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Construction well under way, two photos posted…
Here’s the direct link to the RKO Albee, now gone almost 40 years.
Here is the full link, and here is the article (for when the link eventually goes down) There are also a lot of picture of the area, and the renditions of the proposals…
JERSEY CITY — The neighborhood behind the Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre in Journal Square would be set for a radical transformation under zoning changes up for final adoption by the City Council tomorrow.
The changes would allow the Harwood family to construct residential high-rises and arts facilities on a roughly 2-acre area the family owns that runs along the PATH tracks. The area is now home now to parking lots and a garage.
The city hopes the changes will lead to the creation of a cultural arts district connecting the neighborhood west of the Loew’s to Journal Square. The Harwoods would be allowed to build taller high-rises than zoning allows in exchange for creating spaces for theaters, art galleries and studios, museums, libraries and more.
The plans also call for improvements to Concourse West, the walkway commonly called the Loew’s alley that offers a direct if narrow connection between the Marion neighborhood and Journal Square. The zoning changes would require developers to incorporate retail space within the concourse and adjacent plaza at the foot of Magnolia Avenue.
The proposed changes to Journal Square zoning come as the area has become a target for real-estate developers. The first high-rise of a three-tower project called Journal Squared is nearly complete, while plans for a two-tower development across the street from the Loew’s were approved by the city in August, as were plans for a 72-story skyscraper on the site of the old Jersey Journal building.
The parking lots and garage targeted by the zoning changes up for approval tomorrow night have been owned by the Harwood family for nearly a century. Brett Harwood said the Journal Square development boom convinced the family to revamp their properties.
“As Journal Square has finally started to come into its own, and you can see the results of that all around, we think that there’s a higher and better use,” Harwood told The Jersey Journal.
The zoning changes would allow for two residential high-rises, one near the foot of Magnolia Avenue and the other near the foot of Pavonia Avenue. The city would allow the developers to exceed the 37-story maximum on each in exchange for the construction of cultural arts facilities in the high-rises and in two additional low-rise buildings. A fifth low-rise building would be allowed to house restaurants, cafes and other retail stores.
The city also envisions an amphitheater, dog run and playgrounds on a site near Van Reipen Avenue.
If approved by the council tomorrow, the zoning changes offer a template to the Harwoods. There are no plans yet, Harwood said, adding that unlimited height restrictions would not lead to soaring skyscrapers.
“Nobody should have expectations that we’re going to build another World Trade Center,” he said. “It wouldn’t be economical, it wouldn’t appropriate.”
The council meets tomorrow at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 280 Grove St.
Terrence T. McDonald may be reached at
I think the double bill of Fists of Fury and Five Fingers of Death did pretty well back in the day…
Pic of the first attraction “Start Cheering” posted in photos. This picture had opened at the Rialto in Times Square on March 16, 1938. The NY Times said “Unsinkably buoyed by the comical intensity of Jimmy Durante, "Start Cheering,” at the Rialto, turns out to be one of the funniest of the year’s admittedly minor productions…
Pic of the dive-in site today in photos.
There’s a NYTimes article in the photo section that raises those issues.
Neely O'Hara says, Art films? Nudies! That’s all they are. Nudies.
But, but… Did they have a souvenir program for The Ten Commandments? (My collection is incomplete…)
obituary states there were 1440 seats in this house…
The very first comment on this thread mentions there were 1500+ seats, not exactly an exact count…
If the Nitehawk is the movie-theater equivalent of an enduringly cool kid with a man bun, the Pavilion is more of a Miss Havisham with some questionable late-in-life cosmetic tweaks.
Perched on the westernmost corner of Prospect Park, the cinema opened as a 1,516-seat, Wurlitzer-equipped theater, the Sanders, in 1928, and for decades suffered the indignities of old age. It was shuttered in 1978, reopened as the Pavilion with three screens in 1996, then divided into nine screens in the 2000s. Local blogs meticulously pored over its decline, noting its trash-strewn, thickly sticky floors, ripped upholstery and frequently broken toilets; patrons bemoaned it as well, collectively giving it a two-star rating on Yelp.
