4. City Island Theatre
The movie theater boom of the early 20th century spread to every corner of The Bronx, but on City Island, with its remote location off of the borough’s northeast coastline and small-town scale, the dynamic played out a bit differently. City Island Theatre, also known as the Scenic Theatre and the Nickelette, was the island’s first purpose-built cinema when it opened in 1910 at the corner of City Island Avenue and Tier Street with a seating capacity of 250. Both its designer, architect Samuel H. Booth, and its owner, Mrs. Miles McDonnel, were local residents. More Mayberry than big city.
By the time the silent movie era was ending in the late 1920s, it was converted to other uses. It served as local headquarters for the presidential campaign of New York governor Al Smith in 1928 and by 1933 it was repurposed as a post office, which remained operating until the 1970s. Since 1977, it has been occupied by the Original Crab Shanty, one of City Island’s many noteworthy seafood restaurants.