Kings Theatre

1027 Flatbush Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11226

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Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on December 2, 2004 at 12:23 am

I was from Brooklyn and I think this place is in the middle of nowhere, unless you are taking the bus or driving. The nearest subway lines are several blocks awaw, either on East 16th Street or on Nostrand Avenue; no subway line runs along that part of Flatbush Avenue. So unless you’re really devoted it could be a chore to get there.

uncleal923
uncleal923 on December 1, 2004 at 11:35 pm

The Unofficial New York Nostalgia Buff Webpage may be placing a page on the site where people can help the Kings reopen. The address of the site is http://www.ic.sunysb.edu/Stu/awaseniu The site is already online. The author, Alan G. Wasenius, first has to check to see if he has enough webspace. He is not a Computer Major at SUNY Stony Brook, but a Theater Major. He will be checking with the head of the organization trying to ensure accuracy. He would appreciate it if any of you can tell him where there are any public domain/ fair use photographs of the Kings in its 1960s prime.

RobertR
RobertR on December 1, 2004 at 1:55 pm

Warren

Does the Kings still have electric service? I was only in the theatre one time to see “The Way We Were” and would love to see it again.

BobFurmanek
BobFurmanek on December 1, 2004 at 1:42 pm

I’m sure the nice folks at Loew’s Jersey would welcome a volunteer crew with open arms! Just bring some work clothes, and they’ll let you visit any area of the theater. They’re very receptive to anybody that wants to do volunteer work for them.

Divinity
Divinity on December 1, 2004 at 1:37 pm

The owners of the paradise will not allow official tours until construction is complete. It is still a hard hat area. From what I saw last month, the interior should take no more than six to eight months for it to be safe.
I would love to tour the kings (Great idea Vincent!).
Perhaps we can wait until construction is done with at the paradise so that we can tour all five wonder theatres. We can schedule it on a weekend that Loews Jersey is presenting a film so that we can enjoy a film in an operating movie palace after the tour. If we arrive early we can get a tour of the Stanley Theatre across the street.
I dont think that we will need a bus since all theatres are accessible by mass transit.

JimRankin
JimRankin on December 1, 2004 at 1:23 pm

If no one else steps forward, one might ask the NYC area Director of the THEATRE HISTORICAL SOC., Joe Masher, via his E-mail at:

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on December 1, 2004 at 1:12 pm

Well how about setting up some kind of NY borough movie palace mini tour allowing a group of us some weekend day a visit to the Paramount the Kings and the Paradise? This would obviously involve a lot of planning and a fee but with a bus and the proper permits and insurance I think those of us New Yorkers who regularly visit this site would greatly appreciate a visit to some of the most beautiful buildings that still exist in the tri-state area. And who knows how much longer we will have this chance before they join the rubble of the Roxy?

JimRankin
JimRankin on December 1, 2004 at 12:31 pm

A side note to any ‘intrepid’ folks who are confident taht they can gain entry to any place, with or without permission: Entry to any place without the owners' permission is ILLEGAL, and even if an owner discovers you there and does not prosecute for malicious trespass, you cannot KNOW what will await you once inside. There may be two or four legged creatures that will confront you, and what will be your defense or path of escape? Even if the lights do work, where are the switches located, and if you do turn them on, you have used the owners' power at their expense, which can be prosecuted as theft even if no other damage is done. And if something should fall upon you, who will know to rescue you? Be eager, but be practical; get permission and an escort from the owners!

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on December 1, 2004 at 9:27 am

How does one get to the Kings from Manhattan and can one go inside at any point during the weekend?

Divinity
Divinity on December 1, 2004 at 3:15 am

Will the friends of the kings be creating a website?

uncleal923
uncleal923 on November 29, 2004 at 11:23 pm

I also thought of the Home Depot possibly sponsoring the project because they can work with the specialists as well as show the people how to handle the repairs. Another possibility would be an engineering college.

As a major in theater, I would like to see it as a performance space. Radio City Music Hall is Successful, so the Kings can be.

uncleal923
uncleal923 on November 29, 2004 at 11:19 pm

It’s about time I chimed in on this discussion now. Before anyone decides to start a not for profit then they have to consult a lawyer. You have to be registered in the State of New York. I remember this from a paralegal course I took in 1991.

