Monroe Theatre

4 Howard Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11221

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Showing 1 - 25 of 93 comments

PatM on February 4, 2021 at 2:44 am

According to a March 23rd, 1915 article in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, my great-grandfather Michael Minden broke ground on this theater. Minden owned several bars, restaurants, and hotels around Brooklyn. Another article gives this as the location where he became the first person arrested by the feds for violation prohibition.

Oldhead on October 23, 2017 at 11:21 pm

I grew up in this neighborhood, back in the early 80’s. My mother told me about the Monroe, as well as the RKO Bushwick (Bela Lugosi made a personal appearance at the RKO.) What I remember is a big empty lot, and trying to imagine where the theater was in relation to the Bushwick. Now I see it was actually more on Howard than on Monroe. The RKO Bushwick is that marquee that’s jutting out of the extreme left of the photo. The metal structure on top of the photo is the ubiquitous “J” train.

jflundy on January 20, 2011 at 9:56 pm

View link

Above link to Google Book resource relating to B.F. Keith’s and Monroe Theatre.

jflundy on January 20, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Link to Madison Monroe Theatre bill:
View link

Bway on August 7, 2010 at 1:53 am

Yes. There were three theaters here, all right next to eachother. Actually, there were 4 at one time. The Madison Theater, a small, little known theater used to adjoin the RKO Bushwick, to it’s left at the corner of Madison and Broadway…. It’s listed here on the site under Madison (not to be confused with the RKO Madison in Ridgewood on Myrtle).

Jayar1 on August 6, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Also I believe that is the Century Theater on the right Tinseltoes.

Bway on April 19, 2009 at 6:04 pm

Unfortunately, the old Monroe is still a vacant lot, even though the old Cenury Theater site has new homes on it, which is right behind where the Monroe was. HEre’s a street view:

View link

Bway on February 12, 2009 at 4:09 pm

Nice colection, but you should note when you upload photos on another site that they aren’t your photos. 4 of the current photos of the RKO Bushwick Theater are my personal photographs, which I posted here on cinematreasures. It’s okay, but you really should credit those who took the photos.

That being said, you said “back in the day” photos, did you find some historic photos of the Monroe Theater?

kencmcintyre on November 29, 2008 at 12:12 am

It was open in 1945, according to the yellow pages of that date. The all-important phone number was FOxcrft 9-2027.

PeterKoch on November 20, 2008 at 6:07 pm

Thanks for the explanation, Bway. Yes, the former Schubert / Century theatre IS (was ?)hard to miss !

Bway on November 20, 2008 at 4:05 pm

The Madison Theater was closed by the 1920’s already, it didn’t even last into the 30’s. The building may have remained, but of course would have been used as something else. It was not a large theater, only a 500 seat silent movie theater, nothing too elaborate.
I am sure there are people that don’t even remember the Schubert/Century Theater right next to the Monroe, as that too closed in the 1930’s, and that building was hard to miss as it was monstrorous, and lasted into the 1970’s, even though not as a theater. So it would have been very easy to “miss” the small Madison Theater which was closed by the 1920’s.

PeterKoch on November 19, 2008 at 3:12 pm

No, the Madison Theatre (1410 Broadway) probably would have been gone by the 1940’s and ‘50’s.

ebeach on November 19, 2008 at 3:07 am

Of course I do not know what the Monroe was called before 1922 but In my time, the 1940s & 50s, there was no Madison Theatre that I can remember in this neighborhood.
As I recall the Monroe was directly across the street from the RKO Bushwick on Howard Ave. An address or two from Broadway.

Bway on November 19, 2008 at 3:00 am

No, the Madison was a seperate theater. I remember before it was added, there was a whole controversy, but it was heavily researched, and I have seen it confirmed in publication, as well as it’s address on Broadway., and that the Madison was right next to the RKO Bushwick, to it’s left facing the Bushwick. It was a silent movie house, and didn’t last long, and was closed by the 1920’s already.
The Monroe is on the other side of Howard Ave, and doesn’t front Broadway at all, as it’s at the corner of Howard and Monroe

PeterKoch on November 18, 2008 at 5:29 pm

You’re welcome, ebeach. Enjoy.

ebeach on November 18, 2008 at 5:27 pm

Peter.K Thanks for the website on bushwick buddies. Will ck it out.

ebeach on November 18, 2008 at 5:27 pm

Peter.K Thanks for the website on bushwick buddies. Will ck it out.

PeterKoch on November 18, 2008 at 3:13 pm

My father remembers the Monroe Theatre well, went there often as a boy, and still talks about it.

PeterKoch on November 18, 2008 at 3:11 pm

Yes. My father was born in Bushwick Hospital in late October 1919.

ebeach, LarryH, you may be interested in checking out the Bushwick Buddies website :

LarryH320 on November 18, 2008 at 12:55 am

Sure. The Bushwick Hospital was on the corner of Putnam and Howard Avenues.

In the late 40s, quadruplets were born there. The father owned the liquor store on Howard, between Putnam and Madison. He was killed in a stickup.

ebeach on November 18, 2008 at 12:50 am

I lived in Bed Stuy during the 1940s and early 50s. Went to the Monroe, Empire, RKO Bushwick, and Loews Gates. As a matter of fact I ushered at the Loew’s Gates when I was about 15… I think I told them I was 16. When younger I loved to go to the Monroe (the Itch) for the Saturday Matinees. And boy that Matron in the White Dress sure had her work cut out for her. The Loew’s Gates I thought was the nicest of all the theatres including the RKO Bushwick. I sort of remember seeing Lana Turner on stage at the Gates where she must have been promoting a picture.

Went to PS26, Our Lady of Good Council, and Franklin K Lane HS (graduated in 1953). Does anyone remember a Bushwick Hospital that was on Howard Avenue near the RKO? At least I think it was there.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on April 9, 2008 at 3:38 pm

It seems highly improbable that there would be a Gayety Theatre and a Gaiety Theatre, both operating at the almost the same location, in the same time period. This would have confused the public totally.

My take on this is, that it is possible the Gayety (burlesque) Theatre maybe took out a cinematograph licence and it was listed in the 1914-15 edition of American Motion Picture Directory (spelt incorrectly as Gaiety). Maybe there were plans to screen movies, maybe even movies were screened. A run through newspaper advertisements for this time period would confirm or deny this.

Bway on April 9, 2008 at 4:14 am

By the way, “Broadway and Lorimer” is also right where Throop comes in at an angle making a three interesection crossing. That is also where the school in the image is, leading me to believe that the theater was once in the location of where the school is now.

Bway on April 9, 2008 at 4:08 am

Ken, if you have that actual proof that it showed movies, as it’s listed in the 1914-1915 American MP Directory, and any other information, that along with the address of 22 Throop Warren found, perhaps you could add it to the site with the information you may have, and then conversation on it could continue on the new page. I will also see what else I can find out about it.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on April 8, 2008 at 10:24 pm

Looks we have evidence that the Gaiety Theatre screened movies. It is listed in the 1914-15 edition of the American Motion Picture Directory. The address given is Broadway and Lorimer Street.