Kings Theatre

1027 Flatbush Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11226

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chconnol on November 18, 2004 at 7:40 am

Bway: nice set of photos. Regentrification is a mixed blessing. It revitalizes some neighborhoods and makes them livable. But it also pushes out the element that makes some neighborhoods unique. A good example of this is 9th Ave in midtown Manhattan. It’s still slightly gritty with a lot of non-franchise restaurants from Cuban to Vietnamese to Mom and Pop hardware stores. I find the area charming but what’s going to happen in another few years? These places will be gone to be replaced by Starbucks. The second picture you show clearly demonstrates this with a McDonald’s sign prominently displayed.

Bway on November 18, 2004 at 7:18 am

Yes and like with midtown Manhattan everything that made it distinctly New York and worthwhile will be destroyed.

Why do you say that? If you take Bed-Stuy and Bushwick, much of the neighborhood was already burnt to the ground or abandoned. Many of the old buildings still remaining, are now being refurbished.
To keep it on topic, just look at the RKO Bushwick theater, while it is not a theater anymore, they did all they could to preserve at least the outside of the building, and they did a fantastic job at it. The interior was destroyed through years of neglect anyway. They could have just demolished the whole building. This is the next best thing.

The RKO Bushwick (and it’s surrounding neighborhood) went from this to this because of the gentrification and rebuilding of the neighborhood. (The “this’s” are clickable).

chconnol on November 18, 2004 at 7:12 am

East NY…not half bad? Oye. That’s incredible. I cannot imagine East NY being livable but the way the city is rapidly changing, one never knows. Bed-Stuy…ABSOLUTELY! Block after block of those great old brownstones.

But Flatbush is very special because it has a mix of brownstones and some of the most incredbile, beautiful and astonishing homes in the NY area. Just ride up Flatbush Ave and hang a left or right near the Kings. Your jaw will drop when you get a load of those stately Victorians. I used to spend hours driving around those neighborhoods.

New York Magazine already ran an article about the neighborhood and how couples from Manhattan are snatching up these homes and turning them back into single family dwellings. Think about it: you have a HUGE beautiful home within minutes of Manhattan.

As for the Kings, someone has to get in there and protect it. How does one get Landmark status for something like this?

As for Streisand…are you kidding me? There’s no WAY that she’s going to schlep from her protective LA environment to come all the way to Brooklyn to protect the Kings. I’ll believe it when I see it.

VincentParisi on November 18, 2004 at 6:58 am

Yes and like with midtown Manhattan everything that made it distinctly New York and worthwhile will be destroyed.

Bway on November 18, 2004 at 6:53 am

* and I’m shocked at how many areas that were once really nasty and slummy are beautiful now. Flatbush is next.*

You are quite correct. Even Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant are currently undergoing gentrification. East New York is also no half as bad as it used to be. With even Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, and ENY on the way up, it’s a given that Flatbush will do nothing but improve.

VincentParisi on November 18, 2004 at 6:25 am

CConnolly is right. Pretty soon a major developer will want it for a condo building. Gustave, do we know if she got the message? With so little she can do so much.

chconnol on November 18, 2004 at 5:52 am

In my opinion, the area this theater is located (Flatbush) is just at the beginning of a major regentrification (sorry if I didn’t spell that right…). Anyway, it’s a prime area that is being discovered by New Yorkers who cannot affort Manhattan. In ten years time, it’s going to be all new again. If anyone is going to start a restoration of the Kings, they’d better do it quick. I’m telling you, this area is going to be HOT, HOT, HOT. I lived in Brooklyn in the early 90’s. Park Slope was established as a nice area by then. But I’ve been back recently and I’m shocked at how many areas that were once really nasty and slummy are beautiful now. Flatbush is next.

uncleal923 on November 17, 2004 at 7:55 pm

Sorry Guys, but Miss Streisand has been contacted and, last I heard, she didn’t return the call. They have only a committee started and not the actual restoration.

porterfaulkner on November 17, 2004 at 2:47 pm

Vincent, thats not such a strange idea and in fact it could be a stepping stone toward restoration of this jewel.

One of the reasons I think this venue is so neglected is that because of its size and location it has been unseen for nearly 30 years. The locals can’t be passionate about something they have been told is fabulous unless they can see it for themselves.Also to see what it was in the past and can be again via photgraphs of they heyday against what it is now. Viewing it in a poor state can also be a powerful incentive to do something urgently. If there is no interest after exposing the community and local investors to something great in their midst, then at least the ‘Friends’ gave it a chance and failed honorably.

Perhaps Miss Streisand is ‘just the ticket’ to get the ball rolling??!!

VincentParisi on November 17, 2004 at 2:30 pm

Would Streisand like to spearhead a campaign to save this important piece of Brooklyn history? First some money from other Hollywood Brooklynites to make it usable and then a couple of concerts to support a full scale restoration. I understand she has not retired from charitable concerts. Maybe a parade down Flatbush as well for the hometown girl made good.

