Grand View Theatre

716 Woodward Avenue,
Ridgewood, NY 11385

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Bway on April 27, 2009 at 7:50 am

They have built an apartment house on this site.

deleted user
[Deleted] on November 27, 2004 at 9:03 am

Very good observation. No roof would also lead me to believe that there was no basement. Indeed this was a hastily built theatre. I am inclined to discount any role that the railroad may have played in this. The building was in all likely hood in ill repair and needed to be replaced. Most Nickelodeons in that era were storefront operations. The Grand View or possibly Folly theatre were unique in being an open air theatre. More of a temporary structure than a true Nickelodeon.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on November 26, 2004 at 10:36 am

Good point! The train that ran on the ground was a steam engine. Maybe the LIRR did lease the ROW to the Brooklyn Rapid Transit or they leased the engine to them.

Bway on November 26, 2004 at 10:29 am

The LIRR owning the property next to the right of way of the curent M line, had to mean that the LIRR had to have something to do with the old steam RR that preceded the Brooklyn Rapid Transit company.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on November 26, 2004 at 10:19 am

I have no idea what the LIRR used the property for. The deed only says that it was owned by them. A “hastily built” theater? Like the Ridgewood Folly? Tom said that the original theater was built in 1908 and sold around 1912. By 1915 this theater is supposed to be closed. The building that stands there today is listed as being built in 1916. Why would a building that was no more than 8 years old be torn down and replaced with another wooden building with a store on the bottom? Why not just convert the Grand View into a store? Going back to “hastily built” again, a building like the Ridgewood Folly wouldn’t be worth converting since it lacked a roof and the sidewalls were only about five or six feet high. This would lead me to believe that the Grand View was an open theater like the Folly was. Maybe it wasn’t the Folly but it was very similar.

deleted user
[Deleted] on November 25, 2004 at 3:53 pm

The Brooklyn Rapid Transit Corp went bankrupt in 1919 and became the BMT sometime in 1923. Many of the Right Of Ways were owned by the L.I.R.R. since that RR has been around since the 1800’s. It is possible that the L.I.R.R. owned the land and leased it to the BRT.

Many early theatres were hastily built since codes were non existent or not enforced anyway. Many such theatres were fire traps and closed as new laws were passed. The cost of upgrading these buildings were prohibitive to the owner. Also many of the theatres were rented buildings with no leases so owners would sell the property when the real estate market dictated so.

Bway on November 24, 2004 at 4:24 pm

I mentioned this somewhere, but I forgot where. What is now the M train el was built in the 1800’s as a steam railroad. It was not an LIRR line. It is described as a “dummy steam railroad to the Lutheran cemetery” on old maps. A dummy steam engine was made in a way that would not frighten horses. It did indeed run on the ground. The stations were in the same places that they are now, at Seneca/Palmetto Sts, and at Forest/Putnam Aves. The Forest Ave was between Woodward Ave and Fairview Ave, just as it is now on the el. Eventually, the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Corp, took over the steam railroad, and connected it to the end of it’s Myrtle Ave El at Myrtle/Wyckoff Aves, and the line ran rapid transit cars. There was a ramp from the station at Wyckoff, that went down to ground level and the el trains ran off the el there, and ran on the ground to Metropolitan Ave station. The el was completed in 1914 or 1915, at which time the elevated trains ran on the el, and the old right of way on the ground was converted to trolley service (which lasted into the 50’s).

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 24, 2004 at 10:27 am

Since this apparently lasted only three years or so, it was probably not a real “theatre,” but something hastily built or converted from existing premises to capitalize on the zooming popularity of movies. I doubt that it would have mattered whether it was near a train station or not, since the potential audience lived within walking distance.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on November 24, 2004 at 10:04 am

I’m trying to find out the history of this area myself. I’m interested in what role the LIRR played in the developement of the area. In one of the messages above, you posted that these small neighborhood theaters were “located near factories, taverns and other high traffic areas”. When this theater was open, the train ran on the ground and it was within two blocks of this theater. I don’t know exactly where the train station was located at that time but getting customers shouldn’t have been a problem. The construction of the “el” might have played a role in this theaters closing.

deleted user
[Deleted] on November 24, 2004 at 7:01 am

I would like to know as much about the history of this area to better make a determination on the prior theatres name.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on November 22, 2004 at 10:23 am

The address that you gave is located on the S/W corner of Woodward ave. There is a wooden building built around 1916 standing there today. I’m not sure what the building located next to it at 714 Woodward is constructed of. The land on the west side of Woodbine was divided into lots and registered ten years before the land on the east side of Woodbine was registered. There is also a mention of the LIRR owning the peoperty on the east side of Woodbine. I don’t know what they used it for. When the Grand View opened in 1912 as you posted above, the train had not been elevated yet. Maybe the LIRR was using the land for construction purposes while the “el” was being built. It must have been very noisey at that location when the “el” was being built. Maybe thats the reason that this theater closed.

