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
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.
The 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.
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.
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.
The theater’s projector room
Another view of the lobby
Another view of the theater from the balcony
One 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.