It’s show time!
Nitehawk Cinema bigwigs are opening the historic Pavilion Theater they’ve been renovating for years on Sunday to members of a Park Slope civic group, who will screen the movie house’s debut flick ahead of its looming grand opening to the public.
The exclusive sneak peek at the long-awaited theater is Nitehawk brass’s way of giving back to members of the 14th Street Block Association, who had to share their residential street between Eighth Avenue and Prospect Park West with a steady stream of construction vehicles since renovations of the 90-year-old movie house nearby began in 2016, according to a local gadfly in on the invitation.
“They had problems with the 14th Street Block Association and so they want to pander them,” said Tom Prendergast, a Windsor Terrace resident who said he is the only non-Block Association member privy to the group’s weekly newsletter, which advertised tickets for the special screening in an edition sent on Tuesday morning.
The invite-only event will serve as a test run for the cinema’s new staff, according to a rep, who said Nitehawk bigwigs want to iron out any operational kinks as they make finishing touches to the theater they plan to open to all Brooklynites “very soon.”
“The upcoming private occasion is simply an opportunity for our team to hone service techniques and perfect how we provide our enhanced experience,” said Ashton Pina. “ As we finalize our newest outpost, the entire Nitehawk team would like to thank the community for their patience.”
Still, news of the private screening will likely come as a relief to many local cinephiles, especially those who lost their chance to glimpse the restored Pavilion when Nitehawk quietly canceled what would have been the spot’s debut screening there last month due to construction issues.
Nitehawk owner Matthew Viragh began making over the dilapidated movie house — which opened as the Sanders Theater in 1928, and reportedly suffered a blockbuster bed-bug infestation a few years before it closed for renovations — after leasing the spot from investors who in 2016 bought it for $28 million from developer Hidrock Properties, after the builder abandoned plans to build condos and a new cinema on the Pavilion’s Prospect Park West lot.
Viragh originally planned to unveil the newly renovated theater, now called Nitehawk Prospect Park, in early 2018, but later postponed its debut to this winter when workers discovered long-lost architectural elements from its early days amid their transformation of the space.