Kings Theatre

1027 Flatbush Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11226

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Ziggy on November 19, 2004 at 10:48 am

I’ll even consider moving to Brooklyn if necessary

Ziggy on November 19, 2004 at 10:47 am

As another comment, let’s remember how the Friends of the Loew’s accomplished so much. They couldn’t afford the contractor’s estimate to get the stage and orchestra lifts working again, so they did it themselves. It was the same with the restoration of the marquee, and even the restoration of the organ. The thing to do is not concern ourselves with naysayers, but look to people who have accomplished something and emulate them. If we fail, it shouldn’t be for lack of trying. I realize that the Kings is in worse shape than the Jersey ever was, but that doesn’t make it impossible. So, if someone out there is organizing, please contact me.

Ziggy on November 19, 2004 at 9:08 am

I honestly don’t know if you’re right or wrong Warren, but you did say almost the same thing about the Paradise too. Anyway, can someone out there tell me how to join this committee that has been mentioned previously?

Ziggy on November 19, 2004 at 7:52 am

First of all, is there actually a committee dedicated to saving this place? If there is, how do I join? I already shared some memories of this place, and of Dorothy Panzica (God bless her) the wonderful manager of this theatre (back in the 70’s) who caught me prowling around the building as a teenager and wound up giving me a grand tour, backstage and all. I’m not from Brooklyn, and live no where near it, but I’m willing to do what I can to help. I remember while I was working in Florida for a few weeks in 1999, an elderly woman walked into the clinic. While conversing with her, she mentioned she was from Brooklyn. I asked her if she was ever in the Loew’s Kings. She not only had been there, but her mother took her to the opening day performance! She still had the program from the theatre’s first day of operation, and brought it into the clinic to show me! Well, somebody contact me through this site and let me know what, if anything I can do to help save Loew’s Kings.

BobFurmanek on November 19, 2004 at 7:25 am

I know some people that did a walk through in the building a few years ago. There was so much water damage to the stage, they couldn’t safely walk on it. The stage roof was wide open to the elements, and rain/snow had been pouring in for years. The place was a mess.

VincentParisi on November 19, 2004 at 7:02 am

But looking at the photos on the French site of the interior today it seems in very bad shape. Is it possible to save? Is enough left to restore it? It looks as though it would have to be almost rebuilt. I hope the photos make the situation look worse than it actually is. The only photo of the interior that I know of as it was originally is from The best Remaining Seats and it was magnificent. One of the architectural glories of Brooklyn.

uncleal923 on November 18, 2004 at 8:49 pm

Guys, I think you should all take the poll on Loew’s Theaters that’s on the site this week. THE KINGS IS TRAILING BEHIND THE LOEW’S JERSEY! By the way you are all right. I spoke again with the person who wants to restore the Kings, and they are regentrifying the area. They have a Footlocker, Blockbuster Video, and other stores, and the Sears that has been there since time and memoriam is, this former Brooklynite is glad to hear, still there. Joe Franklin joined the committee to save the Kings. So did I.

beardbear31 on November 18, 2004 at 7:13 pm

A picture of the Kings under construction, and a picture of it’s “cosmetic room” can be seen at

chconnol on November 18, 2004 at 8:44 am

Your point is well taken. As a child, my parents took us to Times Square a lot in the 70’s. I never really thought that it was too bad at all. Whenever I read, see (Taxi Driver) or hear anything about how lousy it was, I find it hard to relate. Ok…I was a child/pre-teen so my age didn’t help. Yeah, it was gritty as HELL ( I remember the Times Square station…Whoa! What a place! But it was FUN!). But you know what? There were as many crowds back then as there are now. But now it’s tourist city. The “energy” is all manufactured as opposed to it being organic or natural. That’s why I like 9th Avenue a lot now. You have these great old hardware stores, shoeshines and quirky restaurants. 10th is even better.

As for Flatbush, it’s still gritty and pleasant. But if you go on the other side of Prospect Park (toward Park Slope) the changes are all but complete. It’s only a matter of time for it to sweep across the park into Flatbush, and it’s already happening. Will the Kings have a place in the “new” Flatbush? If history tells us anything (Times Square) the Kings will not survive. That’s why the time to start actively discussing saving it has to be done NOW. I used to love driving up Flatbush Ave. and seeing the old Kings and wonder what it must’ve been like 40, 50 or 60 years ago.

VincentParisi on November 18, 2004 at 8:13 am

Regentrification is a mixed blessing.

I would give anything to have the Times Square of the 70’s back. Yes it was filthy with sex shops, drug dealers and prostitutes all over the place. But so much of what made it a great New York neighborhood still existed. I loved walking around it and now I try to avoid it at every opportunity. Perhaps the highway Robert Moses wanted for Soho can now be put through midtown. Absolutely nothing would be lost. It’s already all gone. Are there any of you out there who would regret the loss of the Marriott Marquis, the Virgin Megastore or Toys R Us? And then there’s the car dealership also known as the Minskoff.

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.