deleted user
[Deleted] on November 19, 2004 at 6:06 pm

I have just viewed the Folly Theatre photo from the link in the Ridgewood Folly area. The photo can be a bit deceiving. The building to the right of the Folly theatre appears to have wooden siding or slats.
One of the messages posted by the ‘Kooky People’ as lostmemory refers to them, claims that an ad was found that showed the location of the Folly Theatre. I doubt that very much as these small neighborhood theatres rarely used newspaper advertising. They relied on flyers and word of mouth. They were also located near factories, taverns and other high traffic areas. Perhaps the ‘ad’ that these people refer to was a real estate listing of the Grand View purchasing the Folly Theatre.

Bway on November 19, 2004 at 3:34 pm

While the pieces fit, I can’t prove it.
The Ridgewood Folly was on a corner lot, with the cross street to the left, and another building to the right – just as this property. However, this happens exponentially all over the place, so while this won’t prove this is the site, it does prove it’s a contender.
Why I don’t actually think this is the case, is the fact the in the photo of the Ridgewood Folly I have seem, the building to the right of the Folly is a brick building (or appears to be). There is no building on the Grand View block or Woodward Ave. Under most circumstances, a brick building would not be torn down to replace it with a wood frame building, but anything is possible.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on November 19, 2004 at 12:32 pm

Tom…..You lived in Howard Beach? You must be one of those “rich” people. (just kidding) Anyway, I also think that we were led to the other Grandview theater on purpose. I don’t know if we will ever be able to connect this theater to the Folly.

deleted user
[Deleted] on November 19, 2004 at 12:06 pm

I have never lived in Ridgewood although I did live in Howard Beach for a brief time. I notice that my spelling of Wooward Avenue has been corrected. I have read some postings from the so called ‘Kooky People’. Many of their statements may hold some truth only they knowingly led you to the wrong theatre.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on November 19, 2004 at 6:37 am

I can tell that Tom isn’t from Ridgewood because the address above says “Wooward” ave. It should be “Woodward” ave with a “D”.

Bway on November 17, 2004 at 12:29 pm

This part of Ridgewood is Queens and always was Queens. My grandmother lived in that area since the 1920’s. They had a Brooklyn zip code, and used the Brooklyn post office….but it was the borough of Queens. The border between Queens and Brooklyn never changed…only the sip code lines. This is that endless debate causing the confusion. It’s also why that area of Queens escaped the Queens numbering system on many of it’s streets.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on November 17, 2004 at 12:15 pm

Is it time for the Brooklyn-Queens debate already? I thought that wasn’t due until next week. Orlando, I think that your in the wrong Grand View section. This isn’t the Grandview theater on Grandview ave. I know that these Ridgewood theaters were listed as being in Brooklyn in newspaper ads. I think that we already covered the reason for that. I also found the Madison, Ridgewood, Glenwood, Acme and Belvedere listed as “Myrtle ave theaters”. Maybe thats the way they should be listed.

Tom…..You don’t know the “kooky” people? Check out the other Grandview message area and the Ridgewood Folly section.

Orlando on November 17, 2004 at 10:17 am

The borders might have changed but as a theatre, in its' entire run as a film house the Grand View was always listed as a Brooklyn house in reference and newspaper advertising. I know some of you from the area might dispute this but “that’s the fact”. I don’t think this place was in operation after the so called borders changed.

deleted user
[Deleted] on November 17, 2004 at 10:07 am

The original theatre that the Grand View replaced was built in 1908. Could the original theatre be the Ridgewood Folly Theatre? It is possible since the date of the building is close to the date of the Folly Theatre photo. I am not familiar with the ‘Kooky People’ but their speculation is plausible.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on November 14, 2004 at 1:54 pm

The building that is located on that site today is listed as being built in 1916 so your estimate on the Grand Views closing is not far off. Now for the $64 question, was the prior theater the Ridgewood Folly? I’m still researching this area so I don’t know the answer to that yet.
In the Folly message area, there were alot of posts by the “kooky” people about the Grandview theater replacing the Ridgewood Folly. We all assumed that it was the Grandview theater located on Grandview avenue that replaced the Folly because we weren’t aware of this Grand View theater. Maybe the “kooky” people pointed us in the right direction but we took a wrong turn by believing it was the other Grandview. The Folly does seem to be a better “fit” at this location than any other up to this point.

Bway on November 13, 2004 at 7:10 pm

Tom, it’s funny, me and another cinematreasures member were trying to figure out exactly where this theater was, and we narrowed it down to just the address you listed this as.
This must have been a similar theater to the infamous Ridgewood Folly Theater that was located somewhere in Ridgewood, and was actually the first Ridgewood theater to show silent movies.
The site had a two story wood frame building (apartments over a store) built on it soon after the theater was demolished.