Parthenon Theatre

329 Wyckoff Avenue,
Ridgewood, NY 11385

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Texas2step on April 23, 2018 at 8:25 pm

Actually, this one opened on February 25, 1921. The feature film was “Outside The Law” with Priscilla Dean.

Moondog on December 20, 2017 at 12:15 am

I remember waiting for the Daily News Evening Edition on that corner newsstand. There was always a guy working there with crutches.

Panzer65 on August 5, 2017 at 9:02 am

Just like the Madison, if you look close enough you can find theater remnants.

cinsal47 on February 6, 2016 at 8:26 pm

I grew up in Ridgewood. We would go to the Parthenon on Saturday mornings for 26 cents. For that we would get 25 cartoons (and we would count them!), two features and a serial. Not to mention a free small bag of popcorn. And our mother would get a great baby sitter. We would raise hell in there. Drive the “matrons” crazy. Throw things. Run around playing tag or hide-and-seek. Make lots of funny noises. A real kids' paradise! “I wish, I wish, I wish in vain That we could sit simply in that room again Ten thousand dollars at the drop of a hat I’d give it all gladly if our lives could be like that” -Dylan

johndereszewski on January 8, 2016 at 7:43 am

Thanks so much for posting the three photos from 1921. They are certainly worth a look – and the Parthenon was still in Brooklyn!

dallasmovietheaters on January 8, 2016 at 6:46 am

Grand opening shot of the Hermon Weingarten Parthenon on February 26, 1921 in photos section. The $300,000 complex opened with 1,600 seats and Type S Simplex projectors

johndereszewski on May 18, 2015 at 7:56 am

The local papers have now announced that – believe it or not – a Starbucks will open at this location. This will make it the first Starbucks to open in either Ridgewood or Bushwick.

johndereszewski on December 28, 2013 at 10:31 am

Recently, Ridgewood Ken posted a terrific ad telling us what the Parthenon was presenting during the week of June 7 1925 – or just shortly after the theater “moved” into Queens. Just go into the photo section and enjoy.

johndereszewski on December 17, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Ken, thanks for posting the picture of the current configuration. I guess the only thing that reminds one of the old Parthenon is the pointed roof that still – and barely – projects itself outward.

Still, this is an improvement over the dreary old bingo hall.

Bway on August 27, 2013 at 3:14 pm

There is also a CVS on the site now.

johndereszewski on March 2, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Just paased by the site today. The new gym is now operational but they have pretty much wrecked the theater’s old front in the process of doing this. The Parthenon’s roof, however, is still untouched.

While the new set up is quite attractive – a big improvement to the depressing old bingo parlor – the fact that no attempt was made to restore the old facade is unfortunate. But this could have been a lot worse.

Well – we atill have the old pictures.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on September 23, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Snap some pics and post them here!

johndereszewski on September 23, 2012 at 10:01 am

I just briefly passed by the Parthenon – on the “M” train – about a week or so ago. The renovation work is proceeding and at least some of the old brick work on the front has been exposed. Hopefully, the new uses will be smart enough to make use of this resourse – and not just cover it over again. So let’s hope.

Bway on April 29, 2012 at 12:33 pm

In all likeliness, the theater was built as new construction on the site of the old Trolley barn. When seeing the original facade of the building, it screams “theater”. There is an old photo that shows the right most upper corner of the building was smashed off, probably when the el was built, and to facilitate the curve for the trains. So I am going to assume the building was built just before the el was placed in front of it. The el used to end at Wyckoff station, and then go down a ramp to ride on the surface to Metropolitan Ave. The el used to not turn right onto Palmetto St like it does now, it went anothe50 or 100 feet further onto Myrtle, and then turnaround a building that used to be at the corner of Myrtle and Palmetto (where the large brick building is now, where Koletti’s used to be). It then came down a ramp around the Ridgewood Grove site, before street running on Palmetto to Onderdonk Ave where it turned down it’s own ROW as the el does. In any event, when the el was extended through Ridgewood in 1914, that’s when the sharper turn was made to go around Palmetto as it does now. It is also quite possible the corner was knocked off even at a later date when they added the catwalk for workers to walk along the track, which isn’t original to the el.

Panzer65 on April 28, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Hello everyone, been away from CT for awhile, I do recall reading from the old CT format that the answer to Peter’s question is that the bowling alley was short lived, the closing date was 1966. With all the configuration changes to this building, it is interesting to see if further alterations will uncover any architecture. Chances are the second floor ceiling has some.I believe a theater to gym conversion occurred in Brooklyn where the proscenium was dominant in the new design. I still wonder if anything exists currently, besides the brick facade under the siding.

johndereszewski on April 28, 2012 at 11:02 am

Tapeshare, my guess is that the Parthenon was probably a new construction project that replaced the former buildings on this site. Certainly, the distinctive Greek arch could only have been constructed with the new theater’s name in mind. Still, situations did and do exist where the walls of the previous building are not demolished but are instead incorporated in the new design. So anything is poosible though, in this situation, rather deubtful. Bway and Peter, do you have anything to add on this subject? (And Peter, since the May 5 walking tour fell through, I’m sorry that I will not meet you at that time.)

tapeshare on April 26, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Interesting updates. I’m wondering if anyone knows whether the Parthenon was built from scratch or if they renovated the brick trolley barn that sat in this location.

