Greenpoint Photos Du Jour: J. Josephs & Son

June 10, 2009 by
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 


The funny thing about living in Greenpoint (and New York City for that matter) is how much you take for granted until it’s gone. In my case this would be J. Joseph’s Sons Company. This storefront (located at 1058 Manhattan Avenue) is among my very favorites in north Brooklyn. We learned last week that one former holding of the J. Joseph empire has become a rather tony art gallery but otherwise the rest of J. Josephs (or “J. Jo’s” as I like to call it) is more or less intact.


What’s more, they have recently put something incredibly nifty in their window…



a couple of shots of Manhattan Avenue from 1928!  Just for fun I decided to recreate the above panorama.


I had to take a slightly different vantage point (only someone with a certifiable death wish would stand in the middle of Manhattan Avenue) but many of the elements are still there. The notable exception being the movie theater to the left. It was called the Midway.


This has since been demolished. It has since become the site of an(issued on-again, off again construction site. Judging from the permits its issued it will be a five story apartment building. Provided it gets completed anytime soon— which I seriously doubt.

To close on a bit of related trivia, many of you are no doubt aware that our Starbucks (located at 910 Manhattan Avenue) and the drug store located at 723 Manhattan Avenue were both movies houses at one time. They were the American Theater (later the Chopin Theater) and the Meserole Theater respectively. What you might not know is one more movie house in Greenpoint  is still standing. It’s a little difficult to recognize at first glance but it’s there nonetheless. Anyone care to guess where it is?

Miss Heather


10 Comments on Greenpoint Photos Du Jour: J. Josephs & Son

  1. rutila on Wed, 10th Jun 2009 12:07 pm
  2. Awesome post! Thank you for sharing the old photos.

  3. neighborhood threat on Wed, 10th Jun 2009 2:01 pm
  4. Actually two more:

    1) the polonia banquet hall was a theater
    2) the rainbow shoppes was a theater.

  5. calyercooze on Wed, 10th Jun 2009 2:02 pm
  6. Not sure if you are referring to the same one, but my neighbor Cookie told me that she used to see movies in the former theater that is now Rainbow clothing on Calyer St.

    Can you imagine FOUR movie houses in a 15 block span in Greenpoint now?

  7. missheather on Wed, 10th Jun 2009 2:46 pm
  8. Neighborhood Threat: Actually the one I had in mind was this!

  9. rutila on Wed, 10th Jun 2009 2:53 pm
  10. The Met Food on Driggs, which was an A&P when I was growing up, used to be a cinema too.

  11. xdx on Wed, 10th Jun 2009 5:49 pm
  12. dont forget club europa….

  13. gashrink on Fri, 20th Aug 2010 5:55 pm
  14. My mother’s family was the Josephs who owned the store. We just called it the Greenpoint store. Only a few of the Josephs who worked in the store are left. At one point my mother had over 20 cousins from that side of the Josephs family.

  15. missheather on Fri, 20th Aug 2010 6:04 pm
  16. Thank you so much for sharing! If you (or any of the Joseph clan!) want to share more anecdotes about this wonderful piece of old school Greenpoint I would love to hear— and share them! You can shoot me an email via my “tips” page. Thanks again!

  17. chispana on Wed, 22nd Dec 2010 6:12 pm
  18. So you’re my cousin, then?

  19. SGI on Sat, 22nd Dec 2012 12:47 pm
  20. Better late than never; so, here’s the scoop on movie theaters in The Point:

    In addition to the Midway, American/Chopin and the Winthrop (now Met Food on Driggs and Russell), there were eight other movie houses in Greenpoint proper, for a total of 11. The Polonaise Terrace was once the Crystal Palace Theatre. The former Gerke’s catering hall, 742 Manhattan Ave., across the street from the Meserole, was once the Garden Theater. Princess Manor, 88 Nassau Ave., was at one time the Nassau Theater. The Physical Therapy clinic on the corner of Driggs and Newell, across from St. Stan’s, was also a movie house (Driggs Palace). Same with what is now Freddie’s Organic Market at 257 Driggs (Greenpoint Star Theatre). The back part of the Polish National Home, across the street from Freddie’s, was another. Green Street Arcade Theater, at 153 Green St., was yet another. The Public Palace Theatre was located at 555 Graham Ave. If you want to consider parts of Billburg adjacent to Greenpoint, the number of movie theaters in the immediate are numbered over 20.

    What is also interesting is that, between 1913 and the late 1930s, there were no fewer than 9 theaters operating at any one time.

    So, do I win anything?

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