Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Welding Spark Causes Fire at Bronx Theater

Nov 5, 2012 - Bronx, New York.  FDNY rolled multiple fire-fighting units on Monday in response to smoke and fire at the historic landmark Paradise Theater.  The fire resulted from welding sparks that entered an air duct as work was being done to restore the 1929 venue.  Fire crews remained on the scene for several hours to ensure that the fire did not restart due to overlooked pockets that might be hidden in walls or other building voids.  Most of the damage to the building is thought to be smoke related, with some water damage.

Bronx Paradise Theater - Photo Credit: Niko J. Kallianiotis for The New York Times

The 4000 seat Paradise Theater is one of the last Atmospheric theaters that employed a dark blue ceiling to create the effect of an open night sky above the audience.  Originally designed and used for both Vaudeville shows and cinema, the interior of both the lobby and the audience chamber is ornate.  The elaborate wall murals that portray Italian Baroque buildings extend across the painted fire curtain.  More history of the building can be found at: http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/900.

The auditorium is the second largest in New York, only smaller than Radio City Music Hall, and the 23rd largest auditorium ever built in the country.  It was designed by John Eberson, who was one of the most prominent theater designers in the United States and inventor of the Atmospheric style, the theater sought to transport visitors to an outdoor Baroque Italian garden of marble pillars, cypress trees, plaster replications of Michelangelo sculptures, vines, stuffed birds, and even a goldfish pond.  With a painted ceiling of stars bearing the constellation of Marcus Loews' birth sign and a smoke machine producing simulated clouds, viewers felt they were sitting under an evening sky. The result was a multi-sensory movie experience, an escape.  According to Eberson, the auditorium was "a magnificent amphitheatre under a glorious moonlit sky where friendly stars twinkled and wisps of cloud drifted."  Additional descriptions of the theater can be found at: www.placematters.net/node/1310 and:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradise_Theater_%28Bronx,_New_York%29

No comments:

Post a Comment