Loew's Pitkin Theatre

1501 Pitkin Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11212

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Showing 226 - 250 of 289 comments

Denpiano on November 16, 2005 at 8:53 am

PKoch, I lived on Pacific Street between Saratoga & Hopkinson until I was 11 yrs.old. My family went shopping on Pitkin Ave. many times.
They would buy all my suits accross from the Pitkin Theatre & I also recall a guy on the corner who sold coconut drinks. He was easy to remember because he had fake heads with faces & sticks in the noses that scared the heck out of me! (ha,ha)Funny Now! I went to the Pitkin many times and as I said previously ,I was quite impressed even as a young man. It was a very nice area up until we moved in 1963. I don’t remember what a bad area looked like at the age of 11,
to me the Theatre was all I could think about. A couple of years ago, my friend claimed he found the Morton organ console at a guys house that was selling organ parts, he wanted to buy it for me but said it was in bad condition. I guess the “mystery” of these great houses is what kept me interested in theatres till this day.

PKoch on November 15, 2005 at 10:33 am

Warren, thanks for the correction on Loew’s 175th Street.

BTW, I tend to picture you as resembling the actor Everett Sloane when I read your posts.

Denpiano, thanks for disclosing your age. You’re welcome to my descriptions. Most of my childhood movie experience was at the RKO Madison and Ridgewood Theaters, which also have pages on this site.

I, too, often looked away from the movie screen while there. What I noticed most were the balcony box seats off to both sides of the screen, the design of the ceiling, which reminded me of gathered drapes and the planet Saturn seen from below, and, at the RKO Madison, a luminous clock on the wall to the left of the screen, which was bright enough to be read but not so bright as to distract from the screen.

So your early movie-going was to the Pitkin, not Loew’s Jersey City. I think there are links on this page to how the interior of the Pitkin used to look, and how the exterior looks now.

The only movie theater pipe organ I heard as a kid was at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan.

Your contribution to this page is valuable, because you experienced the Pitkin in its last few years before it closed. Please elaborate on your memories of what Brownsville was like, 1959-1961.

A friend of mine used to live on Georgia Avenue, near Livonia Avenue, about that time, before she and her family moved to near the Avenue U station on the Brighton Line.

Some time toward the end of the 1930’s, my dad, who was from Bushwick, dated a gal who lived near Pitkin and Pennsylvania Avenues, and went to Loew’s Pitkin with her. He remembers it as a beautiful theater.

Denpiano on November 14, 2005 at 3:15 pm

PKoch- I don’t usually give my age away, however, what the heck! I’m 53.. Thanks for your description of the 3-D banner and the “movie theatre smell” you describe. I remember it well, I went to the Pitkin quite a few times between 1959-1961. As I described in an earlier comment, I really never looked at the movie, I would look around at everything else that the eye could see in the dark. I remember asking to see the orchestra pit, but the usher would'nt let me “Down There” !! I was quite upset to say the least, but, after all, I was a little kid with no clout. I wish I could have heard the Morton pipe organ, that would have been neat. I understand it was quite powerful for its size due to larger scaling of the pipework.
An older friend of mine described it as sounding really good.

PKoch on November 14, 2005 at 4:35 am

Denpiano, your description of the Jersey reads a lot like Loews Valencia, the Queens Wonder Theater of which the Loew’s Jersey was one. The others were the 168th St. Theater in Manhattan, where Rev. Ike used to have his services, Loew’s Paradise in The Bronx, mentioned in the 1955 Academy Award-winning film, “Marty”, and Loew’s Kings on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, which has a page on this site, but which I think is still a rotting, unused hulk.

How old are you, Denpiano ? I will turn fifty on this coming Thursday, the 17th. I remember MelloRol soft ice cream cones also, and the blue, white and yellow three-D icicled block letters on the horizontal banner out front, advertising “HEALTHFULLY AIR CONDITIONED CONDITIONED”, and that inviting universal movie theater smell beckoning the customers.

You read like you’re due for a visit to the Jersey in Jersey City. Unlike the other four Loew’s Wonder Theaters, it’s still showing movies !!! Not sitting forlorn in poor condition at all !

Ov vey iz mir, I’m not sure what condition Loew’s Pitkin is in now.

Denpiano on November 12, 2005 at 6:01 pm

It really saddens me to see this old childhood friend in such poor condition. I was a little fellow in the late 50’s but do remember this theatre as a beautiful ( and incredibly cold in summer) theatre.
We would walk up to the box office on a summer day to see Jerry Lewis as the Bellboy and the cold air coming from inside was simply incredible! In to the theatre we would go , my parents would buy me a mellow roll? ice cream, and into the auditorium we would go.
I remember missing a lot of the film because I was looking at all the
statues on the sides and the blue ceiling. Do I recall a blue lit cove under the balcony when sitting in the back of the orchestra section? What a great place, I feel honored to have seen such great architecture and design!

PKoch on October 31, 2005 at 8:01 am

Miracles DO happen. Witness the renewal of Loew’s Jersey in Jersey City !

