The marquee is lit and the former Pavilion Theater in Park Slope has been burnished inside and out into a new venue, Nitehawk Prospect Park.
The 1920s movie house at 188 Prospect Park West has had a bumpy road towards rejuvenation. Opened in 1928 as the Sanders Theater, it operated until 1978. The theater moldered until 1995 when it reopened as the Pavilion. It had a less than stellar reputation over the years and ceased operation in 2016.
Nitehawk took on the property and started the renovation in 2016. When we toured the interiors last fall, work on the conversion was underway and a few remaining 1920s-era details were visible.
The theater was originally designed by architect Harrison G. Wiseman and Magnuson & Kleinert Associates. Wiseman designed more than 20 theaters in New York City, including the Egyptian influenced Cameo Theater on Eastern Parkway.
A recent visit to the completed interiors shows those 1920s elements, including decorative moldings, marble steps, ceiling medallions and other details, did indeed survive the renovation.
There weren’t any surviving historic light fixtures, so contemporary fixtures have been suspended from the restored 1920s-era ceiling medallions.
An original balcony was uncovered during the renovation and its underpinnings are now on view in a new public hallway.
A new marker in the lobby pays homage to the history of the building
The marble steps, discovered under layers of old carpeting, have been restored.
Bits of trim were also uncovered, restored and painted a brilliant gold.
More ornate trim on the second floor has also been painted and incorporated into a hallway behind the new upstairs bar area.
In hallways to the seven theater spaces, the brick has been left exposed and rigging elements from the former theater remain. According to Nitehawk founder Matthew Viragh, more ropes and pulleys were saved during the renovation project.
Part of the marquee from the theater’s days as the Pavilion awaits hanging in the remodeled space.
The Nitehawk retains a lounge space in the mezzanine, although the quirky murals from the Pavilion days have vanished. Below is the downstairs bar area.
The seven theaters have a total of 650 seats and there are plans for live performances and programming in addition to showing mainstream and independent films.
[Photos by Susan De Vries unless noted otherwise]
- The Former Pavilion Theater Is Getting Ready for Its Nitehawk Debut (Photos)
- Condo Plan Nixed, Old-Timey Shops Next to Pavilion Theater May Be Restored
- Enter the Park Slope Pavilion Theater’s Secret Back Room, In All Its Animal Print Strangeness