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Prospect Park Nitehawk Delays Opening to Preserve 'Very Cool' Architecture

By Caroline Spivack | August 1, 2017 3:34pm | Updated on August 2, 2017 8:36am
 The Pavilion Theater in Park Slope is being transformed into the Nitehawk Prospect Park, the second location for Williamsburg's Nitehawk Cinema.
The Pavilion Theater in Park Slope is being transformed into the Nitehawk Prospect Park, the second location for Williamsburg's Nitehawk Cinema.
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DNAinfo/Caroline Spivack

PARK SLOPE — Nitehawk Cinemas has pushed back the opening date to early 2018 for its Prospect Park location after workers uncovered "original pieces" at the nearly century old theater, a company representative said Tuesday.

The renovated theater was expected to open its doors to film aficionados this fall, but builders are aiming for the winter of 2018 after updating their designs to include the rediscovered hidden gems.

It's an extra step the movie house is happy to take if it means highlighting the building's history, said a representative for Nitehawk.

"We wanted to make sure we maintained the integrity of the original structure," wrote Alexa Harrison in an emailed statement. "In the process, we actually uncovered some very cool original pieces and have been working to adjust our designs to incorporate and capitalize on those interesting design details." 

Among the unexpected finds are original balconies hidden between the ceiling and floor of the building's first and second stories. Harrison would not elaborate on other recovered details.

Perched on the westernmost corner of Prospect Park at Prospect Park West and Bill Thomas Sr. Lane, the theater debuted as a 1,516-seat movie house in 1928. But after decades of neglect it shuttered in 1978 and reopened as the Pavilion in 1996. 

Locals long decried the decline of the theater with online reviews that complained of malfunctioning air conditioners and dirty screens. Then owners fought bedbug rumors in 2011 and a lack of heating forced customers to chill out during screenings in 2013.

But with Nitehawk taking over locals are looking forward to a 650-seat boutique movie theater with a restaurant and a sprawling bar atrium overlooking Prospect Park.

Kona, a bedbug sniffing dog, swept through the building and declared the space bedbug free, Harrison said.

The theater will be Nitehawk's second location — with the first is in Williamsburg — and is spending a whopping $10 million to gut and trick out the space, according to Nitehawk.

Fears that the theater would turn into yet another luxury tower were quashed last year after the developer sold the property.

READ MORE: Park Slope Pavilion's Marquee Gets Poetic During Nitehawk Renovation