Loew's Paradise Theatre

2413 Grand Concourse,
Bronx, NY 10468

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Ziggy on July 3, 2004 at 12:39 am

Well, I’m very glad to hear about the activity going on, especially the theatre seats. I hope they are the original ones that had been warehoused. Thanks for the good news Joel! Keep us posted, will ya?

IanJudge on July 2, 2004 at 6:41 pm

Actually, it is possible to attract big names with a non-union performance hall, if the hall is treated as a ‘rental’ location and not as the producer of the event. At the theater I run, (granted, it is in Boston not NYC)we do not have any union stagehands, etc, and yet we have attracted many big names like Springsteen, Norah Jones, Cheap Trick, etc. We do not financially support our live shows, other people produce them (and profit/lose from them) and we merely collect a rental fee. And we have a union projection booth besides this and there have been no problems.

This might not work in NYC, but then again, maybe it could. Worth a shot just the same.

Lawrence on July 2, 2004 at 5:06 pm

Why will they be in trouble if its a non-union hall?
Will the unions picket and do stink bombing to destroy the business
at THE PARADISE? This is why our country is in such bad shape.
No respect for any one elses desire to run and save a business like
this tired old movie house. Sad. How can it even attempt survival with a
union run operation? Whats your advice Warren? If it cannot be union … then it should'nt open at all, right? Thats a typical
closed minded union mentality thats ancient and antiquated.
If you can tell me how it can work otherwise – I will respect what
you have to say and apologize for my emotional online outburst.

joelg on July 1, 2004 at 10:10 pm

I think that it is too late for thinking about forming a “Friends of Paradise”. Does anyone know what is truly happening at this theater. I own several retail businesses in the area immediately surrounding the Paradise. Only two weeks ago, the Grand Councourse was nearly shut down to permit the lifting of a huge air conditioning system onto the roof of the theater. Others have witnessed several thousand chairs being delivered to the theater from several trucks. There is no doubt that the Paradise is reopening for me. I have heard the same rumors as Melanie, that the Theater will become a concert venue for mostly latin and pop music concerts. To Warren I have this to say. I only wish I could operate the Paradise as a concert and boxing venue. It is Madison Square Garden, the Beacon, and Carnegie Hall an others that should be concerned about this venue. After all, what production company would not want to book shows in a less expensive, non-union concert hall so that they could take home money at the end of the day. These people care less about the location. The artist will show up at any place to do any show if he/she is getting paid. As far as the location of the Paradise, it is perfect for latin music concerts and will attract people from the Bronx, Upper Manhattan, New Jersey, and South Westchester, all 15-20 minutes away. Does any one remember the years of success that Jimmys Bronx Cafe had. Customers came from as far as Suffolk county to that former hot spot. I would love to see the Paradise re-open as it would help all businesses in the immediate area become more prosperous and real estate values higher.

Ziggy on July 1, 2004 at 2:13 am

At least we are talking about it. One has to start somewhere. If you want to succeed then you need to imitate success. Didn’t “Friends of the Loew’s” convince the city to buy Loew’s Jersey? (that’s not a rhetorical question, I really want to know)And then didn’t the city somehow get it back into the hands of the non-profit trying to save it? If you ever read any web pages about the Bronx, people are always bringing up the Paradise. It seems like there’s a lot of interest in talking about. It’s a matter of what action to take. Now Jim and Warren seem like very knowledgeable and wise men. You’ve brought up plenty of reasons why it won’t work, can you think of any reasons why it will work? I wouldn’t care if they ran 24 hour Britney Spears and Spice Girl concerts if it meant the place was safe. Can the City of New York be convinced that this might be worth investing in, even if only to safely mothball it while an investor is found. Seriously, do you have some constructive suggestions? I ask because I’m willing to do what I can if someone (including me) comes up with a good idea.

JimRankin on June 30, 2004 at 9:40 pm

My March 25th post was not meant to discourage anyone with a CONCRETE plan to rehab the venerable PARADISE, but was meant to encourage a REALISTIC view of the odds of restoring so enormous a theatre. Light bulbs were used as an example of the combined costs of renovation and subsequent operation. Sad to say, most of those involved in wishfully restoring a large theatre today, are not realistically familiar with the enormous costs involved. The situation in Jersey City may be unique, or at least uncommon, since other such initiatives elsewhere have failed, as was brought out regarding the former ‘Friends of the Kings’, certainly as worthy as any movie palace to be saved! As Warren wisely brings out, the nature of the surroundings of a venue is critical to its success, and all our “long distance” pleadings are for naught if there is not vigorous and plentiful local support. I watched as the young men who bought the late lamented GRANADA in Chicago lost their shirts trying to sustain the repairs while getting little income; they had to abandon their efforts, and the slum lord (he calls himself a “Land Banker”) who owned the property later saw it demolished. The 4000-seat UPTOWN there is in a similar bind, with more than one group vowing to save it, but no one has enough money to put into it to really do the work needed, and no one is sure that it will attract enough patrons to keep the doors open if they did find the funding. If anyone in NYC knows Donald Trump, maybe you should call him, since it will take a ‘sugar daddy’ who doesn’t care if he looses money to undertake a risk as great as the wonderful, ornate, and expensive PARADISE. Will it be Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained? We will have to wait and see if the anonymous ‘Ziggy’ and all others prevail, since as anyone clicking on my name below will see, I do not live anywhere near NYC, and long distance, EFFECTIVE support —financial or otherwise— is not possible for me, sad to say.

