Loew's Paradise Theatre

2413 Grand Concourse,
Bronx, NY 10468

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rabbitlaz on June 7, 2006 at 2:42 pm

I am pleased to report that the theatre is indeed still standing! Alto, from what I saw, the crowd was very orderly, and mostly in their early 20’s. I was a bit surprised at the diversity in terms of ethnicity. It was primarily Hispanic, but some blacks and quite a few whites as well. I guess Mr. Yankee has multi-cultural appeal. The MTV video trucks were parked on the Concourse with a large number of personnel. I happened to stop by the day after the show and spoke to a security guard there. He said there was no trouble but there was a strong police presence outside the theatre. Inside, he said there were plain clothes cops as well. Signs outside the theatre were posted for the first time with this concert, stating, “The Paradise has a strict no weapons policy…All patrons will be subject to search and must pass through metal detector.”

dave-bronx™ on June 6, 2006 at 7:37 pm

Warren, I posted the complete entry on the Keith’s from the Diamondstein book under that theatres listing – it gives no reference to the quadding – in fact, it is written as though the theatre was in its original configuration. Perhaps the sub-dividing walls were considered temporary, since they could, as demonstrated here at the Paradise, be removed, thus restoring the room to its original proportions.

Alto on June 6, 2006 at 6:11 pm

Brilliant!!! The response was just as I expected â€" perhaps even better!

The purpose of MTV2’s “$2 Bill” concert series is to enable fans to see their favorite pop stars in concert for the mere cost of the bus fare needed to travel to the theatre. I doubt that the Paradise Theatre made much money from hosting this event…but the publicity it generated is PRICELESS.

An informal survey of websites (mostly in Spanish) revealed much “buzz” on the Internet, with one source reporting that tickets sold out in less that one hour!

What was the crowd like (appearance, age, behavior)? If anyone else passed by or attended, please share your observations and experiences â€" an event of this magnitude is just too difficult to ignore! I’ll be watching for it on MTV2 on Sunday, 18 June at 8:00 p.m. – a great opportunity to see this incredible theatre “in action”.

Hey “Rabbit”: do another “drive-by” and let us know whether or not the theatre is still “standing.” ;–)

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on June 5, 2006 at 3:51 pm

Five blocks!?!???!?!?

Very cool!!!!!!!!!!!!

rabbitlaz on June 5, 2006 at 2:48 pm

Out of curiousity, I drove by the theatre tonight at about 7:45pm. The line of people waiting to get in to se Daddy Yankee stretched down the Concourse to 184th street and up to Creston Ave. for a total of about five blocks! The police were out in force as were security guards and several MTV mobile video trucks. I understand the show will air later this month.

dave-bronx™ on June 4, 2006 at 9:50 pm

I, too, want the Paradise to work and thrive once again. I’m by no means an expert on the ins and outs of operating a landmarked theatre, but doesn’t it just prevent the destruction of the decorative elements of the interior? You can’t go breaking down walls and ceilings and that sort of thing. I’ve never heard of a show that required any of that. The Broadway stage theatres for years have utilized semi-permanent lighting trusses and towers and other rigging affixed to the walls and the front of the balcony that can be removed fairly easily to restore the original integrity of the room. It would seem that the LPC has to have a certain amount of flexibility so the facility can remain viable and generate an income to maintain itself. Considering the amount of money spent on the restoration I’m sure they want to maintain their investment, and once the place gets itself ‘on the map’ they will they will establish a house crew. Right now there is not enough of an income-stream for them to be able to do that.

Bwayniteowl on June 4, 2006 at 1:59 pm

There are two existing, original lighting bays in the ceiling along with duct work for ventilation. And during an earlier renovation the ornate plaster work behind the original balcony lighting rail was boxed in. Perhaps more pleasing to the eye but greatly reducing the utility of the auditorium.

