7. St. Sebastian’s Church was once a Loew’s Theatre

Saint Sebastian Church in Woodside

St. Sebastian Roman Catholic Church was founded in 1896, and when it came time for the congregation to move buildings, they chose an unexpected one: the former location of Loew’s Woodside Theatre, which opened in 1926. The 2,000-seat theater was designed by Herbert J. Krapp, who designed about half of the current Broadway theaters including the Lyceum, Booth, and New Amsterdam. On opening night, the theater screened a pre-release of Buster Keaton’s Battling Butler.

The entrance and lobby of the theater were demolished and replaced with a Romanesque bell tower. However, the theater’s auditorium decor was kept intact, including the domed ceiling and 40 columns along the side walls. Today, the church draws in a diverse range of congregants, including Hispanic, Irish, Filipino, and Korean Catholics.