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Welcome back to After the Final Curtain, featuring the photography and writing of Matt Lambros who documents the neglect of America’s greatest theaters in his website  afterthefinalcurtain.net

Balcony - Loew's Kings Theater
View of the Loew’s Kings Theatre from the balcony

Loew’s Kings Theatre opened on September 7, 1929 in Brooklyn, NY, and was designed by the architectural firm of Rapp and Rapp (also known for the Paramount Theater in Times Square) and decorated by Harold W. Rambush.   It was operated by the Loew’s theaters chain, and, along with the Loew’s Jersey Theatre, Loew’s Paradise Theatre, the Loew’s Valencia Theatre and the Loew’s 175th Street Theatre, it was one of the five “Loew’s Wonder Theaters” in the New York metropolitan area.

Lobby - Loew's Kings TheaterThe chandeliers still hang in the lobby

The Kings introduced a few well known stars to their future craft.   Many celebrities who grew up in Brooklyn worked as ushers  in the  3,676 seat theater, including Sylvester Stallone, and Henry Winkler.

Plasterwork - Loew's Kings Theater

A close up of the detailed plaster work.

Loew’s dropped the Kings in August 1977 due to low attendance and high  maintenance  costs, as well as the decline of the surrounding neighborhood. The Kings was passed over for many 1970s blockbusters,  including Jaws and Star Wars. Instead, it showed mostly kung-fu and B-horror movies, films that were incapable of pulling in the massive audiences needed to sustain the theater. Already visibly deteriorating, the theater was  sold in 1979 and later seized by the city for back taxes owed by the purchasing company.

Numerous restoration proposals have been presented over the years —  including one that would have turned part of the lobby into a wax museum —  but only recently have any plans been made official. On February 2, 2010, the City of New York announced a $70 million renovation in partnership with ACE Theatrical Group of Houston to restore the Kings Theatre for use as a performing arts center by 2014.

Mezzanine - Loew's Kings Theater The mezzanine level of the lobby

The current plans call for the Kings’ interior spaces to be restored to their original 1929 splendor. Once reopened, the theater will be the third largest in New York City.

Projector room - Loew's Kings TheaterThe theater’s projector room

Lobby - Loew's Kings TheaterAnother view of the lobby

Balcony - Loew's Kings TheaterAnother view of the theater from the balcony

Balcony exit - Loew's Kings TheaterOne of the exits from the balcony

Get tickets to our March 16th, 2015 tour of the Brooklyn Kings Theatre, part of the Behind the Scenes NYC Tour Series in partnership with the NYC Economic Development Corporation led by the experts who spearheaded the restoration and the Executive Director of Kings Theatre:


Get in touch with the author  @mattlambros.

1 Comment

  1. Brenda Frank says:

    I grew up in this theater, the Rialto, the Kenmore, the Albermarle, and the Astor. The sheer grandeur of the Kings was mesmerizing. The Astor—long gone—inspired a lifelong love of foreign cinema.

    I am THRILLED that the Kings is being restored.

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