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Hi In Charge,
Yes, my site is down, and may never get back up. Earthlink unplugged me due to a billing dispute (about which I’m still really steamed). One of their “call center representatives” gave me some bad info earlier this year, resulting in overcharges I refused to pay. Fortunately, I saved the theater pics to my hard drive. Unfortunately, the links in my post no longer work, and I feel bad about that. I’d be happy to send any of my pics via e-mail to anyone who asks. E-mail me at:
Well, rlvjr, I’d consider buying a ticket to the Paradise (I live mere blocks away) if ticket prices for ground-floor seats ever go below $50.
By the way, here’s an article about the Paradise that appeared in yesterday’s Daily News:
Visitor slaps theater with lawsuit after fall
BY CHRISENA COLEMAN
Tuesday, July 10th 2007
A Bronx man who saw stars at the Paradise Theater after falling down a rickety staircase has slapped the theater and the synagogue that hosted a dinner there with a lawsuit.
Val Karan and his wife, Annette, had gone to the restored grand movie palace on the Grand Concourse for a religious dinner June 7.
The Karans said there was a makeshift stage constructed over seating to create a dining area, the theater was poorly lit, tables were so close it was hard to move and the stairs were constructed from plywood.
“We felt unsafe and many of the elderly people started to leave after the first course, because we feared the stage would collapse,” said Annette Karan. “The chairs were too close and we could barely move … my husband fell down about four steps.”
Annette Karan said he didn’t make a fuss because the rabbi was about to speak, but when they arrived home he was in excruciating pain. He went to the doctor because the pain was unbearable, she said. X-rays showed Karan had suffered a broken leg, with a fracture of his right fibula.
Attorney Al Bernstone, who is representing the Karans in a lawsuit seeking an as-yet undetermined amount in damages, charged that the theater was negligent and should have constructed a stage that was safe.
“This could have been avoided if the staging area was constructed properly,” said Bernstone.
A woman who answered the telephone at the Riverdale Jewish Center said the executive director was not available for comment. Paradise Theater reps were on vacation.
“The theater was not set up to handle the crowd that came out for the occasion,” said Annette Karan. “It was a bad situation from the minute we walked through the door.”
The black-tie Bronx Ball was held at the theater two weeks later, apparently without incident.
I walked by the Spooner this past week and noticed that Duane Reade has vacated the premises. There are still half a dozen retail stores occupying storefront space in the building, but the area that had been the main entrance to the theatre is now empty and available for rent/lease. If anyone’s interested, the realtor is Winick (www.winick.com). By the way, Duane Reade relocated just a few doors away at the intersection of Southern Blvd. and 163rd Street, in another historic old structure – the former Hunt’s Point Palace.
Here’s some hot news on the Prospect Theatre. I noticed last week that the sign that had been hanging over the marquee for the last year – saying the building was for lease or sale by owner – was taken down. Uh oh, I thought, the Prospect has changed hands again, and who knows what’s in store for it now. Please God, don’t let it be torn down or subdivided into retail outlets. And please allow those amazing rooftop water towers (surviving almost 100 years of Bronx trials and tribulations) to remain just where they are.
So today I was strolling down Prospect Avenue, as I do on a regular basis these days, and noticed that the front door to the theatre was open, with an elderly gentleman standing inside. So I engaged him in conversation and found out that indeed the theatre has been bought, and will soon become the new home of the Abundant Life Tabernacle (currently located on Third Avenue and 143rd Street). This is great news, in my opinion, because it means, not only will the building be preserved, but the auditorium space will retain its integrity as a gathering space for people. It also means that anyone who wants to visit the old Prospect and absorb its ancient theatrical vibes will be able to do so, on any Sunday morning (as long as they are willing to sit through a religious service). It may take a while before the Abundant Life group makes their move, but I will keep this site posted on progress. Selah.
I’ve walked by this theatre several times in the past month, and can report that it is now being used as a Fine Fare supermarket. Furthermore, the renovations that were done in the last several years to get it ready were a great success – the building simply looks great.
There are a lot of changes happening in this corridor of Boston Road – old buildings getting facelifts and new buildings under construction.
If you go to my “Old Bronx Movie Houses” page for this area (see link in my post from 2004), and go three-quarters of the way down the page, you’ll see pics of some low-lying structures that I tentatively identified as remnants of the Park Theatre. The address was 1471 Wilkins Avenue, literally a stone’s throw behind the Boston Road Theatre. The buildings in my photos, including the smokestack, were torn down sometime in the past year to make way for a handsome new apartment building with rounded facade that gracefully follows the contour of the corner of Boston Road and Wilkins Avenue (Wilkins Ave. is now called Louis Nine Boulevard, by the way). I was sad to see the old buildings go, but the new apartment building is one of the few examples of new construction in the Bronx that works, aesthetically speaking, in my humble opinion.
