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The biggest problem facing the Kings is that lack of imagination on behalf of most of the people who write about how much it would cost to save it and how there would not be enough support from the local communities to keep it going. Most of the people on cinematreasures writing about the Kings are white, which made up most of the population of surrounding area of the Kings until the mid 1970’s. Times have changed and so should our approach to saving the Kings.
Throughout the U.S., there are many former movie palaces that are now used as Multi-Cultural Performing Arts Venues.
The reason the Kings has not risen in 30 years is people are not looking at it from the eyes of the surrounding communites of the Kings. There are many culturals surrounding the Kings, however, thus far no one has thought of the needs of the surrounding communities. If the Kings has events that cater to these diverse populations it could be a success. The Kings is far enough away from the Brooklyn Academy of Music, so that they would not have to complete with one another.
I was born and raised in this area until the mid 1970’s. My family left because this area was no longer safe. The major reason why this area took such a hit in the 1970’s was because the people lost faith in the local government. They did nothing to stop the crime or the major exodus.
You only need to look at the history of Downtown Brooklyn. It’s downfall preceded Flatbush. Crime, drugs, Redlining and the razing of Albee and Brooklyn Fox, sent a clear message to the population that the than local government in Brooklyn, NY was not interested in saving it.
The last area in Brooklyn, NY that could be regentrified is Flatbush. The architecture is still magnificent. The only thing holding the success of the Flatbush area back is the trashy stores on Flatbush and the local government’s lack of support and vision for this area.
What a vote of confidence the local government would send to Flatbush area, if they decide to restore the Kings. However, just as important is cleaning up Flatbush Ave from Prospect Park to the Kings.
Presently, I am not a resident of New York. However, my friend is and he is the one who is creating an organization to save the Kings. When it is formed, I will advise you. I am planning on moving back to New York. In the interim, I will be writing letters, making phone calls to make more people aware of the Loew’s Kings and how restoring it would benefit Brooklyn, NY.
Since I am from this part of Brooklyn, NY, I am aware there are alot of people who would like to see the Kings saved including me. Unforunately, this “Wishful Thinking” on behalf of many people has not saved the Kings from being vandalized of everything of value(light fixtures, etc) nor from the horrifying condition it is presently in.
It would behoove you to make an appointment with the Brooklyn Borough President’s office so that you will be aware of the present conditon of the Kings and some of the tough decisions they are facing with the Kings.
On a positive note, another Wonder Theater: Paradise Theater in Bronx, NY has been beautifully restored. Their first concert last month was sold out. It is never too late to restore a great movie palace!
Jim, Thank you. A word of encouragement goes a long way!!! Again, thanks. Lance.
Unlike alot of people who write about the Kings, this was my neighborhood theater. To generalize The Kings situation is an insult to anyone who lived in that area. During the mid 1970’s, due to some unscrupulous real estate deals, the neighborhoood changed within a few years. Like most middle class, I left. It took about 10 years for the neighborhood to stablize. Since than, the neighborhood has a working class,a middle class and than there is the affluent Historic South Prospect Park area (and the surrounding areas). Granted you have a very diverse population. However, this could be an advantage if the Kings was to take advantage of meeting the needs of each of these diverse populations. Presently, there is only one major performing arts venue and that is Brooklyn Academy of Music,which is located downtown Brooklyn, NY. This is not sufficent for such a big borough that is growing more prosperous each day.
I am also very much aware that the Kings is very costly to maintain and operate due to its size. However, since there is no performing arts venue other than Brooklyn Academy of Arts, it would be worth the investment especially if Brooklyn wants to continue it’s revitalization. Eventually, Brooklyn is going to need another performing arts venue and to build a new one would be at least 100 millon dollars or more. Disney spent over 250 million to build a performing arts venue in Los Angeles, CA. Has anyone seen this venue? I have and it is a waste of money. Granted, the acostics are suppose to be perfect. However, 50 years from now is anyone going to care about this building. To restore the Kings would be about 60 million. Due to the immense size of the Kings, you could cut open a doorway in the lobby and have a couple of 200 screen theaters next to it. The size of Kings could be used to advantage just like they have with the Brooklyn Academy of Arts.
Back in the late 1970’s when the Kings closed it’s doors, this was a working theater. During the 1980’s, store fronts on both sides of the building were being utilized. However, over time, with no one voicing their concerns about the future of the Kings, it was vandalized of everything of value and left to rot.
We no longer can depend on someone else to do the work we can do. Take the time to make the phone calls, write letters to the legislators and make an appointment with Brooklyn Borough President(my friend did). The more proactive each of us is, the more we will be taken seriously.
My friend(who is on vacation)in the near future will be recruiting volunteers to help save the kings. Is anyone interested?
There is a saying, “If people knew better, they would do better.”
It is quite discouraging to know that the Kings has been closed for more than 25 years and those who have claimed to have taken care of it, allowed the Kings to fall into such disrepair.