Ziggy on June 30, 2004 at 6:51 pm

Does that mean you wouldn’t be willing to help Warren? Because your help would be great. I think some of the things that can be done long distance are: to make donations, to help with paperwork, to make contacts, and organizing. So the “Friends of Loew’s Kings” failed, at least they tried. We ought to at least try as well.

VincentParisi on June 30, 2004 at 3:08 pm

Count me in Ziggy. Though I too would be long distance. This is one of the greatest buildings now in the NY metro area.Remember that developers had to be held off to prevent Carnegie Hall and Grand central from being demolished. Can you imagine they tore down the old Met and Penn Station? And now they want to build a stadium in Manhattan!!! Which they wouldnt even do in the begining of the last century when the city was so much less congested!!! Sometimes I think New Yorkers are idiots.

Ziggy on June 30, 2004 at 2:06 pm

I was thinking that myself Warren. I think a bunch of us here at this site should contact the “Friends of the Loew’s” and see what tactics they used to get the Jersey Theatre out of danger. Those people are an inspiration as far as I’m concerned. Don’t forget what an 11th hour rescue they performed. I’d have to do 99.9% of my part from long distance, but I’d be happy to do it.

theatrefan on June 30, 2004 at 1:23 pm

How much more renovation work is needed on the Paradise? from what I’ve heard the guy renovating it got pretty far before it was stopped.

Ziggy on June 30, 2004 at 12:51 pm

I just got done reading Jim Rankins' comment from March 25th and I totally disagree. We can’t renovate this place because of the cost of light bulbs? Is that arguement supposed to be taken seriously? As far as vandalism is concerned, it’s true that people have less self control in public than in previous times, but it’s not an insurmountable issue. I think the sort of people who would attend this restored theatre are the same sort of people who would appreciate it and not vandalize it. Why can’t a group similar to “Friends of the Loew’s” to the rescue? Who would have thought that Jersey City was a good place to operate a restored movie palace, and yet they’re doing it! So what if the Paradise is in The Bronx. A building this important would define the neighborhood, not the other way around

joemasher on June 27, 2004 at 11:09 am

Someone stole it years ago. The man who was restoring the Paradise a few years back was in contact with the people at the Loew’s Jersey, as they had just completed restoring their clock. He was set to order replacement parts until…

beardbear31 on June 27, 2004 at 8:17 am

Does anyone know what happened to the dragon on the clock? In some pictures it looks like it is missing. Did it just fall back, or did someone steal it? I hope it is still there, for it would be great if the clock was eventually restored, like the one at the “Jersey”.

Ziggy on June 24, 2004 at 11:47 am

I’ve always wanted to get inside this place. I’ve only been past the outside once. Thanks, Damien, for the great links! If only some folks like the people who are fixing up the Loew’s Jersey could fix this place up.

bamtino on June 24, 2004 at 6:54 am

An interior image of the Paradise can be seen in this recent CNN.com story:
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bamtino on June 24, 2004 at 5:35 am

Here’s an image of the Paradise’s facade from 1995:
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An image from 1970:
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A series of images from September 2002:
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A number of images can be found here:
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Melanie on June 11, 2004 at 5:52 pm

A few months ago, I tracked down the phone number for the construction office at the Paradise, and because I happened to speak to a worker who was also from Brooklyn, I learned some more current information about the theater. Yep, as people have said, they are still looking for a tenant (most probably to market latino music venues in the newly restored auditorium). The worker said that everything is being restored meticulously: the scupltures, ceiling, cloud machine, chandeliers. Though the facad out front doesn’t seem like it, it sounds like the inside has been brought back to what everyone remembers. They have been working on it non stop for the past year or so, under the direction of Gerald Lieblich of First Paradise Theaters Corp. It seems impossible to believe that anyone would put such a genuine effort into restoration if only intending to sell it to a tenant who would let it decay again. I wonder what Lieblich’s motives are.
Another note – In response to the rather pessimistic evaluation about the restoration posted a few months ago, I urge you not to forget all of the sucessful restoration projects that have saved theaters all over the country, many of them dependant on the surrounding community standing up and claiming ownership of this part of their past. Specifically I am thinking of a theater in Columbus Ohio, where all the restoration costs were paid through fundrasing, and the theater was repieced together part by part. And its treasures (or the treasures of Loew’s Paradise) were “not up for grabs” or vandalized, because the community felt and acted as owners of the theater as they volunteered to be ushers and curated film festivals and special performances.
Let us not forget that this Paradise was built around Eberson’s dreams – Maybe the Bronx needs to start dreaming again about what this landmark could mean for the community that lives around it now. (At on point in the 90’s I think there was even a school inside…)

