1307 Avenue J,
1307 Avenue J,Brooklyn, NY 11230
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This was the go to theater of the Goodman, Lipes, Penn, and Geier families. Across the street was the best bakery in the world.Ratchicks…….oh those brownies!!
Had great times at the Midwood in the 1960’s and 1970’s. The zip code shown is not correct, it’s 11230.
In the early 1970’s, I attended this theatre many times. It was always a pleasantly operated theatre as were many of the Century Theatres were. Its great to see some upper terra cotta still in place today as the owners knew it was special features. However, it is sad to see. It’s a good thing we have our memories.
Having lived on East 17th Street between Avenues J and K for over 50 years, I cherish the drumbeat of live that was fed by the Midwood Theater. Now, when grandchildren recount their joy in finding DiFara’s Pizza still open, I realize how fortunate life has been for and to me. Its been a grand tour made even better by the still functional nearby Kent Thater. Eli Friedman
I remember when there was a Halloween costume party on a Saturday morning around Halloween and the contestants paraded around the theater and the kids in the audience picked the winner based on how loud the applause was. I also remember fondly the manager Mr. Burns who my family knew well and who used to give us passes so we did not have to spend 25 cents for the kiddie ticket. I also remember fondly the matron whose job it was to make sure all of the kids were herded into the children’s section in the front on the right side. Even if the children’s section was full to capacity she was an expert at the job of hunting kids down in the rest of the theater which was usually empty and she would come around and shine the flashlight in your eyes and haul you to the children’s section.
And I initially lived on Coney Island AVenue and Avenue J as well (1013 Avenue J)
What a great theater!
That was my neighborhood theater and I saw more movies there than I can count. As someone mentioned, DiFara is down the street and so was Joy Fong. Bonaparte’s was on Avenue M, near the old Elm theater. Unfortunately, the end for the Midwood really happened in 1978 when the “Animal House riot” happened. After that, things spiraled downhill quickly.
My great uncle (my maternal grandmother’s brother) was Joseph Springer who owned the Midwood from the late 50’s into the 60’s. He also owned 5 other theaters some in Brooklyn and the rest in Queens. I saw the American Masters show and also heard Woody Allen mention that his grandfather owned that theater. Either he sold it to Century Circuit or directly to my uncle. I used to live on Coney Island Avenue and Ave. J (across Coney Island Ave. from Bobbins). Of course I used to have a family pass and see movies free whenever I wanted.
Allen’s documentary on PBS was why I came to look at the write-ups about the Midwood. I’ve been on this site numerous times and lived in Brooklyn for a short period in the early 90s but I never checked out the Midwood until now. Allen’s recollections of the Midwood in particular and Brooklyn in general were kind of mind-blowing. A time and a place gone but it sounded amazing.
Part 1 of Woody Allen’s bio was great to me. As someone who loves his work and who as a young girl lived in the neighborhood on E 13th ST. between Avenues H and I, I found it to be a very nostalgic trip back in time. Just had to take the street-view Google tour today. Looking forward to tonight and Part 2! He is incredible. It’s been my secret desire to be in one of his films! Sad to see the Midwood Theater is not there any more. I saw many movies there and especially remember the pleasure and comfort of sitting in the air-conditioned space a day after baking at Coney Island or Brighton Beach. Brooklyn has always been God’s country to me!
The Midwood was Woody Allen’s local neighborhood theater. In last night’s American Masters on PBS about Woody, He speaks very fondly of growing up in the neighborhood and all the great films and memories he has of the Midwood. At one point he goes back and stands in front of it seeing what it has become. Very poignant.
During the late 1970s, the Midwood theatre had lines going around the block and the parking was extrememly difficult. This was because the admission price in 1978 was .78, it went up to .79 in 1979 and .80 in 1980. It was a good place to see a film that you had already seen somewhere else was wanted to see again. I saw “Superman,” “Moonraker” and “Star Trek-The Motion Picture” all for the second time for the .78 or 79 cents. It took an enormous amount of time for these films to work their way down to the Midwood. “Star Trek-TMP” opened up at Christmas and didn’t work its way down to the Midwood until near-summer. Still it was a fairly decen theater. I remember going back in the early 80s to see “The Final Countdown.” Suddenly the price was back to four bucks to get in. Suddenly the lines to get in disappeared and the Midwood was history.
The big joke about the Midway was when it became the dicount theatre is that the seats may have been cheap but the snack mar was not. They chaged the same at the Midwood as any othere movie house. Who ever owned it at the time had a good idea but the other thing was that the place was never kept clean. It was a pig sty and stunk too.
Just discovered this web-site! Remember the Midwood well. For 30 cents: two movies, a short, AND cartoons. Brave kids exited out the front fire doors and ran down the alley bathing the theater in sunlight and blinding patrons until ushers rushed down to close doors.
Great neighborhood destination. By the 70’s most of the original detail had been “modernized” but always comfortable, clean and well run especially for a discount house. Packed the crowds when it played “Raging Bull” & “Grease” as well as other blockbusters of the era. Great eateries on Avenue J including Bonaparte’s, Joy Fong and of course Di Fara’s, still serving one of the best slices of pizza in the city.
As revealed in Eric Lax’s new book of interviews with Woody Allen, this theatre was owned by Allen’s grandfather.
The Midwood Theatre originally opened in 1913. By 1926 it had been enlarged into the present building.
Here are three photographs I took of the Midwood Theatre in June 2006:
This place became a “dollar movie” where I saw “Over The Brooklyn Bridge” starring Elliot Gould.
The second run screening of Animal House was amazing there, I will never forget it. At that point, people had seen the film a million times and everyone knew all the lines, so it was like a showing of Rocky Horror with everyone riciting the best moments. The theatre was huge and packed.
“Nana” played the Midwood on it’s Blue Ribbon Showcase run.
I saw Amadeus here around 1984, on a school assignment from my music class at Brooklyn College. It was a discount theatre, and it hadn’t been twinned or anything. I enjoyed the size and airiness of the house, and I’m sorry I didn’t go more often, but the next thing I knew it was closed. I always look for it when I’m on Avenue J.
The Midwood Theatre was located at 1307 Avenue J and it seated 1795 people.