Friday, February 27, 2009

The Theaters of Stapleton Revisited

I posted a request for photos of the North Shore on the Stapleton section of the SILive Forums. Based on previous experiences with some of the racist invective spewed there I was less than optimistic. Fortunately, while I received no new photos or leads, I was provided with some great information. Here are the posts I received in reply to my photo request:

771.2. Richmond Theater by baystcarm, 2/22/09 15:38 ET
Re: Looking for Photos by Fletchav, 2/22/09
was right across the street from old PS 14 school yard. I watched it burn down in the late 40s. The back was the corner of Thompson/WrightSt. Down on the corner of Wright/Canal..the store was a Ralston store.The Rex looks great in that the 40s it was the cheapie place with cowboys buckrogers,serials. burned thru films. I think it was 11 cents to get in.

771.4. Memory Lane by JimEG, 2/24/09 10:14 ET
Re: Looking for Photos by Fletchav, 2/24/09
Boy, some of those old photos brought back some long forgotten memories. I went to the old PS 14 from 1945 thru '49 and I remember the old theater across the street. My dad worked there as an usher in the 1930's. I think it was a storehouse for beer kegs from the old R&H brewery before the fire. As for the other pics, I loved the churchs, especially the old Unitarian church in Snug Harbor where I was married to my first wife in 1971.

There was also a comment by the creator of SIMemories that I linked to in the very beginning of my Staten Island postings.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Richmond Theater - Stapleton

Here's a lovely colored postcard of the Richmond Theater on Wright Street.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Stapleton, Yet Again

I've put up lots of pictures of Stapleton, and particularly the Tappen Park area, so I figured I might as well put up some more. Down at the heels as it was when I was growing up, it was still a great shopping district with places to eat and even see a movie. Once, though, it was a true town with its own industrial employers, lots of working class housing and several theaters, not just the long-past-its-sell-by-date Paramount. So here we go, limited as usual by the good graces of the NYPL's Digital Collection to the first third of the last century.

The Palace Theater, sw corner of Wright and Canal Streets - March 23, 1930

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This building is new. When I was growing up the upstairs of the previous building held the notorious "Golden Cue" pool hall and later the relocated "Wright Toy Store". Later it held "Ross Cosmetics". The theater, though, was long gone even when I was little.

The Rex Theater, sw corner of Wright and Canal Streets - October 4, 1936

The Richmond Photoplay Theater - April 12, 1929

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I don't remember what existed on the lots before those cheap looking townhouses. Maybe there's an old photo kicking around my mother's stuff.

Rubsam and Horrmann Brewery - Broad Street between Wright and Cedar Streets - March, 1930

Even when I was little and it had been closed for several years, the great industrial pile dominated Stapleton's skyline. Just a few blocks away, Demyan's Hofbrau House was housed in another vast, defunct brewery.

When the decayed and rat/bum infested brewery came down, my mother and her cohorts pushed hard for a park to go with the houses built along the back of the property. All they got was a weed choked lot with some benches. Thank you Mayor Koch.

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Further up Broad Street were more stores. When I was little there was a model store, Gelgeisser's Hardware and Miller's Pharmacy (still there). In the photo's right you can see the buildings torn down to build the Stapleton Projects. My supervisor's family was kicked out of their apartment because of that undertaking.

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Some Comparison Shots

Here are a series of pictures and their matching googlemaps shots that just happened to catch my eye. I'm sorry I haven't been posting too much lately. Facebook has been a drain on my posting time and I need to get to the St. George Library to get some decent new postable stuff.

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Friday, February 06, 2009

Quick Churches for a Thawing Friday

Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church on the corner of Elizabeth and Delafield - another victim of the Great Methodist Collapse of the late 60's. I first saw this church in 1995 when I started driving (yes, I learned to drive very late and some, like the luminous Mrs. V., would tell you I've never really learned) and it blew me away. It's a gorgeous old neo-gothic building in the center of narrow, tree lined residential streets. At one time it must a have been a true community church. There's no place to park and if Methodists moved away (which I presume is what happened) then who's coming by bus?

At the time it was operated as a yeshiva but even that's passed on. The building's marked with the deadly FDNY "don't save" boxed X symbols now. Very sad.

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I'll have to get some actual photos someday. The googlemap picture is totally overgrown.

Calvary Presbyterian - corner of Castleton and Bement.

A beautiful church and a fading congregation. There must have been one big Scots Irish concentration for both Calvary and nearby Olivet Presbyterian (Broadway and Myrtle) to have existed so close together.

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It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as of 2002.