Mitch45 on June 2, 2004 at 7:00 pm

My parents moved to the Bronx from Brooklyn in 1960 and settled on Harrison Avenue between Burnside and West Tremont Ave’s, only a few blocks from the Paradise. I was born in ‘65 and we moved to Queens in '70 so I never got the chance to see a movie there. My mother did, though, and she talks about that theater to this day.

William on May 4, 2004 at 6:33 pm

The size of the theatre plays a major part in it’s future. In midtown you had three theatres with 5000+ seat. (Roxy, Capital and Radio City) 5000 seats is a lot of property to fill and keep filled. So theatre chain dumped larger palaces. So Fox dropped the Roxy Theatre when they could more money on the property value of the sale. Loew’s dropped the Capital for the building of the new Uris Building (Paramount Plaza later name), they had the nearby State Theatre twin. So they had a Times Square theatre, was closer to Times Square and a twin which they could not do the Capital. Look at when Fox West Coast Theatres (National Theatre) wanted to sell the Fox San Francisco to that city, for a small amount. But the city and the bond vote lost and the theatre was razed.
So Loew’s dropped the ball on the Paradise, once they see the theatre was not making any real profit.
During the last years of the Paradise was Loew’s maintaining it?? Was it kept clean?? Or did they just run it into the ground and just close it?? Because when I went to see a film over at the Coronet Theatre on the eastside, a few months before they were to close the theatre. You could tell big time that the chain was not doing anything in maintenance to the theatre.

RobertR on May 4, 2004 at 6:05 pm

They are waiting to tear it down like everything else, Ny developers HATE landmark status. Now that the owners of the Sutton have had the perfectly sound facade smashed apart there is nothing to landmark and that will be going next. How the Kings can be left to sit that long rotting and not even make sure that if it is left empty that it’s not vandalized or falling apart from the weather? Any city would tear down the Roxy would tear down anything.

William on May 4, 2004 at 4:25 pm

Thanks Peter for the info on the booth area.

I guess the city does not care about some of the history of the borough. Trump should use some of his millions on something that is good for the city and the borough like restoring the Paradise Theatre.

VincentParisi on May 4, 2004 at 3:39 pm

What is the borough of the Bronx doing during all of this?! The whole building should be landmarked. Amazing that The Bronx has one of the great American buildings in their midst and are letting it rot. Are the idiots who populate our goverments as stupid as I think or are they just waiting for a developer to line their pockets and build condos.

PeterApruzzese on May 4, 2004 at 3:31 pm

The booth I was referring to as removed was the original booth at the top of the upper balcony: there are new walls and passageways up there where the booth used to be, but no room for projection equipment. I even climbed the iron ladder to go over the area in the hopes that maybe they had just put up a false ceiling, but there’s only a catwalk-type area above these little rooms. To put a booth back up there would require the new walls and ceiling to come down. The tenant who started the renovations had no plans to show movies there, he thought he could turn the place into a boxing hall (hence the light coffer in the ceiling) or some sort of concert venue. His problem was that he spent his money on the theatre and not on renovating the storefronts attached to it first – the rents from those stores were going to help pay for the project. Since he never fixed up those stores, he couldn’t keep them rented or get good money for them.

William on May 4, 2004 at 2:30 pm

Those former projection booths were maybe the ones that were used when the theatre was plexed. The Loew’s Jersey Theatre has two former booths under it’s balcony. You still would have the original booth located in the upper balcony area. As for equipped for film that anybodys guess, I say all you have up there is four walls.

As Peter said about the “six months” that security guard mentioned, so that people think there is something happening to the theatre. Its just some Hope, but six months always turns into six years and then…. As Loew’s turns 100 this year, we can thank them for building these Great Theatres and maintaining them into 70’s & 80’s.
And we can curse at them for dropping the ball in not letting them remain a major part of each area they are located in. Thats to say if Loew’s had not dropped them from the circuit. The stronger money making plexes in the circuit, would or could pay some of the cost to maintain them in a operating form. Then just dropping them to sit and rot away. Because they are large buildings that need to be maintained on a regular schedule.

Lawrence on May 4, 2004 at 12:13 pm

As Gus Portacalus said in the Big Fat Greek Wedding … “and there you GO!” That’s the information we’ve all been waiting for and now have been told! Thank You Peter!