We’re here this morning to celebrate the rare chance we get to report on something not becoming condos: The Pavilion movie theater, an aging relic on the edge of Park Slope that held some old-movie-house charm despite its disrepair, sewage-y bathroom smell and reputation for being a chill hangout spot for bed bugs, was potentially slated to close and be redeveloped into a five-story condo building. Neighbors and politicians rallied to save a theater on the site, and yesterday their wish, and then some: Instead of condos, they’re getting an even better theater. Williamsburg’s dinner-and-a-movie arthouse Nitehawk is taking over the space, according to a Times report yesterday. The story contains this quote from Steven J. Hidary, whose family bought the theater in 2006, which gives us hope for the future of a city full of art and life instead of Matrix-like vertical people farms without any amenities to serve them:
“Condos might have even made them more money, but ‘we had to decide, do we build condos or do we save Brooklyn?’ said Mr. Hidary, who is from Midwood. ‘So we saved Brooklyn.’ “
That is obviously some hyperbole at work — actually saving Brooklyn would probably involve building a monstrous cloud city of housing units that were both affordable and above the rapidly rising sea levels — but it is indeed so rare to hear of a property owner putting something, literally anything, over the money that condos would bring it.
The Pavilion is slated to close next month; $10 million renovations to convert its slightly dilapidated building into a new Nitehawk should take a year to complete, according to The Times. It’s unclear exactly what programming will come along with the new theater, but it would seem unlikely it would not cater to some of the kind of family fare that has drawn hordes of Park Slope families for years, despite the bed-bug fears and whatnot. But it will also almost certainly bring with it the kind of programming that has made the original Williamsburg location a hit since it opened in 2011: Midnight cannibal movies, country brunch matinees, comedian-hosted live shows and so forth.
As someone who lives a short bike ride to the spot, I have already tweeted at Nitehawk requesting they bring along the weekly free Simpsons Club to Park Slope as well so I may die a blissful weekly death from overdosing on Skittlebrau.
The theater will be called Nitehawk Prospect Park and will have seven screens for a total of 650 seats, a kitchen, two bar areas, a restored atrium overlooking the park and its signature in-theater dining, according to The Times. It appears the debut long-delayed Brooklyn location of Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse, a similar dinner-and-a-movie chain that was recently delayed yet again due what appear to be overall problems with the City Point development site, just got snaked by one of Brooklyn’s own.
Nitehawk’s ticket price ($12 for adults) is actually less expensive than the Pavilion, which charges $12.50; both charge $9 for kids. It’s too soon to say what the prices would be at the new location, of course. The menu of food and booze is about standard for a Brooklyn restaurant these days, which means $7 draft beer (but $4 High Life and PBR), $12.50 burgers and fancy popcorn for $8.50. The Pavilion itself tried to get fancy in recent years with a menu of crepes, smoothies and paninis.
The response to the news that not only was Park Slope keeping a theater instead of getting more condos (which would have contributed to what is already a condo glut in Brooklyn), but getting a major upgrade to it, was met with a standing ovation on Twitter.
That was a good theater that was allowed to sink into a dump. Glad it won’t just become bed-bug infested condos.
— Dashiell Bennett (@dashbot) September 7, 2016
This is great news. So glad Park Slope will continue to have a movie theater. https://t.co/nEXJNG5XbI
— Amanda Katz (@katzish) September 6, 2016
PARADE IN THE STREETS. NATIONAL HOLIDAY. STATUES BUILT IN ITS HONOR. https://t.co/gVE3An1Nxs
— Matt Patches (@misterpatches) September 6, 2016
If you live in Park Slope, this is maybe the greatest news of all time. https://t.co/DlR6yZ3Mtr
Nitehawk to Open a Second Cinema in Brooklyn
— Gavin Purcell (@gavinpurcell) September 7, 2016
WOW. This is probably the best possible outcome for the Pavilion, huh? https://t.co/G4qIuXhHA5
— Amy Plitt (@plitter) September 7, 2016
ALL MY DREAMS COMING TRUEEEE: https://t.co/jVnhGG9K2D
— emily nussbaum (@emilynussbaum) September 6, 2016