Bway on April 16, 2012 at 7:33 am

Graffiti is not just a problem on ground level, the roof level has a severe problem with graffiti too, and it’s been up there for decades, people can see it with every M train that passes the building, it should be removed up there too.

PeterKoch on April 13, 2012 at 10:14 am

Thanks, John. I never knew the Parthenon as a theater, only as a bowling alley, Parthenon Lanes, in 1961. My mom and I would stop in there after eating lunch at Koletty’s nearby to spend the time before I had to back at St. Brigid School nearby at 12:45 PM for first grade.

I remember liking those big thick bowling pencils.

I must have walked by the Parthenon thousands of times on the way home from St. Brigid’s, both for lunch, and for the day, yet I do not recall when it stopped being Parthenon Lanes. It would have been some time between September 1961 and June 1969 when I graduated St. Brigid.

If you know when it stopped being Parthenon Lanes, please e-mail me. Thanks.

See you at Wilson Avenue station Saturday May 5 2012 at high noon.

johndereszewski on April 12, 2012 at 8:14 pm

As an update, I just wanted you to know that, at its most recent meeting, the NYC Board of Standards and Appeals unanimously voted to award the special permit that will enable the owners of the old Parthenon to operate a 24 hour a day gym on this site. The only pertinent condition placed upon the approval was that the owner must vigorously work to combat the graffiti problem that has long plagued this building. (This has been a REAL problem.) While the possible restoration of the old facade was not addressed, there is no reason why it should not be – and very good reasons why it should – as the project proceeds toward implementation. Hopefully the local community board,the press – and whoever else – will register their concerns and recommendations here. Stay tuned.

johndereszewski on April 8, 2012 at 10:53 am

Two othwer thoughts on this item just came to mind FIRST, the scheme of the proposed renovations confirms, at least to me, that the old movie house was situated on the second floor – where the gym will soon be located – and that people visiting the Parthenon had to ascend a staircase from the entrance to approach it. The ground floor probably housed dressing rooms when the Parthenon hosted live theater and other retail space ….. SECOND, the construction of the gym may provide an opportunity to remove the dropped ceiling that currently covers the bingo hall and uncover whatever remains of the old theater’s upper walls and ceiling – or not. In any event, this offers a potentially intriguing possibility.

johndereszewski on April 8, 2012 at 10:41 am

A few interesting developments – and possibilities – have recently emerged here ……. FIRST, the bingo hall and most of the retail stores on the ground floor, including the old newsstand that moved down the block, have been closed and scaffolding has been erected on the exterior …… SECOND, the reason for this stems from a proposal to establish a gym in the bingo hall area on the second floor and bring in a drug store and a telephone outlet on the ground floor. The gym requires a zoning variance, which is currently before the City’s Board of Standards and Appeals and that will almost certainly be granted …… THIRD, the renovation of the facade raises the possibility that the ugly outer layers that, over the years, have rudely disfigured the building could be stripped off and the Parthenon’s lovely original brick exterior restored to public view. I have raised the possibility of doing this with local Queens Community Board 5 and the Times Newsweekly newspaper. Hopefully, they will be responsive to this proposal ……. I hope to have more to share with you on this shortly.

johndereszewski on February 5, 2012 at 11:02 am

Joe, thanks so much for digging into this item and finding the name of the architect. While you noted on the Carver Theatre’s page that Yarich had designed several theaters for Weingarten, this marks his initial entry in the CT roster. So, I guess there are more discoveries to come.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 5, 2012 at 4:12 am

The 1920 edition of the Bulletin of the Board of Standards and Appeals of the City of New York contained an item about the theater at 329-339 Wyckoff Avenue in (then) Brooklyn. The architect, Harry A. Yarish, had filed an appeal on behalf of the owner, Herman Weingarten, seeking a modification in the fire commissioner’s demands about a standpipe in the theater. The item includes a partial description of the building:

“…the building is fireproof, one story and mezzanine in height, 104 ft. 3 5/8 in. by 123 ft. 4 l/2 in. in area in the first story and 73 ft. 3 5/8 in. by 123 ft. 4 ½ in. in area above; occupied as a motion picture theatre, the auditorium seating 1,700 persons; with three stores on Wyckoff avenue separated from the auditorium by fire walls, and a store on Palmetto street at the screen end of the theatre having an entrance into the lobby; occupied in the mezzanine for toilet rooms, offices and picture booth; there being located at the rear of the theatre, a platform with a toilet room on one side and an organ room on the other, with a doorway to the platform from each room… appellant claims there is no stage or scenery….”
Yarish’s appeal was dated June 26, 1920. As the item says that the building was “…occupied as a… theatre….” it had most likely opened earlier that year.

Bway on June 15, 2011 at 9:59 am

The Parthenon had such beautiful brickwork too, I can’t understand why they would have covered it over with that aluminum siding. Talk about making a pretty building into one of the ugliest things around….