Nassau Theater

337 Grand Street,
Williamsburg,
Brooklyn, NY 11211

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johndereszewski
johndereszewski on December 31, 2010 at 3:50 am

I have been spending the last day or so roaming through Cezar Del Valle’s excellent “Brooklyn Theatre Index”, which just came out. In reading it, however, I came across one error with regard to this old movie house.

On page 369 of Volume I, it is stated that the Nassau was demolished to make way for the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. This is not the case. As noted in a previous comment, I found the old house at 337 Grand to be very much intact, in the block between Havemeyer and Marcy, when I visited the site a couple of years ago. During the interim, the BQE certainly did not change course! Thus, while the construction of this highway rudely destroyed that portion of Grand St. situated between Marcy Ave. and Rodney St. – and turned the western end of Grand into something of a non-commercial backwater – it did not directly destroy the Nassau. So, anyone seeking to change the theater’s current status based upon the info contained in the Index should be forewarned appropriately.

However, further down the page, the Index identifies an old theater – the Garden Theatre, at 393 Grand – that almost certainly was covered by the BQE. (It did, however, close well before the onset of the highway, in 1928.) This Garden Theatre does NOT, for now, appear in Cinema Treasures.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on March 11, 2010 at 4:24 am

I would take the picture at its word; it was a “Sanitary Market”, whatever that was. (Well, I guess at a time when ice boxes were the state of the art, being sanitary was very important.)

I actually think I remember this site during the early 1970’s, when it hosted another business – but definitely not a movie house.

Bway
Bway on March 11, 2010 at 12:29 am

Was that Havemeyer thing a theater? Or is the marquee just a coincidence?

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on March 4, 2010 at 2:51 am

Bway, I think this place was situated on Havemeyer St., probably between South 1st and 2nd. Havemeyer was the main drag in this part of town and this was just a part of it. The fact that this was a market just underscores the commercial, non-cinematic, nature of this portion of Havemeyer St.

The old Nassau was situated about one block to the north on the block of Grand St. situated between Havemeyer and Marcy Ave.

Bway
Bway on March 3, 2010 at 8:48 pm

This wouldn’t happen to be this theater would it?

View link

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on January 31, 2010 at 5:12 pm

A wonderful vintage picture just posted on the other Nassau Theater’s page – the one actually situated on Nassau Ave. in Greenpoint – notes that Nassau is actually the Dutch name for Long Island. This helps to explain why a theater situated nowhere near Nassau Ave. could also be so named.

By all means, take a look at the picture noted above on the other Nassau page.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on May 4, 2008 at 3:39 am

Brooklyn, your comments are fascinating. I can just imagine this “no seat” theater.

May I suggest that you re-post these comments on the 88 Nassau Ave. Nassau Movie page that also exists on this site. I am sure that a number of viewers who will not check out the Grand St. Nassau will be very interested to read and respond to your comments. Just a thought.

smo3549
smo3549 on May 3, 2008 at 6:00 pm

In the early 50s, on Saturdays, as kids we would watch matinees at the Nassau (88 Nassau Ave) and afterwards, our parents would take us to the Meserole Theater to watch grown-up films. If my memory serves me right, I vagely remember watching matinees at the Nassau sitting on the floor? Yup, on the floor —– NO seats! Does anyone remember that? Was it due to remodel or a fire or sumthing? Would like to hear from anyone who remembers the same.

The Brooklyn…I Remember!

michelemarie
michelemarie on April 13, 2008 at 10:27 pm

Hi John, The Grand Paridise ballroom was a place where Weddings were held..As a child of 7 or 8 I attended my Father’s best friends Son’s Wedding there and they had a “Football Wedding”…I am sure that you know what that is..I lived on Penn Street in Weilliamsburg at that time and walked down to Grand Street with my dad to go to the Bank on Grand and Havermeyer Streets. First National City Bank at that time or was it Chemical Bank can’t remember the exact Name. But the building is still standing..I do not remember the Nassau Theater and I lived in Williamsburg my whole life. I also went to all the Spanish Dances when I was age 18 going foward until I married my Husband at 25. Had a lot of fun at that place, dancing the night away to Salsa….anniegirl

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 18, 2008 at 2:56 pm

Centuries ago, Nassau was the name of one of the royal houses of Europe, which produced some of the rulers of Germany and Holland. Settlers and immigrants brought the name to America, often using it for places and businesses. It connoted importance and a link to royalty.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on January 17, 2008 at 11:47 am

This is another one of those “whoever thought this was a movie house?” buildings. When I passed by it yesterday evening, the old Nassau was still standing and is hardly falling apart. It is now either vacant or being used as a warehouse. Nothing was happening there during my brief pass by.

Does anyone know how THIS Nassau got its name? While the origin of this area’s other Nassau Movie is clear – it was on Nassau Ave. – there is no obvious connection here. I know that Nassau county was created when it split from Queens in 1898 and that a quickly aborted attempt was made to re-name Newtown Creek the Nassau River when the stream was dredged and canalized at about the same time, but these hardly connect with the naming of a movie house on Grand St. Any ideas?

Before it was rudely blocked by the construction of the BQE in the early 1950’s, this portion of Grand St. was a much more lively place. Across the street from the old Nassau was the Grand Paradise banquet hall (now an upscale condo) which was, in its day, one of the classiest places in Williamsburg. I know it from its final days, when it hosted countless Hassidic weddings and Spanish dances. So locating a movie theater on this strip made a lot of sense in its day.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on October 6, 2004 at 7:59 pm

There were once two Broolyn theatres by that name, both late-run “nabes.” This Nassau had 460 seats. The other Nassau, with 499 seats, was at 88 Nassau Avenue. The info comes from the 1945 Film Daily Year Book.