This old movie house: Forgotten architectural details found during Pavilion Theater renovation

Brooklyn Paper
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Call it lost footage.

Workers unearthed forgotten architectural features amid their renovation of Park Slope’s historic Pavilion Theater, and tenant Nitehawk Cinema will incorporate some of the discoveries into the movie house’s redesign, according to a spokeswoman.

“We uncovered some very cool original pieces and have been working to adjust our designs to incorporate and capitalize on those interesting details,” said Alexa Harrison.

The exhumed elements include original balconies discovered between the ceiling and the floor of the building’s first and second stories, which would have sat movie-goers back in 1928, when the cinema opened as the Sanders Theatre.

But the galleries are definitely getting the axe, according to Harrison, who did not provide a reason why.

And the theater’s tenants are not revealing what else was found until they determine what will stay and what will go, although they will share photos of all their discoveries with the public at some point down the line, the rep said.

“We are in the process of finalizing which original finds are salvageable and can be incorporated into the design layout, and look forward to sharing a snapshot of what’s to come,” Harrison said.

The landmarked movie house is scheduled to reopen next winter, and in the meantime is engaging local cinephiles by displaying a series of Brooklyn film–inspired haikus on its marquee.

The Sanders Theatre, which closed in 1978, reopened in 1996 as the Pavilion, which expanded from three to nine screens in 2000.

Developer Hidrock Realty bought the cinema in 2006 with the intention of converting it to condos — a plan the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission approved in 2015 — but instead decided to sell it to a group of investors for $28 million last year.

Nitehawk was announced as the theater’s sole tenant shortly after, and will reopen it as a seven-screen, 650-seat facility.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:56 pm, July 9, 2018
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