As for the landmarking of the interiors downtown. Multi-million dollar productions go into those houses with a great deal of time and planning. The management of the theatres there have generations of dealing with them. The Paradise is being promoted as a Road House of sorts but there is no house crew to protect it. As a promoter, I look for the easiest way to make a buck and often decisions are made on the fly by people with no long term interest in the theatre. Bearing this in mind, do I sign a contract if I have read this from the Landmarks Commission about how long it will take to get a decision about alterations? Or do I go ahead and sign and do what I want, then pack up and be gone and let the process repeat itself while the theatre bears the brunt of the damage?

View link

When will the Landmarks Commission make a decision about my application?
Once the staff has confirmed that an application is complete, the Landmarks Commission will make a decision as quickly as possible. The Commission must make its decision within the following time periods:

Certificate of No Effect – 30 working days
Permit for Minor Work – 20 working days
Certificate of Appropriateness – 90 working days

With a Broadway show, it’s one thing, with MTV and Yankee Daddy, it’s another.

I’m not looking for a fight or to criticize anyone. I only say this because I want the place to work. it’s terrific space in a terrific location. I’m lucky enough to make my living in the business and I want to add my perspective as a someone from backstage.

dave-bronx™ on June 4, 2006 at 8:49 am

The one-word answer to that is POLITICS – from what I read over the years the developer, Huang, who has since been convicted of various infractions regarding the Keith’s demise, “persuaded” the late Queens borough president, Donald Manes, and other local pols to intervene on his behalf against Landmarks' enforcement efforts. You’ve heard the old joke – “What did Donald Manes, Rock Hudson and Henry VIII all have in common?” The answer – They all f****d Queens –

dave-bronx™ on June 4, 2006 at 12:02 am

According to the book “Landmarks Of New York” by Barbaralee Diamondstein, the following theatre interiors are landmarked:
Biltmore 1987
Eugene O'Neill 1987
Brooks Atkinson 1987
Royal 1987
Majestic 1987
Golden 1987
St. James 1987
Neil Simon 1985
Ed Sullivan 1988
Beacon 1979
Barrymore 1987
Mark Hellinger 1987
Keiths-Flushing 1984
Radio City Music Hall 1978
46th Street 1987
City Center 1983
Embassy I 1987
Martin Beck 1987
Winter Garden 1988
Imperial 1987
Town Hall 1978
Music Box 1987
Ambassador 1985
Plymouth 1987
Henry Miller 1987
Broadhurst 1987
Apollo (125th St.) 1983
Palace 1987
Shubert 1987
Longacre 1987
Helen Hayes 1987
Cort 1987
Booth 1987
Lunt-Fontanne 1987
Belasco 1987
Lyceum 1987
Hudson 1987
New Amsterdam 1979
Carnegie Hall 1967
Virginia 1985
Many, but not all, are also exterior landmarked. The year after the name is the year each was designated a landmark by the New York City Lamdmarks Preservation Commission. The book was published in 1988, so there are probably others that have been designated since then. Most of the Broadway stage theatres were designated in 1987, in response to the destruction of the Morosco, Bijou and [the first] Helen Hayes theaters on the site of the Marriott Hotel. The Broadway theaters, as well as RCMH have remained viable since landmarking, and the production companies don’t appear to have been adversely affected.

ThePhotoplayer on June 3, 2006 at 7:28 pm

Wouldn’t a giant light troth cut into an atmospheric sky look absurd, anyway? Whoops!

By the way, everything behind the proscenium, including the stage and the lighting, is NOT original and I think therefore does not quality as part of the landmark status. There ARE in fact clauses that let theater owners do TEMPORARY adjustments for these sort of shows. That was a major concern when “landmark status” for theaters originally began. Otherwise, most placed would be rendered obsolete.

One other point: the Paradise’s original lighting scheme did NOT have gaudy LED lights flashing under the statuary, nor did it have ugly, clunky, red vinyl seats scattered around.

