The Meserole was a silent movie house opened in 1921, named after one of the original farming families that settled Greenpoint in the 1700s.
After being bought by United Artists, the theater modernized and switched to talkies. This lasted until the 1980s, when it made another fashionable transformation: roller disco. As the fad died out, the space became a 99-cent store, then a Genovese and an Eckard Drug, finally being bought out by Rite Aid.
Luckily, the pharmacy chain left much of the theatre’s layout intact. The exterior was left untouched, except for the large Rite Aid sign affixed to it. Inside, there is a huge centrally-located white dome that holds a disco ball from its boogie oogie oogie days. Elsewhere there are elaborately detailed arches and moldings that have been whitewashed as well.
The theater might be resuscitated in 2014, when the pharmacy’s lease is up. Landlord, Geoffrey Bailey, has put it out there that if Rite Aid does not renew its lease, it would be nice to have the Meserole returned to its former glory.
Sometimes, if you ask nicely, someone will take you up to see the balcony, which is now being used to store boxes. It gives a sense of the size and grandeur the theater must have once had.