Loew's 46th Street Theatre

4515 New Utrecht Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11219

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Loew's 46th

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Built for the Universal Pictures chain, the Universal Theatre opened October 9, 1927 with the movie “Alias the Deacon” staring Jean Hersholt, and a stage show “Giggles of 1927” staring Eva Puck and Sam White. It was equipped with a Wurlitzer theatre organ. Designed by architect John Eberson in an Atmospheric/Italian Renaissance style, one side wall of the auditorium had the fa├žade of an Italian garden, while the other side wall had a balustrade, fountain and wall gates. The ceiling replicated a moonlit sky, with twinkling stars and clouds rolling by. Within a year of opening, in September 1928 it was taken over by Loew’s Inc. and was renamed Loew’s 46th Street Theatre. After Loew’s it was finally operated by Brandt Theatres from 1966 and they closed the theatre showing movies in late-1969. It re-opened as the 46th Street Rock Palace, presenting concerts. That closed in 1973.

It was converted into retail space as a furniture store. To enable this, a wall was added just below the balcony. Everything between the wall and the original entrance became a retail space. Everything beyond the wall, towards the original screen remained relatively intact and was used for storage.

The balcony seats were still in place. The auditorium survived with little damage. Stage and dressing rooms were also intact. It was announced in summer of 2015 that the furniture store had relocated to MacDonald Avenue and had vacated the building. Demolition began on Loew’s 46th Street Theatre in August 2016.

Contributed by Jason R

Recent comments (view all 264 comments)

theatrefan
theatrefan on July 19, 2015 at 11:49 am

I have checked the NYC Dept. of Buildings site and apparently a few permits have been filed to do some sort of interior demolition work. Also a year or two prior to that there had been a permit filed to do a conversion from Commercial to Mixed-Use & Residential, that one has seemed to go nowhere for now. BTW, the Furniture store that used to occupy the Loew’s 46th Street has now moved over to McDonald Avenue.

merrib
merrib on October 26, 2015 at 9:45 am

Thanks for all this great information on this site. Update: the building has been sold to a developer and work is scheduled to begin or has begun: the building will be demolished for a high rise structure, a combination of residential and commercial use. The way the furniture store was able to incorporate the previous historic structure and architecture stalled this fate. As commenters said, this will not be a theatre again unless some last minute miracle occurs. Had the building ever been applied for landmark status? (There are a lot of comments here so I am not sure if this was addressed.)

The photos inside and some of the wall ornaments (as shown here: http://abandonednyc.com/2015/01/14/inside-the-loews-46th-st-theater/) would be so great to preserve.

A friend is trying to help as there are bird nests around the building with baby pigeons in them – the contractor said they would let her and wildlife rescue groups rescue the babies before demolition but ideally these birds would be allowed to fledge – a few more weeks and be ready to leave the nest – and then the destruction would take place (if there is no way to stop that, at least prevent the bird lives from being taken). It is much more complicated otherwise – wildlife rehabilitators than have to take on the job of raising the birds and families are separated but there are groups and people ready to do this.

This building has such an amazing history and has survived 88 years. It is hard to imagine a lack of appreciation of its history and architecture — but so much of NYC history has been destroyed in an overly aggressive manner over the last dozen years (it accelerated under Michael Bloomberg).

Will everything be a “luxury” glass building — that also kills and disorients migratory and other birds — at the end of the day with no history in this city left? There is some Landmarks Preservation intervention but so much is not being preserved and appreciated: instead we are left with an overly sanitized NYC.

theatrefan
theatrefan on October 27, 2015 at 10:37 am

My friend Orlando was just at the Loew’s 46th Street. He spoke with the owner and the building is currently being gutted inside, the outside will be preserved and used for retail on the bottom parts and apartments on the top. Most of the items like the chairs that were inside are already thrown inside the dumpster and have been hauled off unfortunately. Well at least the exterior will be preserved in some sort of form.

Orlando
Orlando on October 27, 2015 at 12:35 pm

The former theatre is NOT being demolished nor has the building been sold. I was lucky today to meet the owner and he said a lot of the historical elements will be saved and incorporated into the structure once it is converted to stores on the main floor and apartments. The grand staircase was sold as were the plaster fountain at stage right. I was also allowed to take photos of the main entance (with exposed poster cases for the first time!) and of other details in the auditorium. (92 pictures in all) for prosperity and for the owner. When he left, he told me that I would be the last person allowed into the building. It still felt grand with all original floor tilework intact and without all the furniture. Some orchestra seats were covered over. The building turned 88 years old October 9th of this year and I turn 59 at 10:42 PM tonight. What a wonderful gift to see this building once more and the exterior on New Utrecht Avenue will remain intact.

P.S. Someone bought all the marquee letters two weeks ago and someone has bought all the remaining plaster work to save. As the owner said, “It’s only plaster.”

WilliamMcQuade
WilliamMcQuade on January 13, 2016 at 11:31 am

Luckily I was in it a number of times over the years when the furniture store was there. A shame another theater has to go but what else would one expect from our throwaway society. Looking forward to see how the Brooklyn Paramount renovation turns out.

atmos
atmos on August 10, 2016 at 7:20 am

Theatre has been demolished.

merrib
merrib on August 10, 2016 at 7:29 am

Really, atmos? After all the assurances by owner to passers-by that this would not happen? Sad.

ERD
ERD on August 10, 2016 at 9:23 am

The owner was just trying to avoid an argument. Few people of the old neighborhood are left who would care. Profit is the main goal and having a theatre now would lose money.

Orlando
Orlando on August 25, 2016 at 8:32 am

To above, the four walls and roof are still there. True it will be demolished in a short time, but it is NOT demolished yet. It is demolished when the interior steelwork walls and all are gone and is a vacant lot. When a friend mine told me it was demolished, I told him it was a figment of someone’s imagination having seen it this past Monday 8-22-2016. Let’s not rush and put demolished in the heading, some may still want to see the facade. Adios, for now.

ERD
ERD on August 26, 2016 at 8:24 am

The building is guttered. To be realistic, demolished or not,the structure is no longer a theatre. If you are familiar with the neighborhood as it is now, you would know they are not interested in having any theatres.

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