years ago, which is the main photo currently, the right hand side of the facade also seems to have been tampered with even way back then. Probably repair for damage brickwork.

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