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Back in 1989, I think during the “1939 Film Festival”, the owner unveiled plans for a full art deco restoration. I have been back to the theater when visiting Baltimore, but I havent seen any work done. Does anyone know what happened?
I live in NYC and travel often to the film series here (Forbidden Planet was UNBELIEVABLE). I’m shocked by how many movie buffs in the city know nothing about this theater or the films it shows. It is literally minutes from the West Village via the Path train. It hasn’t gotten the publicity I thought it would. Well, maybe it doesn’t need it—I see that this Saturday’s showing of “Bright Eyes” is already sold out! Anyway—no matter where you live, move heaven and earth to come visit this place…it is an astonishing theater.
Could be good news for the Kings: The New York Times recently did an article on the Ditmas/Flatbush area in their “If You’re Thinking of Living In” series. Many people priced out of Park Slope are moving south of the park, into the lovely single Victorian homes in the area. I have driven around there and it is definitely more gentrified, diverse and safe than it was about 5 years ago when I lived nearby. Would be fantastic if the theater followed in the footsteps of the Loews Jersey, and became a focal point for the community.
The ironic thing is seeing the new Empire and the Loews on 42nd street, both of which try so hard to replicate the look of a genuine movie palace (well, at least on the outside—especially with the Loew’s gargantuan vertical marquee). Then around the corner is the old marquee for the Paramount, and the theaters in the Virgin Megastore are called “Loews State.” Just makes me sad, especially since the preservation movement was pretty much born here with the demolition of Penn Station.
Our ray of hope: the Loew’s Kings still sits in brooklyn, relatively intact. As the burough gentrifies at an amazing pace, no doubt soon the affluent will discover the old houses of Flatbush, and it will be econimically viable to open the Kings again. I mean…did you ever think the Loew’s Jersey in sketchy Jersey City (no offense) would actually ever be reopened?! It still amazes me.
Let’s hope NYC will get a genuine operating movie palace once again—I’m afraid the Ziegfeld just doesn’t cut it for me.