The Defenders on set at the Paramount Theater on Staten Island. Photo: Sarah Shatz/Netflix
New York City is filled with many abandoned and repurposed theaters as part of our Abandoned NYC column, and the abandoned Paramount Theater on Staten Island is no different. Located in the Stapleton District, the Paramount has been shuttered closed for over 25 years. Opened in October 1930, the Paramount used to be one of Staten Island’s grandest theaters. Constructed in the art deco style on the site of Cornelius Vanderbilt’s childhood farmhouse, it could accommodate up to 2,300 people and was considered the second grandest theater on the island next to the St. George.
Like so many of the grand theaters around the city, the Paramount had undergone a major $135,00 renovation in 1961 to draw in more attendees as a movie theater. It reopened four weeks later as the New Paramount Theatre with wider aisles and seats and a reduced seating capacity of 2,000.
Photo: Sarah Shatz/Netflix
By 1977, it closed as a movie theater. Two years later it was reopened again, but this time as a nightclub and for a short while served as a Rock concert venue where notable acts included The Ramones, Dead Kennedys, Metallica, and the B-52s. It’s third life as a music hall was short lived as the Paramount shuttered its doors permanently in 1980.
In 2008, the theater was sold and underwent a $800,000 restoration for a planned reopening in January 2010 to be used for receptions and live performances. However, the restoration stopped in 2010 and didn’t begin again until 2016 with plans to turn it into a restaurant, catering hall and events venue. But since restoration efforts are slow, film crews have taken a liking to the theater with many shows having filmed inside, including Gotham and Marvel’s The Defenders.