A look at Brooklyn, then and now.

Many of the grand store buildings built during the height of Downtown Brooklyn’s days as a pre-eminent shopping mecca are still with us. The Offerman Building, the buildings of Abraham & Straus, Namm’s, Loeser’s, Woolworth’s and Oppenheim & Collins still stand, even though all are now inhabited by new stores and businesses.

But if you look at old maps and photographs of the Fulton Street corridor, between Court Street and Flatbush Avenue, there’s one category of businesses that is totally gone: the theaters.

The only remaining vestiges of Brooklyn’s large theater district are those around and including the Brooklyn Academy of Music — but in the hundred years between the end of the Civil War through the 1960s, they were scattered along Fulton Street and its nearby side streets.

Some were later movie theaters, like the Albee, the Duffield, the Fox and Loews, but a fair number were legitimate stage theaters. One of the finest of these long-gone theaters was the Grand Opera House.


Now we’ve got before and after photos of the $20 million revitalization of Fulton Street and its pedestrian plazas. As we reported last week, local politicians joined the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corp. Tuesday for a ribbon-cutting, above, at Marcy Plaza to celebrate the completion of the years-long effort. All that money went toward renovating Restoration Plaza, creating “streetscape improvements,” and installing public wifi and art in public plazas.

“The scope and success of this revitalization project exemplifies our community’s commitment to showcasing our many assets so that long-term residents, newcomers and visitors can experience Bedford Stuyvesant at its best,” said Council Member Al Vann.

Click through to the jump to see before and after photos of various parts of Fulton, sent to us by BSRC.

Bed Stuy Community Groups, Pols to Celebrate End of Fulton Street Restoration [Brownstoner]
Photos by Margot Jordan for BSRC