Casino Theatre

250 Willis Avenue,
Bronx, NY 10454

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Casino Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Willis Theatre opened in 1923. It was located on Willis Avenue near 138th Street in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx. The theatre was renovated and renamed the Casino Theatre in 1939.

Long ago closed as a movie house, the Casino Theatre today houses a supermarket.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

RobertR
RobertR on October 29, 2004 at 4:46 am

Whay a great marquee.

RobertR
RobertR on October 29, 2004 at 4:48 am

The above should have said “what a great marquee”

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 2, 2005 at 5:39 am

Can anyone identify the possible theatre depicted in the new feature about the Bronx neighborhood known as “The Hub” at www.forgotten-ny.com? I don’t know the building’s exact address, but it’s supposed to be on Willis Avenue around 148th or 149th Street. In the color photo, the current tenant has a green awning marked Bergen Discount.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 3, 2005 at 10:38 am

The “mystery theatre” (if it is one) is definitely not the Hub, which was at a different address but in the same neighborhood.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 9, 2005 at 5:18 am

The Willis was expensively renovated and re-named the Casino in 1939 as a tie-in with the New York World’s Fair. Unfortunately, the owners could not get better “clearance,” and the Casino never prospered with its late-run double features. Here is a rare view of the auditorium, along with a tinted enlargement:
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/138-3811_IMG.jpg
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/138-3815_IMG.jpg

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 9, 2005 at 7:11 am

Warren… Regarding your “mystery theater” on Willis Ave in “The Hub”… I did some poking around online (NYC OASIS project for satellite imaging of building and lots, plus NYC Building Dept property search) and it doesn’t look like this was ever a theater at all.

The intersection depicted on that website you referenced (which has since been archived under “Street Scenes” on that site) is Willis Ave and 148th Street. The satellite image I saw pretty much confirms that. The buildings that share that green awning for the discount store all belong to Block 2293 Lot 23. The records show that there are actually 3 buildings included on the lot (one of which is a small structure that fronts Bergen Avenue) all built in 1931 and zoned “commercial and office building” with an address of 522 Willis Ave. The original building behind the facade on the left (which has that movie theater look) was trapezoidal in shape and actually narrowed as it proceeded back from the street. The adjacent building with which it was merged had a similar shape, insufficient for use as a theater. There are no certificates of occupancy online that I could view to confirm its history prior to 1993 or so (when it seems it was at least partially a Pizzeria).

The taller building that rises behind at an angle and looks like it could be the shell of an auditorium actually fronts Bergen Ave (the address is 521 Bergen) and is listed at 6 stories, built in 1904 and is zoned “industrial and manufacturing.” It is also owned by a different entity than the other buildings.

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 4, 2014 at 7:35 am

An item in the October 21, 1922, issue of The American Contractor said that bids were being taken for construction of a theater, store, and apartment building to be built on Willis Avenue between 138th and 139th Streets. The architect was Eugene DeRosa. It must have been the Casino.

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