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Brooklyn’s Magnificently Restored Kings Theatre

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Brooklyn’s Magnificently Restored Kings Theatre.

 

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Brooklyn’s Magnificently Restored Kings Theatre.

 

Two years ago to the day that the city embarked on a $94 million restoration of the Loew’s Kings Theatre in Flatbush, the institution reopened its doors and reclaimed its standing as Brooklyn’s largest theater.

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Brooklyn’s Magnificently Restored Kings Theatre / PHOTO: Max Touhey

 

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Brooklyn’s Magnificently Restored Kings Theatre / PHOTO:Max Touhey.

 

The restoration was painstaking: when it began in 2013, the theater had already been sitting vacant for four decades, a time during which looters plundered everything that wasn’t bolted down (and most of the things that were), and nature found its way into the neglected structure.

 

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Brooklyn’s Magnificently Restored Kings Theatre / PHOTO: Max Touhey // The theater, with its 3,000 seats, is the largest in Brooklyn and the third largest in the entire city.

 

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Brooklyn’s Magnificently Restored Kings Theatre / PHOTO: Max Touhey // While the interiors were painstakingly restored, they were also brought up to modern standards.

 

“The carpets used to kind of squish when you walked around,” Jeff Greene of EverGreene Architectural Arts said recalling the building in its pre-restoration state, when during inclement weather, water would gush through the ceiling, down the balconies, and pool amidst the theater seats. Looking at the majestic space now, any traces of its derelict state have been absolutely erased. From the brink of utter deterioration, the former Loew’s Wonder Theatre has been saved and returned to the city perhaps in a more glorious state even than before.

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Brooklyn’s Magnificently Restored Kings Theatre / PHOTO: Max Touhey // The six missing chandeliers were replaced with recreations made in Queens that were based on the one remaining fixture. Nowadays, it’s nearly impossible to tell which is the original and which are recreations.

 

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Brooklyn’s Magnificently Restored Kings Theatre / PHOTO: Max Touhey // Except for the area under a severe ceiling leak, all of the wood in the theater was salvaged which is an amazing feat, considering that Neil Heyman of Gilbane Building Company compared the theater when restoration began to “Titanic raised above”.

 

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Brooklyn’s Magnificently Restored Kings Theatre / PHOTO: Max Touhey // A few surprising things were discovered during the renovation beyond all of the gum and ephemera found under the theater’s seats. Gilbane’s Neil Heyman said a construction crew found a love letter inside one of the theater’s walls.

 

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Brooklyn’s Magnificently Restored Kings Theatre / PHOTO: Max Touhey // Another pleasant surprise came when a 100-year-old woman who served as the theater’s last house manager contacted the restoration crew to tell them that she was in possession of six original chairs from the theater’s lobby and that she wished to return them.

 

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Brooklyn’s Magnificently Restored Kings Theatre / PHOTO: Max Touhey

 

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Brooklyn’s Magnificently Restored Kings Theatre / PHOTO: Max Touhey // If you look closely, there are recurring motifs in the theater’s decorations. Most notably, faces. Thousands and thousands of faces.

 

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Brooklyn’s Magnificently Restored Kings Theatre / PHOTO: Max Touhey

 

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Brooklyn’s Magnificently Restored Kings Theatre / PHOTO: Max Touhey

 

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Brooklyn’s Magnificently Restored Kings Theatre / PHOTO: Max Touhey

 

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Brooklyn’s Magnificently Restored Kings Theatre / PHOTO: Max Touhey

 

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Brooklyn’s Magnificently Restored Kings Theatre / PHOTO: Max Touhey

 

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Brooklyn’s Magnificently Restored Kings Theatre / PHOTO: Max Touhey

 

The glorious result of the restoration was achieved through a number of parties; with funding from the state of New York, NYCEDC and the Kings Theatre Redevelopment Company, which consists of ACE Theatrical Group, Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group, and the National Development Council. Gilbane was the project’s general contractor, and Martinez+Johnson were the project architects.

 

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Brooklyn’s Magnificently Restored Kings Theatre / PHOTO: Max Touhey

 

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Brooklyn’s Magnificently Restored Kings Theatre / PHOTO: Max Touhey

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Brooklyn’s Magnificently Restored Kings Theatre / PHOTO: Max Touhey

 

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Brooklyn’s Magnificently Restored Kings Theatre / PHOTO: Max Touhey

 

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