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, has remained relatively intact and is used for storage.

The balcony seats are still in place. The auditorium has survived with little damage. Stage and dressing rooms are also intact. It was announced in summer of 2015 that the furniture store had relocated to MacDonald Avenue and had vacated the building.

Contributed by Jason R

Recent comments (view all 260 comments)

robboehm on February 9, 2015 at 3:25 pm

Surprisingly good condition. At least as a furniture store it’s assured that the roof is in tact.

ERD on February 9, 2015 at 4:48 pm

I appreciate seeing the additional photos of what was once one of the most beautiful movie theatres in Brooklyn.

Orlando on July 17, 2015 at 9:46 pm

The furniture store is moving to another location and let'’s see what happens to the building. I did a familiar photo shoot twice 1n the 1990’s and in 2001. I also was in the building and just asked for a view and got it. The furniture store owner gave his card. The 2nd time was with some out of town friends and NY THSA director. Everybody was amazed. The roof in the projection booth was wet from rain so the entire roof is not really protecting the existing plaster. The building is 88 years old in October and I doubt after 1970, the same time movies ceased the roof hasn’t been touched. Brandt’s operated the theatre from Loew’s in 1966 and it closed late 1969. My JHS school bus passed the theatre every school day from 1967-70 and it closed by then. The Boro Park went from movies to XXX in 1968. I remember the movie “Boom” playing here and then Adult films. I don’t want to predict that a condo building of some sort may occupy the site, but it might be likely. For restoration to a theatre highly unlikely due to the neighborhood and its' proximity to the Kings.

ERD on July 18, 2015 at 4:20 pm

There is no doubt that this building will never become a theatre again due to neighborhood’s uncompromising religious view about seeing movies. One of the negative aspects of the location it is close to the elevated train and there is a lot of noise when a train passes by on New Utrecht Avenue. The theatre will most likely be knocked down just like the Boro Park.

theatrefan on July 19, 2015 at 7:49 pm

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 on October 26, 2015 at 4:45 pm

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 on October 27, 2015 at 5:37 pm

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 on October 27, 2015 at 7:35 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.”

ERD on November 1, 2015 at 7:26 pm

Not many “historic elements” will be left to incorporated.

WilliamMcQuade on January 13, 2016 at 7:31 pm

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.

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