We admit it, we got spoiled. With so many beautifully done, painstaking building restorations at and around Lawrence and Broadway, we figured the rebuilding of the Riviera Theater's facade would measure up to and stand proudly next to:
- the three-year rehab of the Bridgeview Bank building, now nearing completion
- the restoration of the 1910 version of the "Borders Building" that wiped away all traces of the shuttered, shabby Goldblatts
- the rebirth of the Uptown Broadway Building
- the removal of the tacky metal plates covering the "Bank of America" building and the historically accurate revival of the original building below it.
"The workers have installed the new façade at the Riviera Theater. It's not real brick or terra-cotta. It's a paper or plastic wrap designed to look like the original."Say whaaaaa? Are we in Vegas, or Frontier Town at Universal Studios?
We went by to take a look. Seriously, it looks good -- really good -- from street level. We couldn't tell that it was a replication instead of the real thing. But if you compare this photo from May 2008 (below), you can definitely tell things are a lot less 3D than they used to be.
no more diaper on the Riv. The facade has been rebuilt, and it's presumably safer and complies with building codes. To the casual observer, it looks like a complete restoration. That's all good news, very good. We are happy to see the Riv's facade whole and secure again. Our two concerns with the way it's been done:
- How long will it last? The original terra cotta made it from the 1920s into the 21st century with barely a hiccup. How durable are the materials used in this restoration?
- Uptown has already lost some significant parts of its architectural past. We can't say it's a good thing when pictures of our treasured buildings start replacing the actual buildings. At what point does it start becoming Disney's Main Street?