It’s a fair guess that not one person who passes this building, seemingly untenanted as of 2012, knows it is a former theater. In fact it has greatly outlived its former life as a theater.
The Mardi Gras Theatre was built around 1908, apparently just before this photo was taken, on Nostrand Avenue, corner Clarkson, which can be seen on the left side of this photo. Even in this small sampling there’s some rich detail, like the tank and smokestack on Clarkson, the trolley poles and wires and horse and buggy on Nostrand. The wood frame house still has corbelling, lintels and shutters. photo: brooklynpix
According to cinematreasures:
It opened in 1908 and for such an early movie theatre, is quite an elaborate building on its facade. There is a half-timber gable front and decorative mouldings (today partially covered by signage and painted a darker shade of blue).
It is listed in the American Motion Picture Directory 1914-1915, but apparently closed around 1915. Judging by the size of the building, the seating capacity would have been around 350-400.
Today the front entrance is in use as a deli and grocery store, whilst the main auditorium is used for storage by a local plumbing company.
photo: Ken Roe
The Google Street View picture stamped 2012, in the title card, shows the plumbing and grocery signs stripped off, revealing more of the exterior. The Mardi Gras awaits its next use.
The side of the theater on Clarkson is relatively unadorned, architecturally.
Thanks Brenda Becker for the tip.
UPDATE: The old theater was razed in 2015.
Brenda Becker’s A Year in the Park