Fortway Theatre

6720 Fort Hamilton Parkway,
Brooklyn, NY 11219

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Showing 26 - 50 of 113 comments

BroWCarey
BroWCarey on March 12, 2007 at 1:22 am

I noticed the theater closed last year, when I returned to my old neighborhood for the first time in at least a decade. I live across the street from the Fortway, at the corner of 67th, in a 4th floor apartment. This was in the 60’s. My little brother and I went to the movies most Saturday afternoons. They made us sit in the “kids' section” and those cranky “matrons” were always shining their flashlights in our faces! I remember seeing Al Lewis and Murray the K there. (They had actually advertised that all the Munsters would be there, in costume, and only Al Lewis showed up, without costume or makeup.) Everyone in the theater was screaming so loud, that I doubt anyone heard a word either man said. I miss the old neighborhood. My mother worked at the A&P, and I used to go to the candy store (Louie’s)directly across from the theater for a chocolate egg cream whenever I could scrape together enough money.

BoxOfficeBill
BoxOfficeBill on February 9, 2007 at 12:59 pm

Excellent, Warren— both films played at our treasured Loew’s Alpine upon their original release. After touring through Loew’s Ray Ridge and the RKO Shore Road, they went to the Harbor and then to the Fortway. Last stop after that was the Stanley. Low on the food-chain in those days, the Fortway remained the penultimate survivor of the bunch.
Footnote: the RKO Shore Road itself is entwined with a Chinese destiny. Next door to it (originally east of it, in the mid-fifties moving to a new location a few doors west of it) was a Chinese restaurant named the “Shore Road.” The kitchen staff used to take cigarette breaks in the alley and backyard adjacent to the theater. When the RKO theater closed in 1951, part of the space was converted to a catering facility; in later days (the ‘70s, that space itself became a new chinese restaurant. History runs in cycles. to

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 9, 2007 at 11:38 am

On opening day, the Great Wall Supermarket should sponsor free screenings of “The Good Earth” and “Dragon Seed” at the Alpine, which, due to the closing of the Fortway, is now the neighborhood’s only cinema.

Cosmopolite
Cosmopolite on February 9, 2007 at 9:18 am

Today’s Daily News reports the theatre will become the Great Wall Supermarket featuring Chinese specialty foods. Store will open in the Spring.

p38
p38 on October 21, 2006 at 10:33 am

Does anyone remember that downstairs, below the Fortway Theater there was a pistol shooting range. I belonged to a gun club that used the range every tuesday night.

PFA

SeaBeacher
SeaBeacher on October 11, 2006 at 1:11 am

I am so sad this theatre was closed. I started going there in the sixties with my friends and girlfriends, seeing such classics as “House of Wax” in 3-D and “The Lost World” and have taken my kids there till it closed. If I remember correctly the screen was set on fire during the run of the movie “Woodstock” in 1969 or 1970 (one of the cool legends). The Fortway had the classy white arches on either side on the first floor. There was a working water fountain in the entrance after your ticket was ripped. The seats weren’t bad either and I remember sneaking in the side entrances thanks to the Fortway employees who let me in on nights when the theatre was HALF EMPTY. There was even a supposed murder mystery around the rear of the theatre-a woman was supposedly killed and chopped into pieces and left by the rear entrance. Anyone else ever hear of this? It would have been in the 50’s or 60’s.

overcertified
overcertified on December 7, 2005 at 3:41 pm

Passed by last week as first time since closing. I noticed that the fire escapes were all removed. It also appears that additional work is in progress as I see some scafolding aroiund the corner.

ERD
ERD on November 1, 2005 at 2:49 am

The Fortway was one of the less gaudy atmospheric theatres, but still distinctively beautiful. Once it was multiplexed it looked crowded and lost the original ambiance. The building is now guttered out- a shell of what was once a movie theatre. Unfortunately, this is a typical loss of our times. If a building loses productivity, it will be knocked down or altered. Real estate is expensive in New York. Making a profit is most important.

Theatrefan
Theatrefan on October 27, 2005 at 11:37 am

They want to make it a 440 seat Public School, not a Movie Theatre.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on October 27, 2005 at 12:46 am

440 seat theatre? What happened to the other 1800 seats?

Theatrefan
Theatrefan on October 26, 2005 at 12:30 pm

The Fortway Theatre may become a Public School, here is an article from the NY Daily News that says so:

New York Daily News
Reel hope on class crowds
BY JOTHAM SEDERSTROM
DAILY NEWS WRITER
Monday, October 17th, 2005

A shuttered movie theater and a crumbling turn-of-the-century church could be turned into elementary schools in heavily overcrowded Bay Ridge, say officials.
The Fortway Theater, which closed in June, and the 105-year-old Bay Ridge United Methodist Church are negotiating with the Education Department to house 1,040 elementary students.

