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