“One of the cleverest pieces of theatrical architecture near to New York City is that at Cropsey avenue and Bay Twenty-sixth, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, where a beautiful little community theatre has been combined with an airdome in such a way that the summer capacity is thirteen hundred seats and the winter three hundred.
“Under the advice of J. H. Hallberg, Thomas Lewers, who owns the Bensonhurst Hotel, decided to make use of part of his unimproved property so that it would render him an income. The result was the Park theatre and airdome. The question was how to build to accommodate the large summer crowds without wasting space in winter, thereby keeping down coal, lighting and other necessary bills.
“The theatre which seats three hundred patrons is separated from the airdome by a collapsible wall which runs back upon itself..."
"This rolls up when the airdome is in use, fitting in a special box above the opening in the roof. This opening is necessary because the same projection room is used for the theatre and the airdome, with the exception that the lenses are changed.”
“There is another very important point which should not be overlooked and that is that business goes on rain or shine because it takes but half a minute to close the airdrome from the theatre and to drop the curtain into place.”
Theatre capacity 300, with summer airdome 1300
Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three volume history of borough theatres. The first two volumes chosen "2010 Outstanding Book of the year' by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.
He is available for theatre talks and walks in 2015-2016: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.
Now selling vintage on Etsy.