Loew's Pitkin Theatre

1501 Pitkin Avenue,
Brownsville,
Brooklyn, NY 11212

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LuisV
LuisV on July 30, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Here is an article that I just found:

Showtime for School in Rundown Brownsville Theater
East | 7.29.10 | Matt Chaban

Where Al Joelson once performed, students will soon learn. (Courtesy POKO Partners)
Like many outlying parts of the city, Brownsville fell hard from its turn-of-the-century grandeur, with decaying reminders of its former greatness. Among them is the Loews Pitkin Theater, once home to the likes of Jackie Gleason, Milton Berle, Humphrey Bogart, and Al Joelson’s last performance, as well as thousands of eager movie goers. The building has been closed since 1969â€"until last week, when a ground breaking was held for a new charter school and retail complex. Curbed and Brownstoner were among those in attendance, and they got some pretty amazing pictures of the building’s decrepit interiors (see some after the jump). We’ve since been sent the above rendering by the developers, POKO Partners, who are working with Kitchen & Associates, a firm based in Collingswood, New Jersey on the renovation.

Something tells us they should have no trouble finding space for an auditorium. (Will Femia/Courtesy Curbed) According to POKO, the project will mesh what remains of the building’s sumptuous Art Deco interiors with high-tech, sustainable features, creating something at once historic and cutting edge. The base of the building will house some 70,000 square feet of retail with a 90,000-square-foot, 1,100-seat elementary and middle school above, run by Ascend Learning. The project is expected to be completed in the next 18 months. “The Loews Pitkin Theater is exciting because it embodies POKO¹s core values of revitalizing neighborhoods and enhancing communities through positive and responsible real estate development,” POKO President and CEO Ken Olson said in a release.

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on July 26, 2010 at 8:27 am

Here’s some more interior pictures.

View link

It’s been cleaned out.

ron1screen
ron1screen on July 22, 2010 at 6:03 pm

This is good news, the interior by the look of the photos is a total wreak. The roof is missing and the elements have taken their toll. At least the exterior will be cleaned and preserved and that is great. Much better than demolition which is usually the case with old buildings whose interiors have rotted away.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on July 15, 2010 at 10:51 am

That is good news a school instead of the apartments they talked about building at one time.At least it will not be torn down.

LuisV
LuisV on July 15, 2010 at 8:12 am

John, thanks for your comment. I was about the express the very same sentiment. Nowhere in the article does it say how the school will be incorporated into the site, but I assume it will be done in the same way as the RKO Bushwick. The Pitkin exterior is still beautiful and should be preserved. Unfortunately, from what I have read, the interior is just to far gone for any restoration. Overall, this is great news for the old Pitkin.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on July 15, 2010 at 6:12 am

Thanks for posting the newspaper article and that great link. It really provides a comprehenhive picture of the old Pitkin that I do not believe appears, in a unified format, anywhere else on this page.

The charter school story is great news for both the Pitkin and the Brownsville community. I would also hope that the renovation work will attempt to restore, to the extent possible, Lamb’s exterior facade. This is exactly what occurred when the old Bushwick was converted into another charter school. (The interior, which is probably a total shambles anyway, will almost certainly have to be gutted to accommodate the classroom facility.)

So, best of luck to this very exciting venture!

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on July 14, 2010 at 11:48 pm

This webpage has a number of photos of Loew’s Pitkin; my apologies if any of them have been posted before: View link

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on July 14, 2010 at 11:38 pm

This once fabulous theater is now slated to house a charter school, with retail operations at street level: View link

LuisV
LuisV on May 18, 2010 at 4:40 pm

I forgot to add The Apollo and The Beacon as performing arts centers. Also, While Loews Jersey does indeed continue to show movies, they also have live concerts, shows and even wedding receptions in their beautiful lobby. The only single screen movie theaters to survive in Manhattan are the Ziegfeld and The Paris; The Ziegfeld has a long term cheap lease on the theater and The Paris is owned by a billionaire who presumably loves keeping The Paris as a cherished part of New York theater history.