Divinity on November 17, 2004 at 2:12 pm

The following is a link to the Friends of the Loews website: A telephone number as well as information on the aquisition and restoration of the theatre are provided.

RobertR on November 16, 2004 at 7:13 pm

Does anyone know the steps the friends of Loews in Jersey City took?

JimRankin on November 16, 2004 at 2:53 pm

I have to applaud Mr. Faulkner who is working from London, England to advocate an American theatre that too few of us prize. Yes, we have a great many lavish movie palaces remaining, and when the day come that CT will once again accept photos, we will no doubt see the reason that so many more deserve preservation, but for now it seems that the truly BIG projects such as the KINGS or the UPTOWN in Chicago are going to fade away until the point come that taxpayers must pay the millions it will take to clear the eventually dangerous crumbling buildings from any access to vagrants and children who find such hulks irresistible. There is another fabulous Rapp & Rapp theatre sitting in Milwaukee, dark and moldering and it too deserves restoration and reuse. But where will all the money come from? These are financially tight times with wars to pay for and tragic social causes of higher priority. Some ‘angels’ have come along for some theatres, such as the STANFORD in Palo Alto, Calif., and the PABST in Milwaukee, but such ‘sugar daddies’ are rare and getting rarer. Local publicity groups can sometimes help, but one should not break his own heart by deluding himself that an outside group with no real funds can do more than talk. After all, Proposition L to save the theatres of San Francisco, was just defeated at the polls amid speculation rife with doubt as to accountability —and that initiative did not involve any increase in taxes! ( What hope is there for the KINGS if one would suggest it become a public facility to be restored by, adapted by, and operated by public taxes? As the old saying goes: ‘Wishing isn’t getting.’ Mr. Faulkner is to be admired, but will any locals with dollars step forward to make it a privately-funded reality? We can only hope.

porterfaulkner on November 16, 2004 at 2:17 pm

RobertR et al, I have submitted a description for this most magnificent ‘Wonder’ theatre with the help of THSA documents and David Naylor’s books. Also attached a personal photo taken in the 1990’s, can’t believe it hasn’t been done before now.

Come on guys, lets do something about the formation of a ‘friends’ group to restore the Kings and halt the decline of this truly unique treasure.

R143 on November 15, 2004 at 10:35 am

It’s a shame that this once beautiful theatre is now falling apart.

Bway on November 15, 2004 at 4:24 am

Barbra is not the only combinations of bars and bras I have seen…
Uh oh…back to the movies. Hey, we got to have some fun here too…

uncleal923 on November 14, 2004 at 7:02 pm

Hello Again;
I decided to keep you all updated on the search for the guy who wants to restore the King’s. He called me, but my mother got the message. I left a message with him, and hopefully he will return it.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 14, 2004 at 7:18 am

The answer is Barbara Streisand.

williamrorex on November 14, 2004 at 6:59 am

Hi guys. I am not from New York, but need to answer a trivia question about the Lowes Kings Theatre. Does anyone know which mega star once ushered there. Was it Ben Stiller (probably to young), Robert DeNiro or Barbara Streisand

Bway on November 11, 2004 at 8:36 am

Robert, I don’t know too much about this theater otherwise i would do it, but maybe if you write a little intro for it, and email to cinematreasures and they could put it in the intro section.

RobertR on November 9, 2004 at 7:26 pm

Could we please add an introduction to one of the most important of all NY theatres

Ziggy on November 9, 2004 at 3:20 pm

If anyone’s interested, there is a print of “Memoirs of a Movie Palace”, a pictorial history, on film, of the Loew’s Kings, currently up on ebay. It is auction number 6338606957.

Divinity on October 25, 2004 at 9:04 pm

If a preservation group is started please keep us posted. I would love to make a contribution and I am sure that others would as well.
Remember that New York City has a great deal of resources that just need to be tapped into. If this is a commercial infill site, adjacent retail space can be used to generate income and the buisness would get tax incentives. I am sure that with good marketing the people of NYC would love to support this palacial structure. This is the last of the five wonder theaters that is not being developed into some type of venue. Such an edifice should be preserved, especially with the demise of American architecture these days.
Dont let them trample on the divine!

uncleal923 on October 25, 2004 at 8:18 pm

According to the article mentioned above a person named Bruce Friedman, who has a cable access show in Brooklyn wants to do so. I sent an E-Mail to the channel, and maybe I will receive a reply.

I was never to the Loew’s Jersey, I live on Long Island. Did anyone ever hear about the Patchogue Theater for the Performing Arts. It’s smaller than the Kings, but it’s a vaudeville house that was built in the 1920s, and holds concerts. I once ushered there until they decided to let me go. I should have some idea what they can do with these old houses.

RobertR on October 25, 2004 at 8:09 pm

I would love to be involved with a group to save this like the group did for the Loews Jersey City.