And that mustard colored curtain has GOT to go! :)

Broan on June 3, 2006 at 6:41 pm

Wouldn’t a chandelier look kind of absurd hanging from an atmospheric sky, anyway?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on June 3, 2006 at 6:34 pm

It’s surprising – or then again, maybe not – that theatrical spaces do not have a codicil in their interior landmark designations that would allow for the accepted practice of having temporary alterations made to accommodate visiting productions. I would imagine that the costs to effect these alterations, as well as the cost to restore the facilities to their proper configuration once the production vacates, would be covered by that show’s producers. At the very least, a quick and easy process should be established for theater owners to obtain some sort of temporary variance to allow the necessary work to be performed. I know nothing is quick and easy with the LPC but it seems rather obvious that in the absence of such a process, the LPC is hindering the economic viability of any theater whose auditorium it designates a landmark. What a great service… preserve, protect and render obsolete!

Bwayniteowl on June 3, 2006 at 4:24 pm

From a production standpoint, designating the interior of a landmark theatre is a two-edged sword. No one argues that the exteriors and lobby areas need to perserved intact but it’s been found that in most cases a landmarks designation of the auditorium will harm the rentability of the designated theatre. It’s the argument between the practical needs of the production and the requirements of the law. The Paradise now has a most impractical maple deck thats varnished. With strict enforcement of the landmarks designation, a touring show cannot come in and paint the deck, a common requirement for their production. The same is true for,say, a tour of “Phantom Of The Opera” with it’s large chandelier that needs to be rigged over the orchestra seating. Without the ability to secure the main elements of the production, the show will go elsewhere. Lighting, sound, cables, trucking all have modern requirements that can be hampered by the landmarking of the auditorium. This is why experienced theatre owners will accede to landmarking exterior and lobby areas but fight landmarking auditoriums. You won’t find it on Broadway or Radio City or any of the large older houses. The Paradise is a jewel and every effort must be kept to maintain what is there and upgrade it to match modern theatrical needs. Landmarking tends to make it a fly in amber situation which will not promote the venue or help the Bronx.

VincentParisi on June 2, 2006 at 3:55 am

Isn’t it interesting that people of Christ take such care of and love these buildings so much. Having been built in the interest of commerce and pop culture at their gaudiest and most baroque they are now welcoming homes for people of deep religious spirituality.
Go figure!

mlkaufman on June 2, 2006 at 2:20 am

Incidentally, there’s an error at the Paradise homepage: “Since 1929…85 years of history…” Actually, 1929 is 77 years ago, or 75, to round it off, not 85, I haven’t pointed it out to them, but hopefully they read this board, or perhaps someone who speaks with them can mention it.

Bwayniteowl on June 1, 2006 at 2:07 pm

Ed, “but the United Church is not a functioning theater but a church.” To clarify, the space at 175th and Bway functions as both Church (Palace Catherdral) and Theatre (United Palace). From their website.


Don’t let “ungodly” costs run you away from New York!

At the fraction of the cost of what other locations would rent for, you can utilize the most opulent, restored theatre on Broadway, at 175th Street, in New York City. In Washington Heights at the George Washington Bridge. Easy access from the TRI-STATE AREA, (New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut) without encountering the congestion and expense of “midtown madness!”

Movies • TV Production • Sound Recordings
Videos Concerts • Special Events • Theatre • Pipe Organ

Note Bene: Concerts of various kinds play there occasionally and stagehands report that church members take terrific care of the space.

rabbitlaz on June 1, 2006 at 12:56 pm

Just a note, tickets for Daddy Yankee went on sale at 12 noon on June 1st, and were sold out when I drove by the theatre at 5pm. I guess the $2.00 price was a big draw for Mr. Yankee.

