Imperial Theatre

157 Irving Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11237

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Showing 1 - 25 of 71 comments

johndereszewski on February 11, 2018 at 1:22 pm

Since I have not been able to get around due to poor health, I have not been able to re-visit the old Imperial and see if any more businesses have moved in. I know that the wine bar only occupies a small portion of this site and that attempts are being made to rent the rest of the building – including the area containing the theater itself. Has anything come to this and, if so, who are the new tenants? Thanks in advance.

johndereszewski on August 7, 2017 at 3:17 pm

This article on the wine bar appeared recently in the Bushwick Daily blog.

alchemist47 on July 21, 2017 at 8:17 pm

A wine store open up on irving side today.

johndereszewski on July 21, 2017 at 10:34 am

Sorry, but I am not much of a picture taker. Anyhow, it probably would be best to wait until the renovations are complete and the site is actually operational. This should occur pretty soon.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on July 20, 2017 at 11:48 pm

Did you take any photos that you can add here?

johndereszewski on July 19, 2017 at 9:37 am

I was able to visit the site yesterday. The renovation work is nearly complete and what I was able to glimpse of the interior seems pretty impressive. There is currently no indication of what establishments will eventually occupy the premises, though there was a sign noting the availability of retail space. Hopefully we will find out exactly what is in store for this very interesting building very soon.

johndereszewski on May 4, 2017 at 6:51 am

Well, I was able to visit this site yesterday after work and have only good things to report. While there is scaffolding around the building, its purpose is to support the excellent façade restoration that is taking place – NOT to aide and abet a demolition! This work is proceeding nicely and also involves the installation of windows on what once were metal covered open holes. A good looking entrance is also being constructed on the Irving Ave. side of the building. All in all, the building should be ready for occupancy pretty soon. While it is still unclear what uses will be established here, they will have a very nice home to occupy.

The quality of the façade work needs to be recognized since it really captures the subtle changes in the brick colors along the wall as it restores the ornamentations that were created for the old theater.

I can’t wait to see it open.

johndereszewski on May 1, 2017 at 3:36 pm

That probably is the best explanation – but somebody still needs to check this out directly.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 1, 2017 at 2:55 pm

Possibly they were referring to interior demolition? The theatrical interior was probably gone long ago, but if the building is being renovated for retail space there was probably still a lot of later material to be hauled out.

Bway on May 1, 2017 at 2:17 pm

Not sure, the post said demolition, but perhaps the person who posted it was mistaken.

johndereszewski on May 1, 2017 at 2:13 pm

But what exactly is happening at the old Imperial site. Given the amount of real loving care provided to restore it, it makes absolutely no sense to now demolish the place. A real on-site visit is certainly needed now.

Bway on May 1, 2017 at 2:08 pm

So sorry for the confusion, but I meant Irving and DeKalb, not Knickerbocker. I can’t find the post anymore, but here’s a google streetview of the old theater building:

robboehm on April 24, 2017 at 9:28 pm

I had previously suggested the Willoughby, Starr and Park.

johndereszewski on April 24, 2017 at 2:11 pm

While I am somewhat flying blind on this, since my computer cannot access the Facebook photo, I would guess that the Willoughby Theater, situated at 260 Knickerbocker – or a few blocks west of DeKalb- would best fit the bill. The site is currently owned by a church, and they have sold it to a developer who will construct a much larger building here but leave the first floor for religious functions. I believe that the Brownstoner blog has discussed this item in prior posts.

Hopefully, this will help sort this out.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 24, 2017 at 1:48 pm

It did seem odd to me that if the building was going to be demolished it looked better in the Facebook photo than it did in the photos on our photo page. All those layers of paint have been stripped off of the brick. But I still can’t find a photo of a theater at DeKalb and Knickerbocker. There’s only one modern building at that intersection, and it looks several years old.

johndereszewski on April 24, 2017 at 10:12 am

One other thing – I just viewed the Google satellite picture of this site and it clearly confirms that the building is being renovated – not demolished.

johndereszewski on April 24, 2017 at 9:35 am

Bway, robboehm and Joe – These comments do not make sense – at least in terms of the imminent demolition of the old Imperial. As I previously noted, this former theater has been undergoing an extensive – and quite impressive – renovation and should be re-opening as retail space pretty soon. Unless something VERY radical has recently occurred here, the fact that the building will soon be demolished is just not credible. This really requires an on-site visit.

Yes, after it closed as a theater sometime in the 1940’s, this building did host a Robert Hall’s for a number of years.

Let’s see what happens here.

robboehm on April 23, 2017 at 7:38 pm

I’m with you, Joe. We’ll see if Bway weighs in on this.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 23, 2017 at 1:10 pm

robboehm: This photo is the only one I can find on the Ridgewood Facebook page of a theater about to be torn down, and it’s the Imperial. Comments say it used to be a Robert Hall. I think Bway might have been mistaken about the location being DeKalb and Knickerbocker.

robboehm on April 23, 2017 at 12:00 pm

The Starr, Willoughby and Park (aka Park Palace) were all on Knickerbocker in the DeKalb vicinity. Any clue what it’s use was before demolition to check back on CT?

robboehm on April 23, 2017 at 11:53 am

Bway-None of the theaters on Cinema Treasures in Ridgewood have a DeKalb or Knickerbocker address. If it’s on CT it’s probably Brooklyn.

I tried to find the Facebook entry you refer to but was unsuccessful. How, exactly, did you access it?

Bway on April 23, 2017 at 3:58 am

John, on the if you lived in Ridgewood Facebook page, there’s a current photo of the theater at DeKalb and Knickerbocker being torn down, April 22, This building once housed Robert Hall. Do you remember what the name of that theater was, I can’t find it or remember.

Bway on February 23, 2017 at 3:38 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.

johndereszewski on February 21, 2017 at 7:11 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 façade – 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 on October 6, 2016 at 2:41 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.