“It’s no longer the Pavilion—it’s Nitehawk Prospect Park!” Nitehawk’s PR manager Ashton Pina tells me. He speaks excitedly but with a touch of nothing-to-see-here, please-let’s-move-on finality. “The Pavilion has officially been laid to rest.”
Some would argue that the old Pavilion, Brooklyn’s most notorious pit of bedbugs and worse, died a long time ago, well before it was closed in 2016. But Nitehawk’s one-and-a half-years-plus gut rehab has produced a new space, home to seven state-of-the-art theaters capable of digital projection and 35-millimeter presentations.
“It was a complete wreck,” Pina admits (he’s being diplomatic). “But we did a lot of beautiful work on it.” The largest theater has 194 seats, bigger than the Williamsburg location’s three screening rooms combined.
Attendees should expect a venue that’s more family-friendly than its cooler forebear. At least initially, Nitehawk Prospect Park will focus on a tightly curated selection of first-run titles, like the all-ages Mary Poppins Returns. But the brand’s famous in-theater dining will definitely be a part of the mix, along with those glorious tater tots and cocktails.
“Actually, Matthew Viragh, Nitehawk’s founder, originally came up with the idea by going to the Pavilion—it was one of his neighborhood theaters,” Pina says. “He thought of the concept by sneaking booze into the Pavilion and was, like, ‘Why can’t I drink in theaters?’ That’s essentially how Nitehawk was born, so it’s ironic that we’re going back there.”
Ironic and inspired: Nitehawk Prospect Park joins Metrograph, Alamo Drafthouse and the recently refurbished Quad and Film Forum in a recent wave of local recommitment to the theatrical experience, a new golden age for NYC cinephiles. Streaming is well and good, but if you love going old-school (and going out), you’re living in the right city.
Nitehawk Prospect Park (188 Prospect Park West, nitehawkcinema.com/prospectpark) is now open.