New operators took over in 2011, adding leather seats, new carpet and fresh paint, but Park Slope cineastes would not be swayed. “There were pieces of tissue paper in my drink cup,” one patron wrote on Yelp this year. “I grab a booster for my kid and it’s covered in gum and melted gummy candy,” groused another.
The Pavilion’s long march toward Nitehawkhood began five years ago, when Mr. Viragh approached Hidrock Properties (then Hidrock Realty), which had bought the Pavilion for $16 million in 2006.
Mr. Viragh and Steven J. Hidary, whose family owns Hidrock, discussed making the theater a Nitehawk, but with the Williamsburg location also opening in 2011, the timing was off. Then, several years ago, Mr. Hidary said his family “wanted to bring out the full potential of the site.” The plan, which caused local consternation, was to build condominiums while also retaining a three- or four-screen theater. Last year, the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission approved a six-story condo conversion for the one-story building adjoining the Pavilion, with units also to be built on the cinema’s second floor. Then Mr. Viragh came forward with investors who wanted to buy the theater and give Nitehawk a long-term lease.
Brooklyn’s residential building boom has led to concerns about market oversaturation, but Mr. Hidary said that the company’s decision was not affected by a softening real estate market, because Hidrock bought relatively low and just two dozen units would be built on a prime site. Condos might have even made them more money, but “we had to decide, do we build condos or do we save Brooklyn?” said Mr. Hidary, who is from Midwood. “So we saved Brooklyn.”
The sale of the theater, for $28 million to 188 Prospect Park West L.L.C., closed on Aug. 26, according to Mr. Viragh and Mr. Hidary, with Hidrock still owning the adjoining one-story site. (Mr. Hidary said that there were no current plans to build condominiums there.) Emails to Ben Kafash, one of the Pavilion’s operators, were not immediately returned.
Brad Lander, a city councilman who fought to keep a cinema at the site, said that while the Pavilion might not have been beloved, “losing a movie theater would’ve been a blow,” adding, “It’s a center of Park Slope family life.”
The new Nitehawk will add to the boomlet in specialty art-house cinemas in New York City, which includes the Metrograph on the Lower East Side and the Syndicated, in Bushwick, Brooklyn. A branch of the Alamo Drafthouse, with seven screens and 798 seats, is set to open in Downtown Brooklyn this fall, while the Quad Cinema in Greenwich Village is being refurbished for opening at an undetermined date.
“We want to elevate the cinema experience, because that’s what it’s all about,” Mr. Viragh said. “How rare is it to save a theater in New York, and not make it into a Duane Reade or a Starbucks?”
Text of article:
Nitehawk to Open a Second Cinema in Brooklyn
Park Slope, Brooklyn, hang on to your strollers. The Pavilion, the neighborhood’s lone remaining movie house — one frequently criticized for varying degrees of neglect — is to be transformed into a Nitehawk theater, set to open early fall 2017. Plans to add condominiums to the site, made before the Nitehawk entered negotiations with the building’s owners, have been scrapped.
This will be the first expansion for team Nitehawk, which opened the popular dine-in boutique cinema in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in 2011. In an era of megabudget superhero flicks and ever-better television, Nitehawk thrived, proving that if you build a three-screen artisanal movie house in a hipster-rich neighborhood and serve burrata, kale salad and cocktails tableside, they will come. The new multiplex, to be rechristened Nitehawk Prospect Park, will have seven screens, a total of 650 seats, a double kitchen, two bar areas, a restored atrium overlooking the park, and, of course, in-theater dining, according to Matthew Viragh, Nitehawk Cinema’s founder.
The Pavilion will be closed by the end of October, he added. Renovations, which should cost less than $10 million, are expected to take about a year.
