6. Loew’s 46th Street Theater
Located in Borough Park, Brooklyn, Loew’s 46th St. Theatre was a movie palace that went through multiple life cycles between 1927 and 1973. The now-abandoned theater opened as the Universal Theater on October 9, 1927 to a huge, disorderly crowd of 25,000 people waiting for a spot in the 3,000-seat theater. Many even resorted to sitting on the fire escapes just to peek at the beautiful interior. Designed by renowned theater architect John Eberson, it was New York’s first “atmospheric theater.” Eberson’s design emulated a starry, night sky over an Italian garden. Decorated with painted gold and a blue dome, the theater felt like an open-air auditorium with twinkling stars and other “atmospheric effects” being projected onto it.
The rise of multiplex cinema in the 1960s caused the theater to fall into hard times. Eventually, the theater became a music venue known as the “Brooklyn Rock Palace.” Artists including the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and the Byrds performed there. However, by 1973, the theater closed following community pressure regarding noise levels. The year after, it was sold to a furniture company whereupon significant changes were made to the interior, including the removal of the stage. The auditorium became a storage area for the furniture business, while the lobby became a showroom.