Hundreds of movie theaters have come and gone in New York City since the grand era of movie palaces and 25-cent matinées. While many have sadly been entirely demolished or lie in ruin, others remain hidden in plain sight, now repurposed as a Starbucks, a Modell’s, or… another Modell’s. Scattered around the city are dozens of movie theaters that are living a second life as a chain store, a church, or a gym. Their marquees may be stripped and their interiors mostly gutted, but the outlines of an old theater can still be seen if you know where to look. Here are a few New York City buildings that started out their lives as movie theaters and have survived to accommodate the city’s needs for more Modell’s.
The Flatbush Pavilion in Park Slope, Brooklyn was originally a silent film theater called The Bunny Theater, built by film star John Bunny in 1912. After several incarnations it became The Flatbush Pavilion in 2001. By the time it closed just three years later, it had become one of the oldest running theaters in New York City. Today, it’s an American Apparel.