For hundreds of years, accomplished architects have created magnificent structures for Brooklynites to behold and enjoy. Many of these older buildings are New York City landmarks, or have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and they have been carefully restored to offer old-time opulence to today’s New Yorkers. Check out some of Brooklyn’s grandest spaces below.
William B. Seymour’s | Several Seconds via Flickr
Weylin B. Seymour’s (Williamsburg)
The Weylin B. Seymour’s building was originally built by the Williamsburgh Savings Bank and served as the bank’s first headquarters. It was designed by prominent architect George B. Post and completed in 1875, with additions to follow, and became a New York City landmark in 1966.
William B. Seymour’s via Facebook
Its original cast-iron dome, featuring an interior mural designed by Peter B. Wight, rises a sweeping 110 feet above intricate mosaic flooring. In 2010, Brooklyn hostel owner Juan Figueroa bought the Williamsburgh Savings Bank building—then in significant disrepair—from HSBC for $4.5 million. He invested another $27 million into restoring it to its former glory. Even the building’s Otis birdcage elevator—one of just a handful left in New York City—was once again made operational.
The building was renamed after legendary socialite, party host, and matchmaker Weylin B. Seymour — a fictional character inspired by the bank’s ubiquitous “WSB” monograms — and was reopened to the public as a luxurious events venue in 2014. The former bank now hosts film and fashion shoots, music performances, private parties, weddings, and nonprofit and corporate events.
Kings Theatre | Jim Henderson via Wikipedia
Kings Theatre (Flatbush)
Kings Theatre first opened as a movie and live performance venue in 1929 as one of the five original Loew’s Wonder Theatres. Architects Rapp & Rapp and interior designer Harold W. Rambusch modeled the ornate venue after the Palace of Versailles and the Paris Opera House.
Renovated interior of Kings Theatre | Moucheraud via Wikipedia
Over the years, the theater fell into disrepair and eventually closed in 1977. However, in 2010 ACE Theatrical Group was selected to oversee its restoration—a $95 million project. Today, Kings Theatre looks much as it did when it originally opened—with massive chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, ornamental plaster, and vintage carpet—while being able to offer new state-of-the-art staging, lighting, and sound systems.
The venue reopened to the general public in 2015 with a performance by Diana Ross. Recent acts include Wilco, Erykah Badu, and the musical Annie. See here for upcoming shows.
The Grand Prospect Hall via Yelp
The Grand Prospect Hall (Park Slope)
The Grand Prospect Hall was designed by Ulrich J. Huberty—also responsible for Prospect Park’s Boathouse and Litchfield Villa—and built by John Kolle in 1892. It was conceived as an opulent meeting ground for Brooklyn’s elite, and the final product did not disappoint.
The Grand Prospect Hall via Yelp
The lobby features ornate marble and granite. Paneling is made from mahogany and oak, and weighty crystal chandeliers hang from the ceiling. An expansive ballroom and opera house make up the hall’s major draw.
From the time of its inception, politicians, performers, and distinguished guests made use of the venue. During Prohibition, Al Capone frequented the hall’s speakeasy. Lena Horne sang there as a teenager.
In 1981, Alice and Michael Halkias bought the Grand Prospect Hall, which currently hosts weddings, private parties, and film and fashion shoots. Portions of The Cotton Club and Prizzi’s Honor were filmed there. In 2015, the owners also reopened the hall’s original Venetian garden to the public, now known as the Brooklyn Bavarian Biergarten.
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