Alto on June 1, 2006 at 11:48 am

For those who are wondering who “Daddy Yankee” is… he performs Reggaeton (the musical equivalent of “Spanish rap”), is from Puerto Rico, and is one of the top Latino pop stars in the world today. If you STILL don’t know who he is, listen to any “Spanish”, “contemporary hit”, or “urban contemporary/rap” radio station …or just go to the Puerto Rican parade in NYC on June 11th… and you will eventually hear his music played (as in the mega-hit “Gasolina”)

While I do have some concerns about the type of people his music may attract, I do not consider him or his audience as “hardcore” as some of those involved with “gangsta” rap (thank God). I have danced to his music in Latino nightclubs, and I can assure you, I found people there who enjoy type of music â€" they were non-threatening and having a good time

I have no doubt that with MTV behind this show “Mr. Yankee” will be arriving with an elaborate entourage that includes an army of “security” personnel who will bounce troublemakers out on a dime. NYPD will also be out in force. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some pot and drug busts and a few confiscated switchblades. Still, there is probably no better place in NYC for a show like this than a large theater in the Bronx â€" with a huge Puerto Rican and Hispanic population that is into “urban” music, MTV will certainly find its audience here. It is worth the risk â€" this is THE show that will put the Paradise Theatre “on the map” and establish it as a premiere concert venue.

Monday, June 5th will be a historic night for the “new” Paradise Theatre – a turning point.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on June 1, 2006 at 10:04 am

Dave-bronx… not to be argumentative – because I certainly see your point – but the United Church is not a functioning theater but a church. The point I was making is that it seems CT has a policy of using the current working name for any theater listed here that is still in theatrical operation. Hence, the Selwyn is now the American Airlines Theater, the Victory now the New Victory, the Winter Garden now the Cadillac Winter Garden, the Oriental in Chicago now the Ford Center for Performing Arts and the Metropolitan in Boston now the Wang Center. While those theaters may not have quite the magnificent opulence of the Loew’s Paradise, neither are they just some ordinary theaters in Kansas.

Perhaps CT should just follow the convention used in most books on the subject of theatrical architecture and use the original name under which the theater first opened. Whatever the choice, it should be consistent. The AKA search works quite well and folks looking for a specific theater (provided they have the right spelling) should have little trouble tracking it down.

dave-bronx™ on June 1, 2006 at 9:21 am

But, this isn’t just some ordinary theatre in Kansas – this is what what many would consider to be THE cinema treasure, and known to 99% of people into such things as Loew’s Paradise! This is not a ticket buying site – if it were then you want to have the name match the way the place is being publicized. The Nokia/Astor Plaza, aside from the size of the screen and the mumber of seats used as a single motion picture theatre was an otherwise unremarkable facility. Changing the name there is inconsequential.

I haven’t noticed a listing on this site for the United Church, but there is one for Loew’s 175th Street.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on June 1, 2006 at 5:26 am

Is there an actual CT policy? I agree with Warren that CT always seems to display the current working theater’s name on its listings (so the Loew’s Astor Plaza is listed as the Nokia Theater), but there is some inconsistency as to which name a theater goes by if it is no longer in theatrical operations or has been demolished. It seems that the best known name prevails, but that can be a pretty subjective call and I’m not sure if that is official policy. I certainly wouldn’t want to see the Strand listed as “Warner Twin” just as surely as I wouldn’t want the Rivoli listed as “UA Twin”, but a consistent naming convention should be established. And it does make sense to use the current operating name for those theaters still in operation.

RobertR on June 1, 2006 at 3:51 am

Then the Strand should be changed to the Warner Twin since that’s what it was called when it closed.

BobFurmanek on June 1, 2006 at 3:35 am

Daddy Yankee?

I guess George Steinbrenner is in concert.

RobertR on June 1, 2006 at 2:08 am


dave-bronx™ on June 1, 2006 at 12:04 am

While I have no clue who Daddy Yankee is or what his particular claim to fame may be, I hope he doesn’t attract the type of audience that will trash the place just for the hell of it.

Warren, I disagree: the theatre is famous as “Loew’s Paradise” plus they are keeping the old sign so it should remain listed as it is. Besides, since there is no longer a theatre chain with the name Loew’s, or Loews, what can it hurt?