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Chocolate Factory Theater gets new, ‘permanent’ home in LIC

Permanent home (GMaps)

Aug. 7, 2017 by Nathaly Pesantez

The Chocolate Factory Theater, an award-winning experimental performance center that has been operating out of rented space in Hunters Point since 2005, has bought a building in the Dutch Kills section of Long Island City, ending a years-long search to find a permanent home.

The location, at just over 7,500 square-feet, will be at 38-29 24th Street, near the Museum of the Moving Image and United Artists Kaufman Cinemas. The space is 5,000-square-feet larger than the building it rents at 5-49 49th Avenue, according to building records.

“It’s been a very, very long process,” Sheila Lewandowski, co-founder and executive director of the Chocolate Factory Theater said. “There was no one phone call, there was no one funding source.”

The first streams of funding came from former Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, followed by Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and then by current Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Lewandowski said. The building was purchased for $3.8 million, according to the Times.

“The Department of Cultural Affairs and the Economic Development Corporation were incredible in helping us negotiate this,” Lewandowski said.

Lewandowski said she became aware of the building after a real estate broker called her on a whim three years ago, asking if she knew of an arts group that would be interested in occupying the space—not knowing that she was already deep in search for a potential facility.

The new venue, which has taken years to find, was a milestone moment for Lewandowski and her team.

“I cried—a number of people cried,” Lewandowski said. “It was very emotional.”

Lewandowski does not have a date for the big move yet, as the new location will need to be revamped. It will, however, be used as rehearsal space in the meantime.

“Queens is the place for innovation and creativity,” Lewandowski said. “So we’re psyched.”

The Chocolate Factory Theater, an Obie-award winning venue, has hosted artists specializing in an array of disciplines, including dance, music, and drama, through residency packages that include salary and a spaces for multiple weeks at a time.

For information on the current season and upcoming news on the new venue, visit the Chocolate Factory Theater site.

Current location (Photo source: NYCGO)


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The FAKE MRLIC wrote the 3 Posts above:on August 8, 2017. The times were 10:35 am–4:23pm—& 7:03 pm. I don’t know why anyone would think it’s me with the lunacy that he writes.


What gets called art today is beyond me. Men and women covering their bodies in chocolate and prancing around nude in front of an audience that paid to watch something of this nature is ridiculous. This place is a laughable excuse for art. Bring back the pinball machines and peep shoes!

your neighbor

Good for them, great long term investment in the future of their organization.

I wouldn’t say that 24 Street and 38 Ave is “near” the Museum of Moving Image or the Kaufman multiplex though unless one of the new citibike stations is nearby.


Great more HIPSTERS buying up land for Big Art so they can produce more pink bubblegum sculptures that cost half a million!!!!! I bet Jimmy Van LAMER is behind it!!1!!1 7,500 sq ft could fit so many bowling alleys, why does R. Kelly need ANOTHER Chocolate Factory?!

your neighbor

MRLIC – the man who loves the neighborhood and loves bowling but doesn’t ever pull the cash out of his mattress to build one himself. Plenty of real estate available in the area, I think it would be awesome if you did.


your neighbor– I can’t because these GREEDY developers have driven up property values by building luxury condos instead of things we could really use like bowling alleys and rehab centers. Also MRSLIC took the money I set aside for a personal bowling alley in the divorce.


You were not speaking to the REAL MRLIC. I just wanted you to know that. There were 3 posts from the FAKE MRLIC about The Chocolate Factory. Why this person does this is beyond me.


I agree that space is a waste of money and energy considering that it appeals to a very few and small niche of people– should be combined with an educational program.


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