Pavilion Theatre

188 Prospect Park West,
Park Slope,
Brooklyn, NY 11215

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Sanders Theatre exterior

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located in the Park Slope district, and built on the site of the Marathon Theatre (1908-1927). The Sanders Theatre was opened in August 1928 with 1,516 seats. The interior design was carried out in a Moorish style, and it was equipped with a Wurlitzer 2 manual 7 rank organ. It was closed in 1978, and stood unused for over a decade.

It was taken over by a new operator in September 1995, and was eventually repaired and reopened as the Pavilion Theatre in 1996, with 3-screens. By October 2004, it had been converted into a 9-screen cinema. In September 2016 plans were announced that the cinema would close in October 2016 to be converted into a 7-screen Nitehawk cinema, to be known as Nitehawk Prospect Park.

Contributed by John Chappell, Suzanne Moore

Recent comments (view all 45 comments)

Willburg145
Willburg145 on June 16, 2016 at 3:39 pm

I went there today for the first time. I think I was in screen two. The air conditioning was not hardly on and it was somewhat warm in the theatre. And there was a musty smell.

Kris
Kris on September 6, 2016 at 6:11 pm

Huzzah, if all goes well, it will be a Nitehawk in 2017: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/07/movies/nitehawk-to-open-a-second-cinema-in-brooklyn.html

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on September 6, 2016 at 7:11 pm

Text of article:

Nitehawk to Open a Second Cinema in Brooklyn

Park Slope, Brooklyn, hang on to your strollers. The Pavilion, the neighborhood’s lone remaining movie house — one frequently criticized for varying degrees of neglect — is to be transformed into a Nitehawk theater, set to open early fall 2017. Plans to add condominiums to the site, made before the Nitehawk entered negotiations with the building’s owners, have been scrapped.

This will be the first expansion for team Nitehawk, which opened the popular dine-in boutique cinema in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in 2011. In an era of megabudget superhero flicks and ever-better television, Nitehawk thrived, proving that if you build a three-screen artisanal movie house in a hipster-rich neighborhood and serve burrata, kale salad and cocktails tableside, they will come. The new multiplex, to be rechristened Nitehawk Prospect Park, will have seven screens, a total of 650 seats, a double kitchen, two bar areas, a restored atrium overlooking the park, and, of course, in-theater dining, according to Matthew Viragh, Nitehawk Cinema’s founder.

The Pavilion will be closed by the end of October, he added. Renovations, which should cost less than $10 million, are expected to take about a year.

“We’ve always wanted to do more locations,” Mr. Viragh said. “Our focus is Brooklyn; we want to be a neighborhood cinema. That’s in our DNA, to cater to this area.”

Link

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on September 6, 2016 at 7:13 pm

Article, continued

If the Nitehawk is the movie-theater equivalent of an enduringly cool kid with a man bun, the Pavilion is more of a Miss Havisham with some questionable late-in-life cosmetic tweaks.

Perched on the westernmost corner of Prospect Park, the cinema opened as a 1,516-seat, Wurlitzer-equipped theater, the Sanders, in 1928, and for decades suffered the indignities of old age. It was shuttered in 1978, reopened as the Pavilion with three screens in 1996, then divided into nine screens in the 2000s. Local blogs meticulously pored over its decline, noting its trash-strewn, thickly sticky floors, ripped upholstery and frequently broken toilets; patrons bemoaned it as well, collectively giving it a two-star rating on Yelp.

New operators took over in 2011, adding leather seats, new carpet and fresh paint, but Park Slope cineastes would not be swayed. “There were pieces of tissue paper in my drink cup,” one patron wrote on Yelp this year. “I grab a booster for my kid and it’s covered in gum and melted gummy candy,” groused another.

The Pavilion’s long march toward Nitehawkhood began five years ago, when Mr. Viragh approached Hidrock Properties (then Hidrock Realty), which had bought the Pavilion for $16 million in 2006.

Mr. Viragh and Steven J. Hidary, whose family owns Hidrock, discussed making the theater a Nitehawk, but with the Williamsburg location also opening in 2011, the timing was off. Then, several years ago, Mr. Hidary said his family “wanted to bring out the full potential of the site.” The plan, which caused local consternation, was to build condominiums while also retaining a three- or four-screen theater. Last year, the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission approved a six-story condo conversion for the one-story building adjoining the Pavilion, with units also to be built on the cinema’s second floor. Then Mr. Viragh came forward with investors who wanted to buy the theater and give Nitehawk a long-term lease.

Brooklyn’s residential building boom has led to concerns about market oversaturation, but Mr. Hidary said that the company’s decision was not affected by a softening real estate market, because Hidrock bought relatively low and just two dozen units would be built on a prime site. Condos might have even made them more money, but “we had to decide, do we build condos or do we save Brooklyn?” said Mr. Hidary, who is from Midwood. “So we saved Brooklyn.”

The sale of the theater, for $28 million to 188 Prospect Park West L.L.C., closed on Aug. 26, according to Mr. Viragh and Mr. Hidary, with Hidrock still owning the adjoining one-story site. (Mr. Hidary said that there were no current plans to build condominiums there.) Emails to Ben Kafash, one of the Pavilion’s operators, were not immediately returned.

Brad Lander, a city councilman who fought to keep a cinema at the site, said that while the Pavilion might not have been beloved, “losing a movie theater would’ve been a blow,” adding, “It’s a center of Park Slope family life.”

The new Nitehawk will add to the boomlet in specialty art-house cinemas in New York City, which includes the Metrograph on the Lower East Side and the Syndicated, in Bushwick, Brooklyn. A branch of the Alamo Drafthouse, with seven screens and 798 seats, is set to open in Downtown Brooklyn this fall, while the Quad Cinema in Greenwich Village is being refurbished for opening at an undetermined date.

“We want to elevate the cinema experience, because that’s what it’s all about,” Mr. Viragh said. “How rare is it to save a theater in New York, and not make it into a Duane Reade or a Starbucks?”

jbrilliant
jbrilliant on November 2, 2016 at 7:58 am

Community welcomed in for a last look before renovation. Some great photos that capture the state of things: http://patch.com/new-york/parkslope/last-look-park-slopes-pavilion-theater-says-good-night

Gabi Gonzalez
Gabi Gonzalez on March 27, 2017 at 5:21 pm

Hello fellow movie theater lovers,

I’m doing a project for my photojournalism class at NYU about closed down independent movie theaters in New York. I hope to gain information about people’s past experiences at these movie theaters, recollections of favorite memories or not so great experiences, perhaps economical insight, contacts with owners/managers, etc. On a larger level, I hope my project is able to show the significance of the role that these establishments play in our city and the importance of keeping them afloat.

If anyone would be willing to answer a few questions via email about your personal memories at the theater, please let me know! It could be as simple as recounting a favorite movie you remember seeing back when it was open. I would greatly appreciate your insight.

You can contact me at:

Thanks,
Gabi

DavidWallick
DavidWallick on August 24, 2017 at 12:07 pm

This was seen in today’s New York Times:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/23/nyregion/nitehawk-cinema-park-slope-brooklyn-pavilion.html

StevenOtero
StevenOtero on August 25, 2017 at 11:12 am

The old Pavilion theater on Prospect Park West will become home to the second Nitehawk Cinema in early 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/23/nyregion/nitehawk-cinema-park-slope-brooklyn-pavilion.html?smid=fb-share

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on August 28, 2017 at 7:04 am

Re-printed in the Sunday edition with a new headline: “New Life for a Run-Down Movie Theater.” Read here

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on October 27, 2017 at 6:13 pm

1954 photo as the Sanders added via Raymond Storey.

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