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Loews King Theatre-Brooklyn-Matt Lambros-Abandoned

Last year, Untapped Cities contributor Matt Lambros took us into the abandoned Loew’s King Theater in Brooklyn, a theater designed with inspiration from the Paris Opera Garnier and the Palace of Versailles. Although it was Loew’s flagship theater, high maintenance costs along with the arrival of the multiplex doomed this beautiful space like many other grand theaters of the era. But in 2010, the City of New York announced a $70 million renovation to restore the Kings Theatre for use as a performing arts center by 2014.

The Economic Development Corporation recently released photographs of the renovation:

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An article on the EDC blog states that once completed,

the Theatre will host approximately 200-250 live performances a year, including concerts, dance, theatre, comedy and other live shows. The Project will generate approximately 510 construction jobs and approximately 50 permanent jobs…The Theatre will serve as both a cultural hub and catalyst for economic growth along Flatbush Avenue and throughout Central Brooklyn.

Read more about the history of the theater here. All photographs, except for top image, from the Economic Development Corporation.

13 Comments

  1. There is no reason to find a replacement pipe organ for the Loew’s King Theater! The 4/26 Robert Morton was removed from the “Wheaton Fox Studio” in July 2011 and currently in storage at the University of Oklahoma School of Music. At the time the organ was removed from the the Van Der Molen home, plans were to rebuild the instrument see it reinstalled into the Loew’s Kings. Go to http://www.wheatonfox.com for more information.

  2. Bruce Friedman says:

    Several years ago the organ was moved to the basement of a New York University building where it was stripped of it’s dignity and all it’s brass. The orchestra swivel chairs were wood with cane seating covered by a velvet cushion. For years they were stuffed horizontally into a backstage basement closet. But thanks to the former security team
    they are long gone!

  3. Mr. Dennis Bertwell says:

    Congrats on restoring a once very beautiful and stunning theater! The theater once housed a monstrous 4-keyboard Robert-Morton Theater Pipe Organ which originally could literally shake the walls. Check with the local American Theatre Organ Society about the possibility of finding a replacement pipe organ (ATOS.ORG).

  4. Ezra Grazi says:

    My family has had a business (Gray-Shel Stores)(now T-Mobile) across the street for almost 50 years! I remember Mrs. Panzica very fondly. I am looking forward to the grand opening of the theater and the opportunity to rent out my retail location across the street.

    • Bruce Friedman says:

      I would love to hear any stories you might remember about Theater Manager Dorothy Panzica. She recently turned 100 years old!

      • Ezra Grazi says:

        G-D Bless her. She was/IS a wonderful woman, who always welcomed us with a big smile.

    • A Jones says:

      I worked at Gray-Shel! I think it was around 75-76, maybe. Did your family own it then?

      • Ezra Grazi says:

        My father was Lew Grazi, who together with Phil Shelby, owned that store amongst others. You might remember the store manager at the time, Joe Bruni, and Raymond Rodriguez. I was also working there, before I moved to manage the 13th Ave store.

  5. Bruce Friedman says:

    Way back in 1987, myself, Mark Bender and Mike Rubinate started an organization called ‘Save The Kings.’ Our sole purpose was to get the Loew’s Kings renovated and restored as a Center for the Performing Arts. Through
    the years, we kept the flame alive. We weren’t interested in making money or getting any political accolades..
    and never received them!

  6. jennie santiago says:

    Lookink forward to the grand opening. I remember going to that theatre as a child. Now im a resident of flatbush ave. Im excited

    • Mark Bender says:

      Jenny we are thrilled that once again you and thousands of others will be able to go back into time! The theater is going through not only a restoration, but a renovation as well, and the new stage will be able to accommodate Broadway type shows.

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