by Kevin Walsh

MODERN-day Red Hook residents little suspect that there was once a movie theater in this diminutive brick building on the SW corner of Richards and Pioneer in Red Hook, across the street from Coffey Park and near to the sprawling Red Hook Houses. Today it is home to the Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center and pharmacy. Why longtime state senator Addabbo, who served from 1961 to 1986, is commemorated in Red Hook is something of a puzzlement for me, as he lived in Queens and represented Ozone Park; a section of the Cross Bay Bridge in Jamaica Bay was named for him.

But there was indeed a movie theater on the corner, the Pioneer, which accepted paying customers from 1922 through 1955. It’s hard to imagine it now but in the 20th Century, neighborhoods were chockablock with small theaters, usually with one screen. Many of them played B movies or second run features, with the big premieres going to the splashy Loew’s movie palaces or Radio City Music Hall. By my era (1970 and up) neighborhoods generally had three or four theaters, and by the mid-1970s had multiple screens. Today, one theater with 6 or 7 screens suffices for miles. The days of the popcorn movie theater may be numbered if COVID is here to stay with the premieres going to Netflix or other streaming services people can watch at home on high definition 50-inch television screens.

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Gary Fonville December 1, 2021 - 3:45 am

Get with the program, Kevin. A 50″ TV screen? Compared with the largest size you can buy now at 75″ , 50″ is a pittance. And I used to think a 30″ screen was gigantic back in 2000. That’s technology for you.

Kevin Walsh December 1, 2021 - 8:54 am

I got a 32″, good enough for me.

Ethan Rasiel December 28, 2021 - 10:25 am

Actually you can buy TVs as large as 100″ now, although those aren’t practically priced. 85″ and 86″ are now quite common though – Costco and similar have them for well under $2,000. 75″ was top of the line about 5 years ago 🙂

therealguyfaux December 1, 2021 - 7:20 pm

Why the clinic might be named after Joseph Addabbo is that it is a commercial name, not an honorary one. There are other “Joseph P. Addabbo clinics” in Queens, a bit closer to the district he represented. I doubt the City or State would name SEVERAL such clinics after him, unless, of course, it was contained in some bill he put through the Legislature that clinics funded through that Act would bear his name.


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