At the very least, the Kings should have been properly maintained and looked after. The exterior, interior and the windows are filthy. This belief that some people have that let’s sit back and wait for someone with deep pockets to save the Kings has not worked. If the Kings was looked after, maybe it would be in similar shape to another Rapp & Rapp theater: Uptown, in Chicago, ILL. More important, the community where the Uptown is located wants to see it saved. The community were the Kings is has no emotionally attachment because no one has taken the time to make this an agenda. How can we save a theater unless the local commuity is part of restoration of it? These are the same people that will be attending this theater. The Kings could have been used for graduations, weddings, local gatherings, filming, and the list is endless. Instead, it has been left to rot.
Why weren’t the stores next to the Kings being rented and that income used to help maintain the Kings? Every other store front on Flatbush Ave. is being used. This also would have meant more people would have had contact with the Kings.
Anyone who has seen the TV Special: Memories of a Movie Palace will remember the former manager of the Kings when she broke down crying upon seeing the Kings in 1979. Can you imagine her reaction if she were to see the Kings today??? It is infurating to know that this Palace was allowed to fall into such a deporable state.
This is the reason why my friend and I had a meeting with the Brooklyn Borough President’s assistant. We offered to volunteer our time and money in order to help to save the Kings.
The theater itself could be a part of the revitalzation of the Flatbush area by getting the community members involved with the cleanup and restoration work. This should have begun 25 years ago. However, it is not too late.
We have to be proactive. This means voicing your opinions with the legislators in Brooklyn, NY to at least stablize the Kings. Also, coming up with solutions so that the Kings can thrive in the area it is located.
We may also have to make concessions, if you want to see the Kings survive the next couple of years. I would rather see the Kings be stablized and in the conditon that the Majestic in downtown Brooklyn, NY is in, than be razed.
Recently, I went to see the Loew’s Kings and what I saw was worse than I expected. Although, the Kings still looks majestic, time is starting to take a toll on her. The front of the building is fithy and the windows do not look like they have been cleaned since it closed. When I looked into the lobby windows there was water damage along the ceiling and it appears to be extremely dirty.
Several people approached me asking about the Kings. They wanted to see the Kings saved believing that it would be an asset to their neighborhood. Also, every store front in the surrounding area of the Kings on Flatbush Ave. with the exception of the Kings building and the attached store fronts are being utilized. This clearly gives the reader some indication that it is profitable to have on a business on Flatbush Ave in Brooklyn, New York.
My friend and I had a meeting with the Brooklyn Borough President’s Assistant, who confirmed that Mr. Markowitz’s indeed is interested in saving the Loew’s Kings. However, there is the fact that it would take about 60 million dollars to restore the Kings. Where is the money going to come from? Mr. Markowitz’s office is open to suggestions. Please remember, at the present time, the Kings can be saved if we use our resources to save it. However, in the next couple of years, the damage maybe too great and the Kings would be the only Wonder Theater that could possible be razed!!!
This talk of sacrificing Kings Loew Theater for Brooklyn Paramount Theater is not acceptable. Because the Brooklyn Paramount is part of a university it has access to millions of dollars, so if the university wants to make it a theater again, they can. However,it is up to all of us who care about the Kings to save it. The idea that it is not cost effective to save the Kings is foolish. To build a new performing arts center would cost 3 or 4 times the amount it would take to restore the Kings and I doubt that anyone is going to build a more beautiful theater. Someone has to make a decision to create a non-profit organization to save the Kings and become incorporated. Once that is done, the organization can ask fortune 500 companies as well as the entertainment community to donate money to save the Kings. To encourage donations, the organization can make a list of corporate sponsors so that it will be worthwhile for companies and/or indivduals to donate money because they are getting free publicity. We, the readers cannot blame a theater owner for the decline of the Kings. The Kings belongs to the City of Brooklyn, so it is up to all of us, who care to save it. Let’s stop all this talk and bein taking action. Once people realize we are serious about saving the Kings than other people will look at the Kings in a different light. Instead, of seeing the Kings as a burden to the City, they will see all the potential. If the Kings were restored it could be used for filming (commericals, movies and videos just like the grand Los Angeles Theater in LA,CA), conventions, plays, and even use it as a church or a museum (placing art and/or scuptures throughtout the theater). Be creative but whatever we do, let’s stop all this talking and start taking some action to save the Kings!
Great movie palaces are one of a kind just like great works of art. For this reason, every effort should be made possible by the community and the local government to save them. Eventually, each community will need a new theater or performing art venue. The government or a big coporate company will spend millions of dollars to build a new and unattractive modern performing arts center . Instead, they could have had the foresight to renovate an existing one and save millions. More important, so many young people have not had the experience of being in these grand old movie palaces. This deprives this generation as well future generations a part of their cultural heritage.