Marvin Theatre

1216 Broadway,
Brooklyn, NY 11221

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Bway on April 27, 2009 at 7:47 am

Here’s a current view of the Hansa site. It’s now a storage facility:

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Ken Roe
Ken Roe on June 15, 2006 at 2:21 pm

Sad news folks…
The arial view posted by bway on 12th June is a little out of date. I passed by the site of the former Van Buren/Marvin Theatre today and it has now been demolished. It must have happened earlier in 2006 as already foundations have been laid for constructing a new building on the site.

Bway on June 12, 2006 at 4:35 am

The Marvin-Van Buren Theater is very much still existing. It was a small theater as Ken mentioned. It’s the small triangle-like building seen in this aerial view:

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Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 4, 2005 at 10:30 am

The Van Buren Theater is a low rise single storey structure which barely rises to the height of the El train tracks. It is located on the corner of Broadway and Van Buren Street (actual given address in F.D.Yearbooks is 1216 Broadway). It is also listed at this address and operating as a movie theatre in the 1914/15 edition of American Motion Picture Directory.

For many years it was in use as a bedding/mattress warehouse and I managed to gain entry and take a look around the building a couple of years ago. There was still quite a lot of architectural decoration to be seen and traces of the proscenium opening were visible between piles of matresses.

It was currently empty when I viewed it a few weeks ago in June 2005. There is a ‘To Lease’ sign on the building for future use as storage.

Bway on October 30, 2004 at 2:12 pm

Here’s another photo I found on the net of the building, that still seems very theater like, but could have been a bank, if not a theater. Peter is right, only a roadtrip will solve this.

I also looked through my photos some more, and found this one, that pans back a little further. Unfortunately, the reason for the photo, the train, blocks the view. However, if the Prayer Palace (the building with the coupola) is not the Marvin, the marvin must be demolished, because the marvin would be just to the right of the Prayer palace if that building is not the Marvin.
Also notice the Empire Theater’s peak just above and behind the “Prayer Palace” building, and the RKO Bushwick building in the background on the left:

Bway on October 30, 2004 at 2:03 pm

Thanks Lostmemory. That means that the Prayer Palace is probably not the Marvin theater, unless the numbers skip a lot. It also means that the theater building is/was located just west of the Prayer Palace building, perhaps just out of view to the right fo me when I took the above photo. Or perhaps it has been torn down, there is a “newer” looking building at the extreme right of the photo.

PeterKoch on October 29, 2004 at 5:44 pm

Perhaps the Prayer Palace has no phone number, or an unlisted one. It reads like a field trip is needed to check this one out.

dave-bronx™ on October 29, 2004 at 5:37 pm

According to (Verizon phone directory) there is no listing for 1216 Broadway Brooklyn NY – I did a search for both the specific address, and also churches on Broadway, there are only 7, none at 1216, and none named Prayer Palace.

PeterKoch on October 29, 2004 at 1:17 pm

Thanks. BTW, I asked my dad about the Marvin last night, told him where it was, but he doesn’t remember it. I’m glad I tried asking him, though.

Bway on October 29, 2004 at 1:15 pm

It’s on the cross attached to the building, and sticks out from the building. Again, I am not sure that is 1216 Bway, but it’s a good chance it is.

PeterKoch on October 29, 2004 at 11:17 am

I’ve found it in my e-mail. Thanks. Where on the building can you now read that it’s the “Prayer Palace” ?

Bway on October 28, 2004 at 3:26 pm

Peter, I cropped and enlarged the building in the original 4mp original of that photo. I am still not able to get the exact cross street, but was able to zoom in on what the “Reid Furniture” store is today. It is currently “The Prayer Palace”. This is good news, because it being a church is a good sign that it was a theater. If so, we have found yet another surviving Bway Theater. A roadtrip is all I need to confirm the address one day, but all signs lead to it being a theater.
Peter, check your email for this zoomed crop.

PeterKoch on October 28, 2004 at 12:38 pm

Reid Avenue is apparently now known as Malcolm X Boulevard.

PeterKoch on October 28, 2004 at 12:36 pm

It could be the Marvin / Van Buren Theater, because the theater was at Bway and Van Buren, between the Kosciuszko and Gates el stations on Bway’s southwest side, and that is where the “Reid Furniture” building is in the photo. It’s hard to be sure without legible street signs. The roof of the building has that “silver-painted trapezoid” look of the Colonial and other Bushwick and Ridgewood Theaters.

“Reid Furniture” is confusing because Reid Avenue intersects Bway between Myrtle and Kosciuszko, as opposed to Van Buren intersecting Bway between Kosciuszko and Gates.

Bway on October 28, 2004 at 12:13 pm

The Marvin Theater was located between the Gates Ave and Kosciuszko St stations on the Broadway El, on the south side of the el. I took this photo on the Broadway El about a year ago, from just east of the Kosciuszko station. In the far distance you can see the RKO Bushwick Theater. Before that, there is a building that has “Reid Furniture” painted on it’s side. Could this be the Marvin theater? It’s fasade does look sort of “theater-like”.

Click here for photo.

deleted user
[Deleted] on October 27, 2004 at 12:26 pm

I believe the Van Buren Theatre was renamed the Marvin Theatre in sometime in the late thirties.