Tonawanda News

Local News

August 8, 2007

NORTH TONAWANDA: Riviera Theatre chandelier crystals damaged in fall

Neil Lange had recently finished cleaning the Riviera Theatre’s crystal chandelier when the fixture encountered a new problem.

Crystals crashed down from the ceiling while the chandelier was being raised to the rafters Tuesday afternoon, causing damages and possibly putting upcoming events in jeopardy, said Lange, chairman of the Riviera Theatre Board of Directors. No one was injured in the accident.

About one-third of the crystals on the chandelier were damaged, Lange said.

“The crystals broke, the chains broke,” he said. “We just picked up a wastebasket-sized amount of crystals.”

The historic North Tonawanda theater is still recovering from smoke damage caused by the June fire on Webster Street, which came as close as the neighboring Dwyer’s Pub. Lange had worked for much of the weekend on cleaning the chandelier’s crystals, he said.

The cable that pulls the chandelier to the roof snagged and tipped the chandelier, sending crystals cascading about 60 feet to the theater floor, Lange said.

“This is what I’m always afraid of, and it happened,” he said.

The chandelier has tipped once before in the past, said Bob Stratiff, a longtime volunteer at the Riviera. Stratiff heard the accident occur Tuesday while he was working in the theater, he said.

“Well, I was thinking, ‘uh-oh,’ ” Stratiff said. “We’ve got to take it down again and fix it all.”

Lange was unsure of damage estimates on Tuesday. Dangling crystals on the chandelier could possibly postpone some events if they’re not fixed in time, he said.

“I don’t know if what’s hanging there now is strong enough,” Lange said.

The Riviera Theatre purchased the chandelier in 1974 for $1,000, Lange said. The chandelier previously hung in Buffalo’s Genesee Theatre.

Contact reporter Phil Dzikiy at 693-1000, ext. 114.

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