TIVOLI THEATRE, Downtown Brooklyn – Forgotten New York
The Tivoli Theatre, formerly at 363 Fulton Street just north of Adams, had a magnificent semicircular marquee, with white letters on a black background. In this 1940 tax photo recently placed online by the NYC Municipal Archives, we see that Henry Fonda in The Grapes of Wrath was playing. John Steinbeck’s 1939 novel of an itinerant farming family in the throes of the Great Depression was committed to film by director John Ford, who won the Academy Award. Mr. Fonda continued to headline films into the 1980s. The second feature, Free, Blonde and 21, was a 1940 noir starring Lynn Bari.
The Tivoli opened on February 8, 1927 and closed in 1952, burning down in 1954. The block of Fulton Street on which it stood no longer exists, though a walkway traces its path on the east side of Brooklyn Borough Hall. All the buildings, and many streets in downtown Brooklyn, were demolished in the 1950s and 1960s to make way for Cadman Plaza, a number of housing projects, and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.
On the left, the pillars support the old Fulton Street el, which closed on this block in 1942. South of here, Fulton Street is today one of Brooklyn’s busiest shopping districts, though all but commercial traffic and buses were banned in 1979 as it became the Fulton Mall.
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