Park Slope’s nostalgically decrepit Pavilion Theater has a secret storage mezzanine — perfect for cult gatherings, shrines to the 1970s and otherwise questionable activities.
Located behind an unmarked white door above the second-floor concession area, the poorly lit space is furnished in wall-to-wall cheetah print carpeting, hand-painted homages to the Italian Renaissance, unlit mosaic wall lamps and a plethora of bizarre furniture. Neat stacks of marquee letters sit in piles under the glowing orb of the area’s only lamp; a dark wooden staircase leads two levels down, but is blocked.
Despite being directly behind the three oblong windows that define the theater’s facade, the strange back room isn’t visible from outside, but one can see out to Prospect Park from within.
While the entrance is not adorned with any employees-only warnings, the room’s secluded location behind an arcade game is not particularly inviting, and it can be assumed Pavilion staff do not want clientele entering.
According to a longtime Park Slope resident, the curious outfitting of the hidden balcony can be explained by the Pavilion’s history. After a long period of abandonment following its closure as the Sanders Theater, 188 Prospect Park West reopened as the Pavilion, and the new owner’s girlfriend wanted to create a cafe.
“It was on the second floor,” the tipster says of the cafe. “It was very nice at the beginning. It was named The Living Room.”
According to the Park Sloper, the blocked stairs were once a side entrance from the Pavilion’s lobby.
Soon enough, the strange room will be no more, as developer Morris Adjmi Architects plans to convert the landmarked building into condos. Initial renderings of the new building were compared to a penitentiary.
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