Bruce1
Bruce1 on November 29, 2004 at 10:31 am

To: Jim Rankin
From: Bruce (Save The Kings)
It’s possible that Jehovah’s Witnesses did survey the Loew’s Kings before taking over the Albermale or redoing the Stanley. However, the Stanley is over 5,000 seats, while Loews
Kings was originally 3,692 but was later reduced to 3,192 for more comfortable seating. However, you’re suggestion about asking JW, if they did a site survey and if they have photographs or documents is clever! Or what problems they faced even as a tax exempt organization…

If members of cinematreasures wanted to start our own tax exempt organization and answer the RFP, coming soon… then maybe, we could garner enough free labor volunteers, etc. etc. and try to Save The Kings as a Center for the Performing Arts. In some ways learning from the experience of JW and also the Loew’s Jersey team.

By the way, such an idea has been suggested to me in the past by the Loew’s Kings Project Mgrs of the NYC Economic Development Corporation. However, I thought that this idea was just tooo hard to put into practice. However, maybe it is possible? Especially since Borough President – Marty Markowitz very much wants to see a comeback of the Kings as a Center for the Arts!!

Theater restoration specialists have their facilities in Brooklyn and possibly, they would help to teach our volunteers, the tricks of the trade?

Bruce.

JimRankin
JimRankin on November 29, 2004 at 9:23 am

Since the Jehovah’s Witnesses did such a remarkably good job on both the STANLEY and the ALBERMARLE, among others, it may be a good idea for the leaders of the ‘Save the KINGS’ committee to meet by appointment with the officials of the Witnesses (their world HQ is in Brooklyn on the East River) who may have been offered the KINGS years ago when they were looking for a site and settled upon the STANLEY in Jersey City. Likely they will readily share with you the reasons that the KINGS site —if ever offered to them— was not then adaptable to their uses, since the STANLEY and the KINGS are close to the same size. If they did survey the KINGS, then they likely have numerous photos as well as documents concerning the place that they could show you, and thus give you a better idea of the problems they faced, even as a tax-exempt group.

This is another reason that so many churches take over theatres: they and their property are exempt from taxes, so they can undertake what would be financially very difficult for anyone else. If they can garner enough free labor volunteers, as the Witnesses do, then they can undertake even massive projects such as the KINGS with only the costs of materials their concern. Something tells me that the Witnesses are not likely to step forward about the KINGS if they already have the huge STANLEY, but it wouldn’t hurt to ask them. I’ve heard that their numbers are rapidly growing, and it must be a difficult drive from Brooklyn and Long Island over to Jersey City for their thousands of members in that area. Perhaps if they were invited to tour the KINGS, it was decades ago when the area was in less favorable condition as to safety. Would they view it differently today?

Bway
Bway on November 28, 2004 at 7:07 pm

As we had in discussion in other theater sections, churches make great “after” theater uses. While it’s not ideal (what would be better than keeping it as a theater), churches are the least “damaging” to the integrity of a theater. Theaters lend themselves great to being churches, because they need a “stage” area (the altar), they need all the seats, etc, so the least destruction is done when they become churches. Many of the theater churches are well maintained; the 175th St theater in Manhattan is a showpiece, and they even use the old theater organ. The Loews Gates in Brooklyn is in great condition. The congregation originally started in the RKO Bushwick many years ago, and then moved to the Loews Gates. Just imagine if they had stayed in the RKO Bushwick, it may not be gutted today (although then we would have probably have lost the Loews Gates). The Valencia in Jamaica is very well maintained (even if painted quite gaudy on the interior – again it’s better than the alternative). Even smaller theaters like the Wyckoff Theater, etc are being maintained. The Belvedere in Glendale is also in beautiful condition.
However, most of these “churches” took over the theaters right after the theaters stopped showing film (although the Belvedere was a store for a while). So these theaters did not fall into the condition the Kings is in. They were more easily restored because while most of them probably needed work, they weren’t neglected for years on end. The Kings will be a monumental endevour even if they would find a church for it. There even are many church buildings that are even falling apart because the congregation can’t afford to maintain them.

Divinity
Divinity on November 28, 2004 at 2:19 pm

Warren,
The theatre happens to be in Brooklyn NYC which makes it a great location. Long Island would be considered the middle of nowhere for most city residents. A Clearchannel representative has already toured the building and made suggestions. The middle of nowhere was obviously easier to find than you thought.

RobertR
RobertR on November 28, 2004 at 12:33 pm

Why Hasent Clear Channel looked at the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, which once hosted incredible concerts like the Beatles and Frank Sinatra?

Bruce1
Bruce1 on November 26, 2004 at 4:32 pm

Unfortunately, there is much misinformation on this message board:

1-The land under the Loew’s Kings is not and was never owned by Sears.

