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Fire Badly Damages Paradise Theater, a Bronx Landmark

 

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A fire at the landmark Paradise Theater in the Bronx on Monday evening caused heavy damage to the opulent 83-year-old building, the Fire Department said.

The fire burned for nearly an hour and a half before being brought under control just after 5 p.m. More than 100 firefighters responded to the blaze, in which two people suffered minor injuries, the department said.

The cause of the fire and extent of the damage was not immediately clear.

The five-story Loew’s Paradise, a baroque-style masterpiece by the architect John Eberson that was the centerpiece of Bronx night life for decades, opened in 1929 at 2403 Grand Concourse at East 184th Street. It hosted acts like George Burns, Cab Calloway and Bob Hope, said Lloyd Ultan, the Bronx borough historian.

The theater went through a period of slow decay beginning in the 1970s. It closed in 1994, and sat vacant for years. It was restored, and reopened in 2005, its elaborate terra-cotta facade and vaulted, filigreed interior symbolizing a kind of rebirth of the Bronx.

“It’s part of a general revival of the Bronx that’s been going on for a decade and a half now,” Mr. Ultan said on Monday. “It is a piece not only of theater history, but of architectural history as well.”

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