Loew's Paradise Theatre

2413 Grand Concourse,
Bronx, NY 10468

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PeterApruzzese on May 3, 2004 at 7:23 pm

I was in the Paradise last year – we had a meeting with the landlord about the potential of taking on the property (I work for the Galaxy Theatre Corp. as the Director of Film Programming for the Lafayette Theatre’s Big Screen Classics series and other special film events). That “six months” that the security guard mentioned has been the mantra for the past several years, virtually no work has taken place since the last tenant (the guy who was beginning the renovations) defaulted last year. The place is in need of tons of work to get ready for any kind of show. The restoration of the lobby area is magnificent – about the best I’ve ever seen. Equal to it is the work on the underside of the balcony – spectacular hand-craftsmanship. But, and it’s a big but, there are no seats (I understand that they are at Irwin seating awaiting payment!), the projection booth has been removed and replaced by what are either very small private boxes or technical areas, the entire stage rigging is gone, there is no air conditioning (heat is there, however, whether it’s working or not wasn’t answered to our satisfaction), and the walls are only renovated up to a certain point – the rest is still only stabilized and not repaired. The ceiling, however, was repaired and painted a gorgeous azure blue and then, amazingly, a giant coffer for lights was cut right into the center of it, so it’s now useless as an atmospheric element! The owner of the place wants whoever is the next tenant to pay for all the remaining renovations (our best guess: $5 million minimum) and pay a huge rent on top of it. Sadly, I don’t think it will ever open again as a theatre. I believe that only the facade and lobby have been landmarked.

br91975 on May 3, 2004 at 4:23 pm

Here’s the URL for the 5.2.04 Daily News article Richard referenced:

View link

mahermusic on May 3, 2004 at 3:41 pm

You’re getting “Paradise” and “Wonder Theatre” confused. The Loew’s Paradise was one of the five Loew’s “Wonder Theatres” built 1929-1930 in the New Jersey/New York area. Only the one in the Bronx is called the Paradise. The other Loew’s Wonder Theatres are the Valencia (Queens), Kings (Brooklyn), Jersey (Jersey City), and the 175th (Manhattan).

photo59 on May 3, 2004 at 10:27 am

As I mentioned in a previous e-mail, I was told by the security guard in front of the Paradise the theater would open in about 6 months for non-film presentations. However, in the Sunday (5/2/04) edition of the New York Daily News there was an article on the remaining Loew’s Paradise theaters in New York City as well as the Paradise in Jersey City. In this article they stated the owner(s) of the Loew’s Paradise at 2413 Grand Concourse are still searching for a tenant. I’m not sure who or what to believe at this point. Regardless, the present owner(s) are definitely in the process of remodeling the theater. I only hope they will do justice to architect John Eberson’s work.

NyTeck01 on May 2, 2004 at 12:21 pm

Forgive my spelling got caught up in the moment.

NyTeck01 on May 2, 2004 at 12:20 pm

I could only hope they would reopen the Paradise as it was a movie theater, but I’d take would I could get. I remember seeing my first movies there, Back to The Future II being the the last movie I can remember seeing there. I remember the stairs that went up and around the entire place. Looking at the ceiling and thinking it most be a tall man to draw that high. Yes I was damn young, but now at 22, I remember that I went there with my father, one of the only things I can remember really doing with him, the Paradise, I hope it comes back all right. To share my old memories and make new ones.

RobertLotman on April 27, 2004 at 8:02 pm

My father delivered mail to the Paradise and I was often able to get in for free during the summer months. I remember seeing the lines for Psycho going around the street. I saw many epics there including the Ten Commandments,Ben-Hur and King of Kings. Only a majestic theatre could give justice to those movies. I graduated there from Clinton HS in 1969.

photo59 on April 27, 2004 at 1:19 pm

I went up to Loew’s Paradise on the Grand Concourse (188th Street) on Saturday April 24, 2004 to photograph it for my ‘Vanishing NYC’ project. The place is being remodeled! I spoke with the security guard who informed me the theater will reopen in about six months, but not as a movie house, but as a theater for concerts and events such as boxing. I don’t know how accuarte this information is but it sounds positive. Whether or not they will retain the Loew’s Paradise sign, I have no idea. At least some of these great places are being revitalized.

JimRankin on April 4, 2004 at 1:41 am

That is the situation about restrictive ordinances as disclosed in that landmark book: “The Best Remaining Seats…” by the late Ben M. Hall.

