Sunday, July 28, 2013

Chopin Theater - Greenpoint Starbucks

Chopin Theater Historic Photo
(image source: New York Public Library)
Starbucks - Former Chopin Theater
910 Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint
Pictured here is the Chopin Theater (formerly the American Theater) as it exists today. Built in 1914, the 500 seat theater played second run movies and in its later years ran Polish films.[1] The second floor housed a billiard hall / bowling alley and later a Polish night club; although, more recently it was connected to an adjacent building that was renovated for a New York Sports Club.[2] The first floor of the old theater was re-purposed into a retail space which once housed a Burger King and is now a Starbucks.

I am glad that the Chopin Theater survives with its marque and eagle sculpture still intact even if the bricks have been covered with stucco. I know, I know, it's a Starbucks and some of my friends have commented with disdain in their voice that the chain store has ruined the building. While I typically loathe chain stores due to the destructive effect they have on a neighborhood's unique character, I like this Starbucks and the building owner for preserving the building as much as they have because when buildings cannot be re-purposed they are often demolished. I would have preferred that Propeller, Ash Box or one of the many other independently owned cafes in the neighborhood had moved into the building instead, but I don't always get exactly what I want.

Starbucks - Former Chopin Theater at Night
Chopin Theater Eagle
Update: The New York Sports Club renovation is complete and the establishment did a great job of making the building look like a homogenous corporate shell.

  1. Robert R "Chopin Theater" Cinema Treasures online.
  2. Moss, Jeremiah "Chopin Theater" Jeremiah's Vanishing New York. online. 16 November, 2010

Saturday, July 27, 2013

SS Cyril and Methodius Catholic School, Greenpoint

100 to 102 Dupont Street 
In another neighborhood I might not have noticed this building but sitting empty on the quiet block of Dupont Street among residential buildings at the far end of Greenpoint, it stands out. I have not been able to find out much about this building; however, according to the Department of Buildings it is a Yeshiva (Jewish parochial school) and it has been under renovation for some time. Constructed in the year 1919, I believe this building is designed in the Romanesque Revival style. Given the character of the architecture and the crosses detailed in the building's masonry I suspected that it was not a Jewish School. I spoke to a long time resident of the neighborhood and learned that it was a Catholic School (School of S S Cyril and Methodius) that began to undergo renovation 3 years ago. The school closed in 1999. When I first moved to Greenpoint this building was in a state of disrepair and now it is a condo building with apartments starting at $2,450 per month.

School of SS Cyril and Methodius Entrance

Entrance Details
Pictured here are the doorway arch with broken pediment, faux finish and cross relief, as well as the twin columns with cushion capitals. Prior to being renovated the pediment and arch over the entrance were covered with green tiles instead of the faux finish it has now.

Looking Skyward to the Parapet Wall

A cross once stood at the peak of the parapet wall. In addition to the cross, other religious ornament has also been removed.