LuisV
LuisV on May 18, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Thanks Cwalczak for posting the picture anew. It shows just how spectacular Loews Pitkin was. Unfortunately, you can only save so many theaters. None of the old palaces have survived to this day showing films. They have had to find other uses: Churches (Loews Metropolitan, Loews Valencia, Loews 175th Street, Loews Gates, The Elmwood, The Hollywood and The Stanley to name a few. Some reverted to live theater; most spectacularly among them The New Amsterdam. Some became performing arts centers like Radio City, Loews Paradise and The St. George and soon the Loews Kings.
Sadly, others have been converted to Retail while wiping out most of the original architectural details (many examples) and even a gymnasium (The Brooklyn Paramount). The RKO Keiths Richmond Hill is virtually intact and remarkably survives as a flea market! The Loews Pitkin, though among the most beautiful theaters ever built in the city, is simply too far gone to restore to almost anything and is located in an area that just wouldn’t support a use that has been successful elsewhere. There are other theaters that are better to focus on: The RKO Keiths Flushing, The Ridgewood, The Jackson and the Loews Cana and The Brooklyn Paramount! We need to focus on those with the best chances to survive and, sadly, the Loews Pitkin is not in that category.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on May 18, 2010 at 4:00 pm

This picture of the interior has been posted before, but the previous links do not seem to work: View link

Denpiano
Denpiano on May 18, 2010 at 3:26 pm

guess i’m dreaming

Denpiano
Denpiano on May 18, 2010 at 3:23 pm

my cousin &I were reminicing about this palace&how beautiful it was in the late50’s&early60’s, whats its fate now? low income housing seems really sad for this monument to entertainment what a shame!
where are the people that could restore it? guess i’m creaming

Brad Smith
Brad Smith on April 24, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Thank you, Tinseltoes. I will update the caption to reflect this fact.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on April 24, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Another wonderful photo, Brad, though it is a side street view of the marquee, the main portion of which fronted on Pitkin Avenue.

Brad Smith
Brad Smith on April 24, 2010 at 9:27 am

Click here for photograph taken of Loew’s Pitkin Theatre in 1930 by George Mann of the comedy dance team, Barto & Mann.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on April 5, 2010 at 7:34 am

The Parway/Rolland was never listed because it never showed movies. Some descriptions of the theatre claim that it didn’t even have a projection booth. It was strictly a playhouse until being onverted to a church.

Bway
Bway on April 5, 2010 at 3:42 am

There is no listing for the Parkway or Rolland Theater on the site here, did it show film? It should be added if anyone knows any more information about it, and if it showed film.

William
William on March 25, 2010 at 6:04 pm

If the address is 1768 Saint Johns Place, that would make it the Parkway Theatre (at on time the Rolland Theatre). It operated from 1927-1956. There was also another Parkway Theatre in Brooklyn which changed it’s name to the Metro Theatre 6409 20th. Ave. Brooklyn.

Bway
Bway on March 25, 2010 at 4:45 pm

If you pan the aerial image slightly over to St John’s Place, I noticed there is another theater in this image:

View link

Further Research determines that is now the Holy House of Prayer for All People, and that it once was the Parkway Theater. Is this on the site? I can’t seem to find it, did it show film?

Here’s a street view of the theater.

View link

Any information on it would be appreciated.

William
William on March 25, 2010 at 10:42 am

If page up to Life’s too short’s post from May 21, 2007 and look at the link for the roof. And look at Ed Solero’s post from May 23rd, 2007 of his link for the roof. And match that with Bwy’s post of Mar.4th 2010, and you will see just how much worse the roof has gotten in 3 years.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on March 25, 2010 at 9:41 am

Jesus. It’s gotten much, much worse since the last time I took a look at an aerial image. This would have been a year or two ago.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on March 5, 2010 at 8:23 am

i thought they were going to build low-income apartments in this building any word on that?

Bway
Bway on March 4, 2010 at 6:54 pm

There is no saving the Loews Pitkin…..I don’t know how old this bing maps image is, but if you look closely, you will see that the entire roof is now open to the elements, it’s probably full sunlight inside of the theater at this point. It was reported above that the plaster ceiling has already collapsed, and the walls are probably just as bad. Water freely flows through the building, as seen in this aerial image of the theater, which is probably a couple years old already. Sad.
Does anyone have any vintage images of the interior? None of the links above seem to work. A more current one would be welcome too, but I am sure no one has been in there recently. Any interior photos would be appreciated.

Click here for aerial image….it’s a sight…