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 31, 2005 at 7:59 am

Jack McCarthy… of course. Good point about the lobby, PKoch. Of course, better still that the whole building be preserved and used as originally intended, but those days are gone. While a few of these magnificent showplaces might have been successfully saved and returned to theatrical use – or at least public space – the days are long gone when one can expect every abandoned 2800 seat theater be restored to former glory. Particularly those situated in residential neighborhoods. If there is no church in need of a space that large, what else can be done with such a structure, unless it is in a viable “downtown” area? This City has already pounded into dust all the viable old palaces it had in the Times Square and mid-town area. Those that remain on the fringes that are not already occupied and cared for by one church or another (Loew’s Valencia, Regent, Loew’s 175th Street, etc) hang on thin threads of hope. So far, the Loew’s Paradise in The Bronx seems to be the only one to break from that paradigm. Only time will tell what kind of a run the Paradise will have in the 21st Century. My fingers are crossed.

PKoch on October 31, 2005 at 6:56 am

That would have been Jack McCarthy, EdSolero. Eugene McCarthy aspired to the Democratic presidential candidacy in 1968. He had the support of many young people to the tune of “Be clean for Gene”, but lost out to Hubert Humphrey, who of course lost the election to Nixon.

Thanks for the Honeymooners Loews Pitkin reference !

“What a pity to think that lobby has been gutted for retail space!”

Yes, but better retail space than vacant, with winos and homeless squatting there, criminal element lurking there, or a shooting gallery for junkies.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 31, 2005 at 6:45 am

I remember watching Officer Joe Bolton on Channel 11 when I was a boy. And who was it that hosted Popeye on WNEW, Eugene McCarthy? I remember years later he was the Grand Marshall of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on 5th Avenue. Does anyone remember the episode of The Honeymooners where Ralph and Norton are in the house of a deceased rich dowager who has just left “her fortune” to Ralph… and Norton comments that the place is “even nicer than the lobby at the Loew’s Pitkin!”

What a pity to think that lobby has been gutted for retail space!

PKoch on October 31, 2005 at 5:54 am

I remember WPIX’s “Officer” Joe Bolton as the host of the Three Stooges show on Channel 11 very well, cautioning viewers not to attempt their stunts.

It was a big leap from that innocence to a teenage boy tragically and accidentally killing himself about a dozen years later in emulation of rock star Alice Cooper mock-hanging himself on stage.

RobertR on October 28, 2005 at 2:26 pm

Look on the side of the Loew’s block ad. The Three Stooges were playing a childrens matinee along with WPIX’s Officer Joe Bolton. New Yorkers will remember his character as the host of the Three Stooges show on channel 11. They also had shorts and cartoons on the bill. When the Stooges started making movies again and appeared in person at theatres Officer Joe was with them many times.
View link

PKoch on July 25, 2005 at 7:51 am

Beautiful ! Would you please define, or, better yet, provide an example of, the typical Ebersonian theater auditorium ? Thanks.

HerbS on July 12, 2005 at 8:59 am

In response to Muray’s 4/19 comment regarding Irvcohen’s posting of 3/24, the theatre in question was the Palace not the Premier. Click Palace theatre in the index to see some ineresting posts, also one about the Parkway theatre which I was writing about ealier today.

RobertR on July 1, 2005 at 3:16 pm

This film opened in almost every Loew’s theatre in Brooklyn
View link

muray on April 19, 2005 at 5:35 pm

irvcohen, the Loew’s Premier (without the “e” at the end), was not behind the Pitkin, but located about a mile away in the East New York section of Brooklyn at Sutter and Snediker Aves. It was a good size place with a balcony and showed films one week after it played the Pitkin. Joey Adams was the Emcee at some of their stage presentations since he lived in the neighborhood. I remember a catering establishment in the same building. I would like to hear from others who can give information regarding the Premier.

PeterKoch on April 18, 2005 at 9:50 am

My father explained to me yesterday that “The Prince Of Pitkin Avenue” was merely an expression, and did not denote any one real person, or persons.

celluloid on April 15, 2005 at 10:46 pm

As a kid, I was always fascinated with this theatre even though it closed long before I was born. I do remember the skeleton of the marquee was still up until the early 80’s

PeterKoch on April 13, 2005 at 10:41 am

Thanks for mentioning that, hardbop. I love that film.

Any idea who “The Prince Of Pitkin Avenue” may have been, other than Crystal or his brother in the film ?

hardbop on April 13, 2005 at 10:16 am

There is a reference to this theatre in Billy Crystal’s “Mr. Saturday Night” (1992). I wasn’t sure if the Pitkin reference was fictional or real when mentioned, but this where Crystal and his brother in the film, David Paymer, got their start.

PeterKoch on March 31, 2005 at 3:52 pm

Oh, that’s beautiful, Matt ! Thanks so much for posting that link !

irvcohen on March 24, 2005 at 1:16 am

Wasn’t there a Loew’s theatre attached to the back of the Pitkin? The “Premiere” or something like that? My dad started as a usher for Loew’s at the Pitkin and I think his first Assistant Manager’s job was at the Premiere? Help.

lostbrooklyn on March 14, 2005 at 11:00 pm

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PeterKoch on February 22, 2005 at 10:14 am

I can imagine that today it would be hell, yes !

A Hispanic friend of mine recounted to me in the early ‘80’s how scared he was in the '70’s getting off the IRT elevated at Pennsylvania and Livonia late at night to visit his older brother in East New York.

chconnol on February 22, 2005 at 9:39 am

My wife’s Uncle recounted once how it was no big deal to ride the subway home to Brownsville at 3:00 in the morning in the 40s and 50s. Can you imagine that today? Hell, no.