Movie Palaces of Yore Now Churches, Shopping Centers, Music Venues

Some movie palaces haven't been as lucky, namely the old Loew's Canal Theatre at 31 Canal Street. While it might now look like something better suited for Detroit (it shuttered in the late 1970s and is crumbling on the inside), the cinema was one of the most majestic when it opened in 1927. It was also where funnyman Jerry Stiller spent his Saturdays as a child, he told The New York Post in 2012. (Photo: )
Some movie palaces haven't been as lucky, namely the old Loew's Canal Theatre at 31 Canal Street. While it might now look like something better suited for Detroit (it shuttered in the late 1970s and is crumbling on the inside), the cinema was one of the most majestic when it opened in 1927. It was also where funnyman Jerry Stiller spent his Saturdays as a child, he told The New York Post in 2012. (Photo: )


PHOTO CREDIT: CoStar

The Kings Theatre first opened in 1929 as a Loew’s Kings Theatre in Prospect Park South, Brooklyn. But it shut down and the illustrious decor became a victim of time until a recent renovation adapted the theater into a music venue. (Photo: CoStar)

Have a movie theater you’re looking to repurpose? Well, your best option might be to put it in the Lord’s hands.

Old cinemas dating back to the days of Herbert Hoover and speakeasies have fallen by the wayside in the city’s history. With high ceilings, strong acoustics and big auditoriums, these theaters are often repurposed into houses of worship or music venues—with retail space sometimes thrown into the mix. 

Paradise Theatre in the Bronx started selling tickets as the Loew’s Paradise Theatre in 1929. More than 85 years later, both the inside and facade have been landmarked. World Changers Church of New York leased the 3,689-seat Bronx venue in 2012 for a mega church (Photo: CoStar).

Paradise Theatre in the Bronx started selling tickets as the Loew’s Paradise Theatre in 1929. More than 85 years later, both the inside and facade have been landmarked. World Changers Church of New York leased the 3,689-seat Bronx venue in 2012 for a mega church. (Photo: CoStar)

The original Loew’s Wonder Theatres—built from the late 1920s until 1930—are often better recognized today as churches. Take the Paradise Theatre at 2403 Grand Concourse in the Bronx, which was leased out to a church three years ago. The same goes for the Valencia Movie Palace in Jamaica, Queens, a 3,500-seat theater that’s currently home to the Tabernacle of Prayer church. And don’t forget the United Palace in Washington Heights, another Loew’s masterpiece that’s been owned by the non-denominational United Church since 1969.

In other cases, one of these old theaters might capitalize on the good acoustics for something other than a sermon. The King’s Theatre in Brooklyn, a Depression-era cinema, reopened earlier this year as an arts and culture venue. Between 200 and 250 concerts are going to be held per year at the repurposed music hall, according to the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

Modell’s Sporting Goods in Ozone Park, Queens, might also look familiar as Cross Bay Cinemas (it closed in 2005 after 81 years showing films, and the athletic retailer opened a year later). You can still catch the old facade on reruns of The King of Queens.

Modell’s Sporting Goods in Ozone Park, Queens, might also look familiar as Cross Bay Cinemas (it closed in 2005 after 81 years showing films, and the athletic retailer opened a year later). You can still catch the old facade on reruns of The King of Queens.

And you might have better luck catching a fly ball than catching a movie at 94-11 Rockaway Boulevard in Ozone Park, Queens. After first opening as Cross Bay Cinemas more than 90 years ago, the south Queens cinema shuttered in 2005 and became a Modell’s Sporting Goods the following year.

 

 

 

 

 




{{ story.sponsored_byline | safe }}

{{ story.featured_attachment.caption | safe }}
{{ story.featured_attachment.caption | safe }}


Buildings in this story

Organizations in this story

People in this story

Activity in this story




Loading next story...