2-The theater is owned by the NYC Economic Development Corporation- which plans to issue, still another RFP as early as next month. They, along with the Brooklyn Borough President (And my group: Save The Kings) have long wanted it to reopen as a Center for the Performing Arts.

3-Clear Channel Entertainment (Ron Delsener) went with me on a guided tour of the Kings and thought it might serve as a concert venue. Then, Clear Channel entertained talks but so far, NO help!

4-Warren, don’t worry Sears does not own the lot! [Paramount-Publix started the “Wonder Theatres”, facing bankrupcty sold it to Marcus Loew. The land UNDER Sears is and has been owned by Vornado REIT and they are a major shareholder in both KMart and Sears. The 750 car parking lot (behind theater) is NOT owned by Sears, they have their own lot! EDC owns this lot and Bruce Ratner (Master Builder: Nets Arena, Atlantic Center, Metrotech, etc.) has a long term lease on parking lot for that exclusive purpose.)

Divinity
Divinity on November 25, 2004 at 3:11 am

Hello Everyone, I copied the following quote from the friends of the sammerick (also known as Sam Eric 4 and Boyd theatre) website at: http://savethesameric.org/

“Very important, a feasible plan to restore and reopen the Boyd has been put forth, with Clear Channel as the intended operator for musicals and concerts. Like many other large corporations, we found that Clear Channel has its detractors, but they have a tremendous track record of restoring and programming movie palaces in other cities. We have emphasized that in return for public funding, community access to the theater should be provided with a film program, public tours, and other public benefits”

Perhaps Clearchannel could help the Loews Kings.

JimRankin
JimRankin on November 25, 2004 at 1:23 am

The fact that the KINGS is much larger than any of the theatres listed above is impressive and could mean that more people could see a given performance at the same time, but, unfortunately, it also means that these seats must be continually filled in order to pay for and justify their existance. Greater capacity means greater costs. And if any of the shows want an ‘intimate’ atmosphere, they will not find that at the KINGS, of course. How many shows can really draw over 3,000 people for a performance without also having a huge screen suspended above the stage with images of what is going on, on the stage so that those in the rear can see the performance? The place was, after all, designed for images larger than life.

uncleal923
uncleal923 on November 24, 2004 at 11:38 pm

By the way did you know that according to this site the Kings has more seats then these Broadway Theaters? Here’s the list:

Ford Center for the Performing Arts (42nd Street); 1839
Palace (Aida); 1733
Broadway (Bombay Dreams); 1752
New Amsterdam (Lion King); 1702
Cadillac Winter Garden (Mamma Mia); 1533
Lunt Fontanne (???); 1475
Times Square [This theater is being restored]; 1056

Unbelievable ain’t it?

uncleal923
uncleal923 on November 24, 2004 at 11:21 pm

By the way, Mister Friedman is the Head of Friends of the Kings (I think that’s what it’s called), which may be a not for profit.

uncleal923
uncleal923 on November 24, 2004 at 11:14 pm

Here is how to get in touch directly with the person who starting the committee to reopen the Loew’s Kings. His name is Bruce Friedman, and his E-Mail is

PS This is not my E-Mail

JimRankin
JimRankin on November 24, 2004 at 9:27 am

A post script to my previous regarding approaching Streisand: By all means, FIRST set up a registered NOT-FOR-PROFIT 501-C3 corporation named something like “Pages of the Kings Theatre” (playing on the word ‘page’ which was a part of a king’s court). Once you have received this from the IRS, make up a simple yet artistic letterhead with names of the principals on it as well as the name of the bank at which you have established an account with a line something like “Funds maintained at XX bank.” With these measures you be better seen as legitimate and of an enduring nature, and that if she should ON HER OWN VOLITION enclose a check, she will know that it will go to a legitimate organization. Best Wishes!

jflundy
jflundy on November 24, 2004 at 2:26 am

Regarding Sears Roebuck ownership of the land on which the Kings Theater stands: I believe Sears may have acquired it in the early 1950’s when the area was booming and Sears needed more parking space for automobiles for their big Art Deco store on Beverly and Bedford a couple of blocks east. The store dates back to around 1934 when it replaced a Sears Roebuck catalog store in a small rustic building on the same site. Over the years they bought more property to create new parking lots around the new store. Store traffic peaked in the 1949-53 period and it is my recollection that then is when the area behind the Kings became a Sears lot with spaces right up to the brick walls. The land on which the Kings was built was once owned by the Brooklyn Rapid Transit and a few predecessor entities, probably up to 1928 when construction was planned for the theater.