Loews Kings Theatre in Brooklyn — where Barbra Streisand once ushered — will be restored

Posted at 6:57 PM, Jan 23, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-24 00:27:06-05

Despite its wear and tear, its dirt and decay, the inherent beauty of the Loews Kings Theatre on Flatbush Avenue remains. It opened in 1929 as Loews flagship movie palace.

“Down on the left was the last of the Wurlitzer organs, stage rose up as well,” said  Paul Lepelletier, who was an usher here until 1977, when the theater went dark, staying vacant for the next 35 years.

“A piece of me went with it.  Every time I passed the theater I’d blow it a kiss and say ‘Hello old girl.’”

Loews Kings Theater as it looked in its heyday.

Loews Kings Theater as it will look again.

The old girl is about to get a facelift. A plan to restore the 3,200-seat theater  to its former glory came together largely through the efforts of the city’s Economic Development Corp., and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, who went on his first date here.

“This is a dream come true for so many of us,” Markowitz said

Added Mayor Michael Bloomberg:  “This will be the Radio City Music Hall of Brooklyn.”

And the mayor says it will create 50 permanent jobs, and 500 construction jobs.

The Texas-based Ace Theatrical Group is taking on the $93 million project, and construction is expected to begin within a week.  Workers will first have to stabilize the building, which includes removing asbestos and repairing the roof.

“It’s gonna be a movie place on steroids, theater music dance, cultural activities” said Ace’s David Anderson.

These artifacts and remnants are what architects will use to get the French Renaissance look of the original showplace.

Lepelletie  says he was lucky. He never had to turn in his badge, which is now a souvenir that brings back memories of fellow ushers who you’ll recognize.

“I happened to work with one guy he got fired on the first day.  His name is Sylvester Stallone.  Barbra Streisand was an usherette.”

And if Babs can play the Barclays Center, what’s to stop her from returning to the Loews King?