Echo Theater

368 Bushwick Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11206

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johndereszewski
johndereszewski on August 25, 2010 at 1:21 am

Hector, if you – or anyone else – wishes to discuss the old neighborhood in more detailed length off line, please contact me at

However, I believe that most of the items that I raised should be discussed on these pages. In discussing the old movie houses, it is essential that we explore the relation that those theaters had to the communities that they served. This is particularly true of the old “nabe” theaters – like the Echo – that were hardly architetural wonders, but provided very meaningful services to their “nabes” for many years. Thus, in trying to determine “Who went there?”, we need to know the character of the community that hosted and supported them. The fact that this neighborhood has not existed for a half century makes this an especially valuable endeavor in urban history.

So, for these reasons, I think it is entirely appropriate for us to explore these questions on this page. Such a discussion could mimic the wonderful dialogue on the Colonial Theatre page, where the interplay of that Bushwick theater and the members of Our Lady of Lourdes parish frames a wonderful – and highly insightful – discussion. The fact that some of the more extreme defenders of “CT discussion purity” would oppose any such discussion should not prevent this very valuable dialogue from going forward.

Talk soon.

Hopefully, this will begin a very interesting diologue – or not.

TPH
TPH on August 24, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Hi John,
You raise an interesting point. Despite the presence of large ethnic communities in that vicinity foreign language product corresponding to the Italian or Yiddish enclaves that were in the area failed to be presented. It wasn’t until after WWII that theaters like the Sun & the Alba began importing Mexican movies primarily through Columbia Pictures, for the Latino population that moved into the neighborhood. As late as the ‘60s, the Graham may have been presenting some Italian films, but not the art house fare that was popular then.

Of course I’m familiar with Our Lady of Pompeii having attended many a family function there. As it may not relate specifically to the message parameters of CT, let me know if you’d want me to contact you off-line to go into further detail.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on August 24, 2010 at 11:28 am

I agree that their less than optimal location – especially compared to that enjoyed by the theaters situated on nearby Broadway and Graham Ave. – speeded the demise of both the Echo and the G&M Theaters.

That said, I remain very interested to know the nature of the community that the old theaters served. As we know, this area was pretty well obliterated when Bushwick Hylan Houses was constucted here over fifty years ago. I have been told, albeit without any firm documentation, that a small Italian (mostly Sicilian) commuity once resided here. These were probably the residents who, about 100 years ago, established Our Lady of Pompeii RC parish about a block east of the old Echo’s site. However, without any firm evidence to either confirm or dispute this, I really can’t be sure if this was the case. So, any facts that can be provided to fill in this gap will be greatly appreciated.

TPH
TPH on August 23, 2010 at 2:20 pm

Bushwick Hylan Houses opened in 1961 but the “urban renewal project” which involved the condemnation proceedings began in the mid to late 50’s. Moore St. was its own commercial hub which centered around the municipal market on Humboldt St. bounded by Moore and Varet. The Echo could not keep up with the technological advances and population shifts of the area, and although Bushwick Ave. was a busy thoroughfare, it was not as centrally located as nearby Graham Ave., or served by bus/trolley or elevated subway lines.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on August 23, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Hector, thanks to you and your 87 year old relative for providing a badly needed first hand account of this old theater. The vision of the older brother reading the captions our loud was especially interesting and got me to wonder if, in an age where literacy – especially in English – was hardly universal, this practice was more widespread. I can imagine patrons lodging complaints against those who drowned out the piano by reading the captions to their co-attendees.

By the way, does your relative remember anything about the surrounding community during the Echo’s lifespan? This was a time when Bushwick-Hylan Houses dod not yet exist, Morell St. was still an open thoroughfare and the Moore St. commercial district probably extended to Bushwick Ave. Any memories will be greatly appreciated. But what you have already provided is really terrific.

TPH
TPH on August 23, 2010 at 1:36 am

87 yr.old relative recalls going to the Echo as a pre-schooler with his older brother who would read him the subtitltes of the silent screen features. Suspects that the theater closed in the ‘40s and when he was old enough to make his own theater choices he would opt for the sumptuousness of the Alba. He had no recollection of the G&M theater.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on June 10, 2010 at 9:28 pm

Too bad there are no photos,but it did close a long time ago.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on November 7, 2009 at 7:40 pm

Ken, thanks so much for both your quick response and the acknowledgement.

TPH
TPH on November 7, 2009 at 4:13 am

John – The Echo was long gone before my time. A distant relative, now in his 80’s was born on Morell St. Will check with him as to the location of the theater.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 6, 2009 at 8:51 pm

John; I have added the G & M Theatre /theaters/30517/

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on November 6, 2009 at 8:10 pm

Ken, do you think we have enough to enter the G&M/Sunset as a new site? If you believe we do, please enter it, since I am not very sure as to how to do it. Please rely on any of the information I included above in fleshing out the site description.