“We’ve always wanted to do more locations,” Mr. Viragh said. “Our focus is Brooklyn; we want to be a neighborhood cinema. That’s in our DNA, to cater to this area.”
More than one party looked into multiplexing this place but given its dimensions it proved impractical.
Here’s an excerpt from the NYTimes' review of this theater’s first “pictorial attraction:”
Radio City Music Hall yesterday became a motion picture theatre, with the Columbia film “The Bitter Tea of General Yen” as its first offering. The RKO Roxy, the smaller theatre in Radio City, continues to exhibit the screen version of Philip Barry’s play, “The Animal Kingdom.”
It gladdened the hearts of the management to observe the imposing throngs at the doors of the Music Hall for its initial performance as a cinema. Most of the lower-priced seats were filled before 1 o'clock in the afternoon, and later there were lines of persons in the grand foyer and along the Fiftieth Street side of the house awaiting admission. Even the loge chairs were well patronized.
The acoustics of the great auditorium are suited admirably to the showing of talking pictures. The projection booths were installed during the construction of the theatre, but the screen, one 70 by 40 feet, was installed after it was decided to run it as a motion picture theatre.
In addition to the feature film, the program is as follows:
Excerpts from “Faust,” with Alida Vane, Aroldo Lindi and Max Ratjmiroff.
“The Sunburst,” with the Radio City Roxyettes.
“Spanish Twist,” a pictorial cartoon.
“The Story of the Walts,” with Patricia Bowman, Gomez and Winona, the ballet corps and choral ensemble.
The Tuskegee Singers.
“Marche Militaire,” by Franz Schubert, with the ballet corps and the Roxyettes.
An organ recital.
This stage show evidently pleased the audience, but it cannot be said to be very different from other exhibitions of singing and dancing offered by Mr. Rothafel. One might also say that it would be materially helped by more humor and fewer exhibitions of dancing.
The screen attraction, “The Bitter Tea of General Yen,” is a handsomely mounted affair with conspicuously good portrayals by Nils Asther and Walter Connolly. It is a melodrama of China that has certain aspects of Edith M. Hull’s “The Sheik.” It is a story that is scarcely plausible but which has the saving grace of being fairly entertaining. Certain characters are called upon to be exceptionally credulous at times and those who can overlook this and other shortcomings will probably find the tale of missionaries, romance and civil war in China diverting.
Opening paragraph of the NYTimes' review of Marooned:
IT seems fitting that a handsome, professional and future-minded space drama in fine color, like “Marooned,” should open a new jewel box of a theater, the Ziegfeld.
I’m glad you’re here, CC. Your collection is amazing and I am pleased that your are sharing it.
Early tomorrow morning at 4am TCM is running this theater’s opening attraction Marooned.
By coincidence or design at 6:15am they are showing The Bitter Tea of General Yen, the opening attraction of Radio City Music Hall…
Early tomorrow morning at 6:15am TCM is running this theater’s opening attraction The Bitter Tea of General Yen. By coincidence or design at 4am they are showing Marooned, the opening attraction of the Ziegfeld…
Bill, what was the occasion for the Blazing Saddles screening, and what did Mel have to say about Gene Wilder?
It was probably Last of the Red Hot Lovers, about which Roger Greenspun of The New York Times said: “In the dismal history of Neil Simon screenplays and adaptations for the screen, The Last of the Red Hot Lovers may represent the lowest ebb…
But I’m glad you have good memories of it, or at least of your visit to this magnificent house.
Good grief, with that line-up of roadshow offerings it’s a good thing theaters didn’t have the new reclining seats or the racket of snoring would have drowned out the soundtracks…!
I’m pretty sure this theater has five screens, not six…
Saw a show here last night – Celtic Thunder – and the house is big and lovely, subdued and tasteful in the Art Deco style. Well worth a visit if you’re in the area.
If I recall correctly, some were cut and some were uncut…