IanJudge on April 3, 2004 at 7:40 pm

It is my understanding that due to restrictive zoning codes on the Grand Concourse, the Loew’s Paradise never had an overhanging marquee like most other theatres. All early photos of it show it without any kind of awning.

MarcoAcevedo on April 3, 2004 at 4:42 pm

Are there any early shots of the Paradise with a marquee? I’d only known it without one. Maybe it ws “modernized” in the early 60s?

MarcoAcevedo on March 29, 2004 at 9:08 am

When I was a kid in the 60s and 70s Fordham Road at the Grand Concourse was indeed the place to shop. I remember getting a first real sense of “cosmopolitan” there. Grand Concourse had an almost European stateliness, and the Paradise was the crowning jewel there, even at that late a date. My dad, now a simple barber in semi-retirement in Florida, took a hairstyling course at the ABC styling school right up the block from the theater, back in the 70s heydey of Warren Beatty’s “Shampoo” and the John Travolta blown-back D.A. A few years before he had taken me to see The Ten Commandments there on the annual Easter screening, one of my formative experiences. The theater was still a single screen at the time, and it was quite a spectacle to see the teeming multitudes in the orchestra level below (we were late so could only get balcony seats, but that was allright by me). The place was packed, and I have never seen a movie theater audience of that size ever again, not even for the later blockbusters. It was all spectacle, on the screen, in the great room, on the ceiling, in the monstrous lobby. I vaguely recall satyrs and maidens along balustraded grand staircases and mezzanines. Within a few years the Paradise (as well as the RKO Fordham around the on corner on Fordham Road) had been divvied up, but I was yet able to get a sense of the old grandeur, much diminished, one last time. I took my kid brother to see an Art Carney movie, “The Late Show,” which was playing in the main room on the old balcony level. The collonades on the sides and the sky ceiling were still there, but unlit. That old view of the orchestra was sealed off by a black floor, giving the sense of a bottomless pit. The biggest thrill my brother and I got that day was a teaser trailer for the forthcoming Ralph Bakshi version of The Lord of the Rings!!! complete with ominous Wagnerian music and choirs. No images, just music, crawling type on a black background, and the logo. My personal last thrill at the Loew’s Paradise.

moe1453 on March 26, 2004 at 9:14 pm

Loews Paradise was one of the seven wonders of the world for me growing up in the Bronx during the 50-70's
I remember the goldfish in the lobby fountain, the mysterious ceiling with its moving clouds, such elegance. We would follow up the movies by going to Krums for the best ice cream.

JimRankin on March 25, 2004 at 6:16 am

It is wonderful to keep a positive attitude toward reopening the beloved PARADISE, but we must also be frank in admitting that the odds are not good in this case. It is not that no one appreciates the “acre of seats in a garden of dreams” but the sad reality is that costs today are FAR greater than they were in 1929! At that time, light bulbs were about 5 cents each; today nearly a dollar each. Electricity was about ½ cent per kilowatt hour; today about 10 cents. If you add up the costs of just replacing all the THOUSANDS of lightbulbs in the PARADISE, plus the labor cost, plus the price of the electricity, you see that just one aspect of reopening this beauty is daunting, to say the least. If I had the MILLIONS of dollars to spare, I would take the risk, but the fact is that very few entertainment venues today make a real profit. Most are considered successful if they just meet their costs (taxes, repairs, services, personnel, etc. etc.!) and that is not any inducement to lure big investors who want a return on their investment. The PARADISE would be a wonderful setting for a number of businesses, but the costs to divide, heat and cool (as well as light) such new areas can be overwhelming to small businesses. And these days, the people are different too. In the 20s it was unlikely that significant vandalism could occur, but these days anything that ‘isn’t nailed down’ is up for grabs, and youngsters absolutely delight in seeing just how much damage they do without being seen. No place is safe, and so ornamental a property as a former movie palace is a ripe target to them, sad to say. So, how much more will sufficient security guards add to the already awsome costs?! I shed tears along with all the rest of you at the loss of our great movie palace heritage, but I would also hate to be the investor watching his building crumble for lack of enormous funds, while the city taxes it whether it earns money or not, and while battling thieves and vandals at every turn. Anyway, may the glorious PARADISE long continue in some form, despite these problems!

robdem1212 on March 20, 2004 at 5:46 pm

i graduated from walton hs 1971 and ceremonies were held at the loew’s. any comrades out there who would like to reminisce, e mail is moved out of ny many years ago, but still woefully homesick. do we need financial backing to renovate our beloved landmark? any info welcome. you may forward this appropriately. thanks and good luck to us.

cinemabuffet on March 8, 2004 at 8:56 am

The Paradise Theatre was a wonderful place! I wish I personally had the funds to bring it back to it’s previous luster, but even if I could, I don’t know if there were many who could appreciate it as it was. Going to the cinema was as much a part of the experience as the film itself.

