LIU Plays Last Game at Brooklyn Paramount This Thursday

posted by btkrefft on February 22, 2005 at 9:46 am

BROOKLYN, NY — Unless Long Island University’s men’s basketball team finishes in the top four of the conference, and end up hosting the Northeast Conference Tournament, the Blackbirds' final game in the former Brooklyn Paramount Theatre will be Thursday, February 24th, according to this report from Newsday.

In eight months, LIU will open its new 2500-seat, $40 million arena next to the Paramount. The 1928 Brooklyn Paramount, at Flatbush and DeKalb Avenues, once sat over 4000, and was designed in extravagant French Baroque style by the Chicago firm of Rapp & Rapp.

The movie and vaudeville theater is perhaps best known for its rock and roll shows of the 50s, hosted by Alan Freed, where such stars as Little Richard, “Fats” Domino, Richie Valens, and Chuck Berry performed live.

While LIU acquired the Paramount in 1950, the rock shows continued until 1962. Afterward, the theater was turned into a basketball court. The first game was played in fall of 1963.

Men’s basketball coach Jim Ferry said, “We play in such a beautiful place that has history. It’s going to be sad on that last day when we shut the doors and we’re not playing here anymore.” Ferry went on to say, “I’m frankly keeping my fingers crossed that we ruin the whole ‘playing the last game in the Paramount’ thing Thursday.”

After its athletic era ends next week, the future of the Brooklyn Paramount is not certain. University officials have discussed converting the space into a student center with a cyber cafe.

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Comments (10)

RobertR
RobertR on February 22, 2005 at 10:26 am

To loose this place would be a sin.

PeterApruzzese
PeterApruzzese on February 22, 2005 at 12:02 pm

The organ restoration should take about a year or two before it’s reinstalled at the Paramount. Off the record, LIU has stated that they will most likely return the venue to a performance space for their theater arts, music, and other programs. In the interim, it will still be used for some of the other sports and for a practice hall.

YMike
YMike on February 22, 2005 at 1:55 pm

Does this mean they plan to put the stage and orchestra seats back in?

PeterApruzzese
PeterApruzzese on February 22, 2005 at 2:04 pm

As far as I know, there are no definte plans yet. But, since they committed well over $30,000 towards the organ restoration and reinstallation, I’d assume they plan to use it. But any changes are in the future.

JimRankin
JimRankin on February 22, 2005 at 3:27 pm

This is truly one of the greatest of the reamining palaces, and while it is probably a pipe dream to want to see it returned to its 1928 splendor, I nonetheless fervently retain that dream. I hope that grand House Curtain with its jeweled Birds of Paradise has been in storage soemwhere so that it can come back along with the organ to once again entertain LIU students as well as the public in general, and to bring again to life the world of lush fantasy that this glorious building inspired. That famous 2-page photo of it in “The Best Remaining Seats” by the late Ben M. Hall shows one of the most spectacular spaces ever designed. Its illumination was so elaborate and glowing that it was the subject of an article in the Illuminating Engineering Society magazine in 1929. Oh, to see all those lights work again!

uncleal923
uncleal923 on February 22, 2005 at 11:14 pm

Why don’t they just use the stage for shows and other things. Maybe they should restore the theater back to its original glory.

YMike
YMike on February 23, 2005 at 8:18 am

There is no stage at this time. It was taken out years ago and replaced by bleacher seating for the sporting events held there.

Scholes188
Scholes188 on March 5, 2005 at 8:56 am

Now that downtown Brooklyn is one the upswing it would be a great idea for LIU to return the old theater to a performance space.

balto18
balto18 on May 18, 2005 at 12:19 am

I was in the Paramount for the first time about two years ago, and was pleasantly surprised to see how much remains of the theatre itself. It would surely take some work to get it back to its ‘28 appearance, but to make it usable as a theatre space probably wouldn’t be as tough—which could be a good interim prospect. Hopefully LIU realizes the importance of the place in Brooklyn’s life and won’t let it go to ruin. I’d love to get to see a show there and eat at Junior’s afterwards…

uncleal923
uncleal923 on May 18, 2005 at 1:21 am

Mr. Gibbs;
I did not see your name on the Paramount page. Maybe you may also want to go over there and join the chat. cinematreasures.org/theater/618 is the section. I am a person who wants to get the Paramount and Loew’s Kings back in operation (Even though I am too young to remember the Paramount).

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