Grand View Theatre

716 Woodward Avenue,
Ridgewood, NY 11385

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The Grand View Theatre located in the Ridgewood section of Queens was an early silent movie theatre. This theatre replaced an existing theatre at the same location. The prior theatres name is unknown at this time. The Grand View Theatre opened in 1912 and an estimate of its closure is 1915.

Contributed by TomScott

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

Bway on November 17, 2004 at 3:29 pm

This part of Ridgewood is Queens and always was Queens. My grandmother lived in that area since the 1920’s. They had a Brooklyn zip code, and used the Brooklyn post office….but it was the borough of Queens. The border between Queens and Brooklyn never changed…only the sip code lines. This is that endless debate causing the confusion. It’s also why that area of Queens escaped the Queens numbering system on many of it’s streets.

deleted user
[Deleted] on November 19, 2004 at 3:06 pm

I have never lived in Ridgewood although I did live in Howard Beach for a brief time. I notice that my spelling of Wooward Avenue has been corrected. I have read some postings from the so called ‘Kooky People’. Many of their statements may hold some truth only they knowingly led you to the wrong theatre.

Bway on November 19, 2004 at 6:34 pm

While the pieces fit, I can’t prove it.
The Ridgewood Folly was on a corner lot, with the cross street to the left, and another building to the right – just as this property. However, this happens exponentially all over the place, so while this won’t prove this is the site, it does prove it’s a contender.
Why I don’t actually think this is the case, is the fact the in the photo of the Ridgewood Folly I have seem, the building to the right of the Folly is a brick building (or appears to be). There is no building on the Grand View block or Woodward Ave. Under most circumstances, a brick building would not be torn down to replace it with a wood frame building, but anything is possible.

deleted user
[Deleted] on November 19, 2004 at 9:06 pm

I have just viewed the Folly Theatre photo from the link in the Ridgewood Folly area. The photo can be a bit deceiving. The building to the right of the Folly theatre appears to have wooden siding or slats.
One of the messages posted by the ‘Kooky People’ as lostmemory refers to them, claims that an ad was found that showed the location of the Folly Theatre. I doubt that very much as these small neighborhood theatres rarely used newspaper advertising. They relied on flyers and word of mouth. They were also located near factories, taverns and other high traffic areas. Perhaps the ‘ad’ that these people refer to was a real estate listing of the Grand View purchasing the Folly Theatre.

deleted user
[Deleted] on November 24, 2004 at 10:01 am

I would like to know as much about the history of this area to better make a determination on the prior theatres name.

Bway on November 24, 2004 at 7:24 pm

I mentioned this somewhere, but I forgot where. What is now the M train el was built in the 1800’s as a steam railroad. It was not an LIRR line. It is described as a “dummy steam railroad to the Lutheran cemetery” on old maps. A dummy steam engine was made in a way that would not frighten horses. It did indeed run on the ground. The stations were in the same places that they are now, at Seneca/Palmetto Sts, and at Forest/Putnam Aves. The Forest Ave was between Woodward Ave and Fairview Ave, just as it is now on the el. Eventually, the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Corp, took over the steam railroad, and connected it to the end of it’s Myrtle Ave El at Myrtle/Wyckoff Aves, and the line ran rapid transit cars. There was a ramp from the station at Wyckoff, that went down to ground level and the el trains ran off the el there, and ran on the ground to Metropolitan Ave station. The el was completed in 1914 or 1915, at which time the elevated trains ran on the el, and the old right of way on the ground was converted to trolley service (which lasted into the 50’s).

deleted user
[Deleted] on November 25, 2004 at 6:53 pm

The Brooklyn Rapid Transit Corp went bankrupt in 1919 and became the BMT sometime in 1923. Many of the Right Of Ways were owned by the L.I.R.R. since that RR has been around since the 1800’s. It is possible that the L.I.R.R. owned the land and leased it to the BRT.

Many early theatres were hastily built since codes were non existent or not enforced anyway. Many such theatres were fire traps and closed as new laws were passed. The cost of upgrading these buildings were prohibitive to the owner. Also many of the theatres were rented buildings with no leases so owners would sell the property when the real estate market dictated so.

Bway on November 26, 2004 at 1:29 pm

The LIRR owning the property next to the right of way of the curent M line, had to mean that the LIRR had to have something to do with the old steam RR that preceded the Brooklyn Rapid Transit company.

deleted user
[Deleted] on November 27, 2004 at 12:03 pm

Very good observation. No roof would also lead me to believe that there was no basement. Indeed this was a hastily built theatre. I am inclined to discount any role that the railroad may have played in this. The building was in all likely hood in ill repair and needed to be replaced. Most Nickelodeons in that era were storefront operations. The Grand View or possibly Folly theatre were unique in being an open air theatre. More of a temporary structure than a true Nickelodeon.

Bway on April 27, 2009 at 10:50 am

They have built an apartment house on this site.

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