I remember when I first went with my mother and stepfather. I took off up the stairs ahead of them and entered an auditorium that was decorated to resemble an outdoor coliseum, under a starlight sky; statues lined the wall. I couldn’t begin to tell you what was playing. I was so taken by the place, I payed little attention to the movie.

I’ve mentioned to my wife how wonderful a place the Paradise Theatre was and I wish she could have had the privilege to see it. That place held alot of fond memories for me and I suppose whatever they decide to do with it — movie or concert hall — it’ll do the same for another generation.

It would be a shame for such a place to fall to neglect and decay.

pjacyk on February 21, 2004 at 9:04 am

The Paradise Robert-Morton theatre pipe organ is being intalled in Loew’s Jersey by the Garden State Theatre Organ Society. Details at http://www.gstos.org/wonder.htm

When it plays for a concert, hopefully within 1-2 years, it will sure uncover any loose plaster. A huge sound !!! Most of the organ has been installed and some of it is already playing if you operate it from within the chamber.

foxmetro on February 13, 2004 at 10:45 am

As a child in the late 40’s and early 50’s I went to the Paradise.
My high school graduation to place there too.
The Paradise, with the moving clouds and stars was by far, one of my
greatest movie experiences.

MarcoAcevedo on February 13, 2004 at 12:27 am

Reading the postings and the articles here is killing me. This theater is, for me, the living embodiment of what this website is all about: the hope and dream of salvaging a past that is so near for many of us and yet so far. If they do reopen the Paradise, I’m there on the first night. I don’t care if it’s a church service or a Salsa concert. Just to relive such a gorious part of my childhood will probably have me blubbering like a baby.

Greenpoint on February 1, 2004 at 7:29 pm

Duplicated from /theaters/1381/

Okay heres some self-promotion or plugging(as we say in showbiz):

I actually supply Boulevard Drinks at 48 Journal Square (next door to the Loew’s Jersey) with their Orange, Lemon-Lime, Lemonade, Grape, Fruit Punch, Pina Colada drinks. I recommend enjoying a nice hotdog and one of my delicious beverages..Spiro will hook ya up!

Seriously nothing can be better than watching a cinema classic and then walking 10 feet away and enjoying a hot dog and a drink…I have done it plenty of times myself and enjoyed it each time.

The theatre has a website:

Greenpoint on February 1, 2004 at 7:15 pm

Borrowed from /theaters/1381/

Also known as Loew’s Paradise. This Grand Concourse movie palace still stands. Plans to restore are in limbo. The organ console is now at the fully-restored Loew’s Jersey on Journal Square in Jersey City, NJ.

(originally posted by DougDouglass on Aug 4, 2002 at 6:47pm)

Greenpoint on February 1, 2004 at 7:06 pm

Speaking of Roger Anthony’s Dec 25 2003 7:16pm posting:

Back in 1997, me and my friend Joey were going to open up a nightclub at this location: “The Double J Lounge”. I was in negotiations with the real estate broker. However my friend’s financing fell through.This has been the norm, as far as our business ventures go: finances usually are non-exsistent…we’re both working-stiffs. The moral of this comment: Starting any business requires sound capital and responsible financing prior to beginning the licensing procedures.

francineS on February 1, 2004 at 8:46 am

edward are you a joaurnalist? if yes for which newspaper you work? can you tell me please, if you are maybe I can help you with some information about lowes paradise.

VincentParisi on January 27, 2004 at 8:35 am

That’s great news. Maybe they will do some movie nights as well!

francineS on January 26, 2004 at 3:17 pm

I passed be the theater recently and a security guard told me that the interior of the theater is almost fully restored and that the theater will open in the summer for major concert events such as pop/latin and rock music. If true, I think it would be a marvelous revival of such a grand space.