Joe Amato, curator for the Wurlitzer 426 pipe organ at Long Island University Brooklyn Paramount Theatre, plays the organ during a groundbreaking ceremony for the building's renovation, Thursday June 21, 2018, in New York. An original 1920s Wurlitzer organ– one of only two of the model ever built, is expected to remain as part of a new entertainment arts venue. "The university wants the organ not only playable, but restored to its original condition," said Amato. "All involved assured me it will be preserved and protected during construction. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Ornate NYC theater, used for years as a gym, to be restored

June 23, 2018 - 10:51 am

NEW YORK (AP) — An ornate New York City theater that's been used for years as a basketball arena is being restored to its former glory.

Developers and politicians announced this week that the historic Paramount Theatre in Brooklyn will be renovated and returned to its roots as a music and entertainment venue.

The French-Baroque-style movie palace opened in 1928 and hosted the likes of Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis and Chuck Berry. It closed in the early 1960s and was turned over to Long Island University, which for years used it as home floor for its Blackbirds basketball team.

Developers celebrated the plan by lowering the basketball scoreboard from the plastered ceilings while a Wurlitzer organ vibrated the floorboards with music. The court and bleachers will be removed to create space for 3,000 seats.

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