Coronavirus in NYC: Brooklyn’s Grand Prospect Corridor proprietor dies

Michael Halkias, owner of the legendary, eclectic Park Slope event space Grand Prospect Hall, has died of COVID-19. He was 82 years old. Greek publication Anamniseis reported the news first.

Halkias and his wife Alice Halkias have owned the renowned hall at 263 Prospect Avenue between Fifth and Sixth Avenues since 1981. Many New Yorkers were familiar with the duo through a memorable television commercial in Grand Prospect Hall, where the couple was featured and broadcast non-stop on local channels across the metropolitan area for years. Saturday Night Live even parodied the commercial in 2019.

“He was a man with a great vision and an even bigger heart,” Senator Andrew Gounardes tweeted Wednesday night. “And of course he made dreams come true for the thousands of people who celebrated in his hall.”

The opulent, over-the-top space, built in 1892, is a National Historic Landmark and, according to the building’s website, the first electrified commercial building in Brooklyn. American Express shot a commercial in the room, fashion magazine Vogue staged a photo shoot there, and Grand Prospect Hall has been featured in films like The Royal Tenenbaums and Francis Ford Coppola’s Cotton Club. It also served as a well-known music venue, hosting a variety of festivals and concerts, including Arcade Fire’s fifth album release party in 2017.

In 2015, the couple opened the Brooklyn Bavarian beer garden, a seasonal German-American restaurant and an outdoor bar next to the event space. The spacious beer garden has a waterfall, terraces and enough space for 500 people in the garden. An additional “glass house” inside offers space for another 500 people.

New York’s restaurant and hospitality industry has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Long-time industry leaders, including top chef Floyd Cardoz and Joseph Migliucci, the owner of the legendary Bronx restaurant Mario’s with red sauce, have died in recent weeks as a result of the novel coronavirus.

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