Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: Former National Theatre, now supermarket
Address: 720 Washington Avenue
Cross Streets: Prospect and Park Places
Neighborhood: Prospect Heights
Year Built: 1921
Architectural Style: Unable to determine
Architect: Charles Sandblom
Other Buildings by Architect: Over 42 theaters mostly in Brooklyn, but also in Queens, the Bronx and Manhattan
The story: Brooklyn is littered with former theaters. Any neighborhood worth its salt had at least three of four theaters in its history, and larger neighborhoods had many more. Everyone went to the local theater; there was something affordable to almost everyone, and something for almost everyone’s taste. When movies replaced live theater and vaudeville, many of the smaller theaters closed and were converted to other use, but there was still at least one decent sized movie theater around. Where else could parents safely get rid of their kids for a couple of hours?
When neighborhoods could no longer support a movie theater, for whatever reason, it seems that they generally become one of two sorts of places – a church or a supermarket. Many of the former theaters I feature here are generally churches, but here’s one that became a supermarket. Most people using it, or walking by have no idea what the building’s original use was. (more…)