Century Theatre

850 Monroe Street,
Brooklyn, NY 11221

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Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on November 16, 2018 at 1:09 pm

If you enlarge the photo, you can see the corner entrance to the RKO Bushwick directly behind the abandoned Century/Shubert marquee.

Bway on November 15, 2018 at 9:59 am

Here’s a stunning photo of the Centurt/Shubert photo in 1940. It appears it was already abandoned by that point. A huge substantial theater with a very short life.


Willburg145 on July 4, 2017 at 10:48 am

What a shame they tore down the Century. What a beautiful building. The area where the Gates and Monroe theatres were has undergone a transformation. Gentrification has taken root.

Bway on April 20, 2009 at 10:26 am

I have talked with so many people that used to live in the neighborhood, and they always remember the RKO Bushwick of course, and the Monroe next door to the Century, but rarely do they remember the Century. It’s probably because it closed to movies so early on, but the HUGE building would have been really hard to miss. Does anyone remember if this building just stood empty for all those years, or was it used for some other purpose? Old photos taken from the Gates Ave elevated subway platform show the building still in place as of the mid-70’s.

Bway on January 18, 2009 at 3:23 pm

It would sound much more likely to have been this theater rather than the Monroe. It could also have been the RKO Bushwick perhaps. The Shubert/Century was highly ornate inside too from what it seems, as was the Bushwick. While I don’t know what the inside of the Monroe looked like, it was not on the scale of the RKO or the Century.

frankie on January 16, 2009 at 3:13 pm

This MAY be the theater where Mae West did her pre-Broadway try-out of “Diamond Lil” in 1928. Her autobiography mentions a theater where 3 streets come together.

Bway on November 12, 2007 at 1:24 pm

I agree….it’s probably better than a vacant lot as it was in my 2004 photo of the location, however, these homes are about as aesthically pleasing as a cement block wall.

Bway on November 10, 2007 at 1:31 pm

Here’s a photo of the Century Theater site taken this past week. Compare to the photo I took in the exact same spot above in my October 2004 posting.

Click Here for photo

Bway on November 6, 2007 at 6:51 pm

This 1975 photo shows the Century Theater towering high above the el station at Gates Ave, and also dwarfed the RKO Bushwick Theater building (which is not an easy task)…..


Bway on November 6, 2007 at 6:45 pm

Warren, you mention above the theater was demolished in 1978.

Bway on November 6, 2007 at 6:38 pm

WOW!! That is just wonderful! I didn' trealize that the Century was such a substantial building! I too would love to know when it closed to movies, and when it was torn down. That interior shot is really something too! It had two balconies! it almost rivaled the RKO Bushwick which was almost right across the Street.
Now, wasn’t the Century also right next to the smaller Monroe Theater? Have you ever been able to locate a photo of the Monroe?
Thanks so much for posting these. I plan on being in Bushwick tomorrow, and will try to get over to the site to take a photo of the Century site. As I said above, they have built homes there during the last year.

Bway on October 3, 2007 at 8:19 pm

They have recently built brand new homes on the site of the Century Theater.

Bway on June 8, 2006 at 8:35 am

Moondog, that may have been a different Century Theater.

Moondog on January 11, 2005 at 12:05 pm

Unless I’m mistaken, I remember a Century Theatre somewhere on Broadway, I think down toward Flushing Ave in the late fifties.

Bway on October 26, 2004 at 2:35 pm

I wish this “Catalog” would at least give people the option of looking at small thumbnails, sort of like queenspix.com does. How can anyone even try and purchase any of these views if they don’t have any idea what the photo looks like, if it’s a good angle or not, or even worth buying? While Queenspix doesn’t let you see too much (they are quite small), at least they let you get an idea of the photo. Or even what Brooklynpix.com does, by writing words across the photo – anything would be better than nothing.

Bway on October 9, 2004 at 9:12 pm

Yes, I also had assumed it was gone. I had parked on Monroe St a few times in this location (before the other day), to get photos of the RKO Bushwick, and to go to the McDonalds across Monroe, and it would have been a little hard to miss a building that once was a 1700+ seat theater! It had to be a rather large building when it existed.
As for why it was razed, it could be for the reason you mentioned above. That area really was put into hell in the 70’s, and is only now recovering from it. I am going to assume the building became so derrelict, that it had to be removed. We all know what the RKO Bushwick nearby looked like for the previous 30 years, (although now thankfully at least partially preserved), although was probably also a haven for illegal activity for many years before being converted to the school it is now (and really improving the entire neighborhood around it). The RKO Bushwick’s recent good fortune seems to be rubbing off on the surrounding neighborhood, which is getting exponentially nicer and better each time I visit.

Bway on October 7, 2004 at 11:13 am

The Century theater building has been demolished at some point. (It can be changed to “closed/demolished” above).

Currently a little store is on the site of 850 Monroe. The theater was right next to the Monroe Theater, which was at 4 Howard Street. The Monroe is also gone, and is the vacant land to the lefy, next to the Century. Curiously, the Bushwick was to the left of the Monroe, right across the street! Three theaters all adjacent to each other!

Click here for a photo of the site.
Notice the vacant lot to the left (the Monroe), and the RKO Bushwick building in the distance to the left of that.

Click here for close-up of the little store