Thanks.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on November 6, 2009 at 7:46 pm

Hector, do you remember anything about the old Echo? Was it situated right next to the library or across he street from what had once been Morell St? I guess is that this must have been a pretty active intersection before it was decimated by the construction of Bushwick-Hylan Houses.

Since the certificate of occupancy to establish the gas station at Bushwick and Flushing was granted in the early 1940’s, I agree that the movie situated at that location had certainly disappeared well before the 1950’s. It probably did not even make it into the talking picture era.

TPH
TPH on November 6, 2009 at 7:21 pm

If there was a theater at Bushwick & Flushing Aves. it was long gone by the 1950s as the gas station was at that location by that decade.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on November 6, 2009 at 7:16 pm

Thanks so much Ken. At least this gives me something to run with and validates the fact that a movie house once graced this location. Since this was a major intersection, I am surprised that the record of this theater' existence is so thin.

TPH
TPH on November 5, 2009 at 9:57 pm

Are there any available photo links of the Echo?

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on June 19, 2009 at 1:31 am

I was able to review the Department of Building’s data regarding this site. While I retrieved some very useful information, that I will share, no “smoking gun” revelation of a movie house appeared. Specifically:

  1. The movie theater – assuming there was one – was situated at either 460 – 462 Bushwick Avenue or 860 – 866 Flushing Ave.

  2. The Block Number of this site is Brooklyn Block 3138 and Lot Number 32.

  3. The earliest on-line action was a variance that, in 1946, permitted the applicant to establish a gas station here. What was here before was not noted, but may have been the old theater. Unfortunately, no earlier action is on line. Thus, while we can imply the existence of an earlier movie presence, no firm evidence exists – unless one has the time to examine the Department of Building’s hard copy archive.

  4. Several actions, occurring in the 1903 – 1913 era, indicate that a use not inconsistent with a movie house received permission to do business here. Unfortunately, we have no on-line access to these records.

So that is what I have been able to come up with. Hopefully, we will be able to come up with some paydirt here – or maybe not.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on June 17, 2009 at 1:04 am

Well LM, after combing through ALL of the Brooklyn sites in Cinema Treasures, I have still come up empty on my search for the phantom movie house at the southwest corner of Bushwick and Flushing. So I guess I will have to look further. Any other leads will be most appreciated.

The borough search was not totally futile, since I did stumble over a few big surprises. The most notable one was the Republic Theatre in Williamsburg, a huge movie house that I never thought ever existed. The fact that its 11211 zip code was not attached to its CT page was a major oversight and a systemic problem that, I hope, the site manager will attempt to address in a more comprehensive way.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on June 15, 2009 at 1:32 am

I did the zip code search for 11206 and 11237 for this theater and came up blank. So I guess I will have to do a borough search.

Thanks for thr capacity data for the Echo.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on June 14, 2009 at 3:06 pm

I’m not sure where to place this post, but since the Echo would have been its closest cinematic neighbor, I will enter it here.

In reading Eugene Armbruster’s history of Brooklyn’s Eastern District, I stumbled upon a reference to a movie theater that was situated at the southwest corner of Bushwick and Flushing Avenues. A gas station now graces this location. I have not, however, been able to find any reference to a movie theater on this site anywhere in Cinema Treasures. Since Armbruster is a very reputable source, I believe such a theater did exist. It’s location at the intersection of two busy streets also reinforces this view.

So my question: Does anyone have any evidence to confirm the existence of a movie theater at this location? Since Armbruster wrote this portion of the book in the 1920’s, this is probably the time frame that needs to be explored. Also, the pertinent address would lie in the 800’s for Flushing and the early 400’s for Bushwick. Both would be even numbers. But, beyond that, I can’t offer any more clues.

Please help resolve this issue.

Bway
Bway on April 20, 2009 at 3:08 pm

This had to be a pretty small theater. Any more information on it?

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on October 13, 2008 at 11:29 pm

I made an on-site visit of this site today and can report the following.

368 Bushwick is located accross the street from what Bway suggests. Specifically, the Echo was situated right down the block from the Bushwick Public Library (340 Bushwick) and near the intersection of Bushwick Ave. and Morell St. Along with Morell St., it is now included within the confines of the Bushwick-Hylan housing project, which was constructed around 1950.

Given the Echo’s demise in the 1940’s, this scenario makes sense.

Bway
Bway on June 8, 2006 at 11:59 am

Anyone have any more information about the Echo theater?

Bway
Bway on September 23, 2004 at 7:25 pm

The Echo theater building has been razed.
I drove by yesterday, and the site is now occupied by new two family homes that probably date back to the 90’s. The entire blocks on the cross streets (Moore and the one to the west) have been razed to build these homes.