Chas. J. Weinstein and The Loew’s Kings Theater in Brooklyn

I got a call from a friend of mine who’s bidding on the restoration of one of the massive old movie palaces in New York City. The Loew’s Kings Theater opened in Brooklyn in 1929 with marble, crystal, velvet, and bronze furnishings and headlined major releases until it was closed in the 1970s. It has been crumbling in the decades since. Recently, a new roof, a big infusion of funding, including millions from NYCDEC, and an operating partner promise that the theater will reopen as a an arts space hosting 200-250 performances a year. Completion is several years out.

When I scrolled through the images of the theater online I notice (of course) the huge lighting fixtures still floating overhead. They are very similar, if not identical, to some which were made by Chas. J. Weinstein & Co, Inc. of New York in the 1920s and 30s. I happen to have one of their old catalogs.

The scale of the fixtures pictured and described in the catalog, some hitting 11’ diameter by 12’ in height, makes it seem as if the market was strictly theaters and ballrooms. Those dimensions are larger than a lot of peoples’ studio apartments.

We have a pair of lanterns from this company in inventory. While I always thought they were the largest and most grand things I had ever seen, they now seem kind of modest… perfectly scaled for a small New York apartment.

-David Calligeros

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