The Former Pavilion Theater Launches as Nitehawk Prospect Park (Photos)

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.

nitehawk pavilion

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.

188 prospect park west

Photo by Craig Hubert

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.

brooklyn pavilion nitehawk

Surviving decorative details amidst the renovation in 2017

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.

pavilion nitehawk

There weren’t any surviving historic light fixtures, so contemporary fixtures have been suspended from the restored 1920s-era ceiling medallions.

pavilion nitehawk

An original balcony was uncovered during the renovation and its underpinnings are now on view in a new public hallway.

pavilion nitehawk

A new marker in the lobby pays homage to the history of the building

pavilion nitehawk

The marble steps, discovered under layers of old carpeting, have been restored.

pavilion nitehawk

Bits of trim were also uncovered, restored and painted a brilliant gold.

pavilion nitehawk

More ornate trim on the second floor has also been painted and incorporated into a hallway behind the new upstairs bar area.

pavilion nitehawk

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.

pavilion nitehawk

Part of the marquee from the theater’s days as the Pavilion awaits hanging in the remodeled space.

nitehawk pavilion

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.

nitehawk pavilion

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]

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