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Snapshot: Empress Theatre

November 11, 2013

Post 3 in the Snapshot Series  – Occasionally in my travels I come across a theater that I can’t find a lot of information on, or that I only have a chance to photograph for an hour or two. They’re still beautiful and fascinating, so they definitely have a place on After the Final Curtain

The remains of the Empress Theatre's proscenium arch.

The remains of the Empress Theatre’s proscenium arch.

The Empress Theatre opened in 1927 in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. The 1,595 seat theater was built by architect Charles A. Sandblom, who is also known for the Gramercy Theater in Manhattan. Originally part of the Century Circuit, the theater became part of the RKO circuit in 1929.

The former balcony is currently used for storage.

The former balcony is currently used for storage.

The Empress closed in 1941 and reopened the following year as the Crown Theatre. Unfortunately, the revamp was short lived and the theater closed permanently in 1950. Since then, the building has gone through a number of different uses, including a dance hall, a furniture showroom, a banquet hall and a night club. It is currently being used as a supermarket, medical center and storage for a publishing company. The ceiling is all that remains of the former theater.

A close up of the proscenium.

A close up of the proscenium.

The fans and sprinkler system were added when the former balcony was being used as a furniture showroom.

The fans and sprinkler system were added when the former balcony was being used as a furniture showroom.

The Empress switched to showing only spanish language films in 1948.

The Empress switched to showing only spanish language films in 1948.

A close up of some of the plaster-work on the side of the proscenium.

A close up of some of the plaster-work on the side of the proscenium.

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The exterior of the building.

The exterior of the building.

A close up of some of the plaster-work on the side of the auditorium.

A close up of some of the plaster-work on the side of the auditorium.

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Empire Kosher, a kosher grocery store currently occupies the main level of the building.

Empire Kosher, a kosher grocery store currently occupies the main level of the building.

© Matthew Lambros and After the Final Curtain, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Matthew Lambros and After the Final Curtain with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. ray permalink
    November 11, 2013 7:58 pm

    I PLAYED IN THE LOEW,S POLI IN BPT.,CT. BAND CONTEST IT WENT ON FOR A FEW WEEKS. WE WON IT & PLAYED AT THE LOEW,S LYRIC IN BPT. FOR A WEEK. A LONG TIME AGO. I THINK IT WAS 1942 RAY MEACHEN

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