Arnold and Marie Schwartz Athletic Center

Brooklyn – Downtown Brooklyn

Arnold and Marie Schwartz Athletic Center

1 University Plaza (at DeKalb and Flatbush Aves.)
Brooklyn, NY 11201

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It's a gym with a lot of history. Duke Ellington, Bing Crosby and Chuck Berry played here, and it's where the LIU Blackbirds had a 40-year engagement. The Arnold and Marie Schwartz Athletic Center opened in 1928 as the Paramount Theatre, a rococo 4,100-seat palace for movies, vaudeville and live concerts, at the crossroads of downtown Brooklyn. When the golden age of moviegoing passed, the building was saved from the wrecking ball by Long Island University, which converted the theater to a gymnasium, and took over the office space on the floors above. In 2006, LIU teams moved on to newer digs, but the Schwartz Center still hosts occasional events—notably, in recent years, the Gotham Girls Roller Derby. The 10-story-high "Paramount" sign may be gone, but much of the grand space and lobby remains intact, as does the Mighty Wurlitzer organ, whose 26 ranks, 257 stops and 2,000 pipes are lovingly maintained by the New York Theatre Organ Society.

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