I walked past this location today, and just as I suspected in my post above, the theater is now gone. Been replaced by a shit-ugly 3-story building with a Dollar Store on the ground floor. When I took pics of the theater in 2002, the facade facing Boston Road was still standing and intact. The rear section, however, was crumbling. (To see the pics, click on the link contained in my post of Sept. 12, 2004 above.) It’s too bad the facade couldn’t have been preserved and used in the new building. It would have retained some of the charm of this area just north of McKinley Square.
I walked by this location today, and there is a functioning clothing shop in this storefront now. It’s not clear whether the building is still for sale or not.
But the more interesting discovery on my walk occurred 2 blocks to the east, where I noticed a building that is on an irregularly shaped block bounded by 138th and 139th Streets (east-west), and Jackson Avenue and Bruckner Boulevard (north-south). The front of the building faces Bruckner. It currently houses a lumber company. This area adjoins the Port Morris neighborhood, which has always been an industrial/manufacturing district. But what struck me was that the facade of the building and the curved shape of the roof strongly resembled an old theater building. Given its size, I’d estimate it could have held a couple thousand people. However, I’ve had no luck finding references to a theater at this location via any of my sources. Lost Memory, are you there? Got any tips? If you do a google map (satellite view) of E. 139th Street and Jackson Avenue, Bronx, it is the building to the southeast of that intersection.
Thanks Lost. BTW, where do you live?
Thanks for that interesting bit of info, Lost. I’m really concerned about the status of many old theatre buildings in the South Bronx, now that so much new construction is under way. I now take regular walks past my favorites to be sure they’re still standing. (I live in Fordham.) I’ve always appreciated the church groups who took over old theatres because the buildings are best preserved that way.
Did you get that “stop work order” info from a city website? And if so, can you provide us with a link? Have you gleaned pertinent info about other Bronx theatres that way? Thanks in advance.
I’ve walked by this building several times in the past few weeks. The signage for the Pentecostal church, which had been on the marquee of the old theatre, is now gone. Which leads me to believe the church has gone out of business. The marquee structure is still there, but stripped down to its steel beams.
I’ve walked by this site several times in the past few weeks. The portion of the building that had been standing for years has been completely torn down. There is now a backhoe on the lot digging up ground, presumably to prepare for new construction.
I live and work in Fordham (grew up in Kingsbridge Heights), so I walk by the Paradise all the time. Was thrilled when I found out the place was being renovated. But, like many of you, became quite disappointed to find out that it would only be used for high-end special events, and then only infrequently. Thus, the poor folks who live right in the neighborhood will have little opportunity to spend time there. On Fridays and Saturdays I walk past and see it dark, and think what a shame that this venue is not being made available for some kind of inexpensive entertainment on a weekly basis. If I win the mega-lottery, I’m going to buy (or lease) the place from the guy who is currently mis-managing it, and turn it back into what it was designed for: a movie palace. No first-run shows (too expensive). Just double- and triple-features of old classics, particularly movies that were filmed in NYC. Ticket price: $10, all the time. Plus, I’ll revive the old-fashioned policy that allowed patrons to stay through multiple showings. Stay all day if you want. Below are my suggestions for double- and triple-features for the first 10 weeks – all movies shot (wholly or partially) in da Bronx:
Fort Apache: The Bronx (1981)
John and Mary (1969)
I like It Like That (1994)
The Wanderers (1979)
Odds Against Tomorrow (1959)
The Gambler (1974)
Carlito’s Way (1993)
Pride of the Yankees (1942)
Babe Ruth Story (1948)
Sins of the Fleshapoids (1965)
Way Out (1967)
The Incident (1967)
True Love (1989)
Love Is All There Is (1996)
Bronx Warriors (1982)
Emperor of the Bronx (1989)
To view some interesting “then” and “now” pics of the Windsor, click here:
Take note that the old Con Ed building, a neighborhood landmark which can be seen in the background of both pics, was just TORN DOWN this summer to make room for a new library building. Also, the Bronx BBQ restaurant, which for many years was located in the sidewalk-level space of the building, appears to have closed in just the past couple weeks. I’ve eaten there recently and have to say the quality of food and service had gone downhill.
Amazingly, still standing. To view recent pics of this ancient theatre building, click here:
To view a pic of how the building appears today, click here and scroll down:
To view a recent pic of the Enrico Fermi Center, on the site of the Savoy, click here and scroll to bottom of page:
To view recent pics of this old theatre building, click here:
To view recent pics of this huge old theatre building, click here:
To view a recent pic of this building, click here:
To view the web page from which Damien Farley took the pic links above, click here:
To view interesting “then” and “now” images of the Prospect Theatre, click here:
Take note of how those rooftop water tanks have survived for nearly a century.
To view some recent pics of this building, click here:
Considering its age, this is still a handsome building, with some nice detail on the facade. To view some recent pics, click here:
To view a pic from 2002 of this theatre building, click here:
To see a pic of the vacant lot where the theatre once stood, click here and scroll half-way down the page: