Downtown Brooklyn

First look: Brooklyn Paramount glimmers with the combined splendor of past and present

March 27, 2024 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
The new Paramount Theater in Downtown Brooklyn.
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DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN – Ahead of the Brooklyn Paramount’s official reopening on Wednesday night, roughly a thousand guests on Tuesday got a sneak preview of the majestic theater at the corner of Flatbush and Dekalb avenues.

Masterful lighting brings each attention to detail to life throughout the venue.

The freshly renovated edifice, bedecked in state of the art lighting, audio and visual technology, plush curtains, and high finishes, seemed to glow in the awe-infused air of the gathering guests. The building, basking in its restored glory, felt as if it relished the opportunity to remind people of its hallowed past after reawakening from a restorative sleep. Indeed, when the original Paramount Theater opened in 1928, with red velvet seats, grand chandeliers, and fountains teeming with live fish, it was a New York City icon and home to some of the definitive acts of the jazz age including Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald.

To see it last night, one would never believe that until recently, the building’s latest iteration was as a gymnasium for Long Island University, complete with a full length basketball court.

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A variety of gathering spaces are found throughout the venue.

But now thanks to a partnership between Live Nation and Long Island University, patrons are greeted at the front door by a marquee sign announcing the venue that seems timeless yet presents fresh. And after ducking through a humble entrance from the cacophonic sounds of Flatbush Avenue, visitors emerge into a splendid lobby with a celestial lighting installation, a grand staircase leading to a deep carpeted balcony level, and a ground floor bar area that looked like it could serve many hundreds of guests comfortably.

The venue boasts more bars than one could easily count, from the lobby to the main venue room and at nooks and crannies in between.

A more intimate gathering area in a balcony level lounge.

The main theater hall is a cavernous, 1,700-person venue, adorned with delightful ornamentation preserved from the original theater. A venue, unlike any other throughout the borough, in that it boosts tasteful elements of historic preservation like its Vaudevillian cousin the King’s Theater in Flatbush. But with modern amenities like VIP areas seamlessly nestled into the main hall. And ample, intimate spaces for quite interludes with companions, like Ella’s Lounge on the balcony level that pays homage to the “Queen of Jazz” through a private entrance that the venue website describes as “an environment marked by beauty, extravagance and exemplary service.”

The main stage seating area that appears designed to dynamically adjust to event demands.

The revamped Paramount has already announced an extensive calendar of events for 2024, beginning with The Marley Brothers Wednesday, followed by top talent acts ranging from Sean Paul to Norah Jones to Fivio Foreign to Sting. This self-proclaimed “palace of entertainment” — complete with a “multi-genre sensory spectacle of state-of-the-art sound” — aims to wow Brooklyn audiences in the months and years to come.

The Main Theater Hall.

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