“We’re the most overcrowded school district in Brooklyn and the second or third most crowded in the City of New York,” said City Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge). “So the need is obvious.”

The push for schools comes nine months after the city approved a capital budget plan calling for about 5,100 new classroom seats in School District 20.

The 440-seat school in the movie theater could be open by 2007. Negotiations are ongoing over whether the church will become a school, officials said.

Community Education Council President Carlos Scissura believes the theater could alleviate overcrowding in at least five nearby schools, including Public School 170, where trailers were set up years ago to accommodate an influx of students.

“This would be a godsend,” said Scissura, who said new immigrants accounted for most of the school population boom in the past five years.

“They’re perfect [sites] because the overcrowding in that part of District 20 is the worst not only in our district but probably all of Brooklyn,” added Scissura.

For Sal Friscia, whose 8-year-old son and daughter attend PS 170, the new schools would be a relief: Class size has ballooned to 30 kids.

“It’s not that the teachers don’t want to do their job, it’s that they can’t go the extra mile for the two or three kids who need the most help,” said Friscia. “You can only fit so much baloney in a 5-pound bag.”

The Rev. Bob Emerick of the Bay Ridge United Methodist Church met with school officials earlier this year, but as of now he’s still considering several offers, including a proposal to convert the church into senior or mixed housing.

“Right now, we’re looking at proposals, and we’ve been very clear that we can’t afford to maintain the property as is,” said Emerick. “We haven’t committed to anything yet.”

Earlier this year, the Fourth Ave. church went up for sale at about $13 million after officials conceded that the crumbling green sandstone facade was beyond repair.

“They’re in love with the green stone, but that can’t be saved,” said Emerick.

Jerseyoldschool
Jerseyoldschool on October 25, 2005 at 6:03 pm

Hello everyone. Extremely informative and nostalgic site; a lot of these listings bring tears to the eyes of this born and bred Brooklynite (Crown Heights) now “exiled” in NJ. This is my first posting. I found this on the Massey Knakal real estate website about the Fortway:

6720 Fort Hamilton Parkway, Brooklyn, NY (On the Corner of Fort Hamilton Parkway and 68th Street)
Commercial Buildings,Special Use,Outer Boroughs
A two story, 33' theatre delivered vacant located on the corner of Fort Hamilton Parkway and 68th Street. The 21,866 SF building is zoned C1-1 overlay of a R5 zone. The FAR is 1.25. This former movie theatre is being converted into first class retail/office space. On-site, underground parking will be provided. The space is available immediately; units from 1,000 to 40,000 square feet are being offered either as shell space or on a build to suit basis. Asking Price: Competitive Rent Representative/s: Timothy D. King

View link

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on October 2, 2005 at 11:39 am

The Fortway opened in 1927, shortly after the Universal in Boro Park, narrowly missing the title of “Brooklyn’s first atmospheric theatre.”

Theatrefan
Theatrefan on September 30, 2005 at 1:02 pm

I went by a couple of weeks ago and saw that the side exit doors were open so I peeked inside. The entire interior has been gutted to the bare brick walls, absolutely nothing remains. Everything would most likely have ended up in a dumpster that was carted away.

It’s a travesty that the “atmospheric” theatre elements could not be saved, but we have seen the same thing happen in recent years with the Kingsway & Kenmore interior demolitions in Brooklyn.

Maxxarcade
Maxxarcade on September 30, 2005 at 1:13 am

Anyone know what happened to the organ? I wonder if the pipes are still there. I have a Kilgen, Opus 3911 3/5 console from the Strand Theatre in Crawfordsville Indiana. The pipes are long gone…

Anyone have interior photos of this theatre from before it was chopped up?

genahy
genahy on September 29, 2005 at 2:53 am

They may turn it into a supermarket, according to a story in this week’s Bay News.

Theatrefan
Theatrefan on July 30, 2005 at 11:18 pm

Tom Grommell,

Golden Screen Associates was probably the holding company left over from the old Golden Theatres Circuit (see the Alpine post) that held the titles on the real estate Golden still controlled.

The reason for the 75 year clause is because Golden also owns the Alpine which Loews Cineplex currently leases from them, they would not want a competing chain coming into the neighborhood and taking business away with a newly renovated reopened Fortway Theatre.

The Fortway in its last days was still in much better shape than the Oriental & Kingsway in their final days. It was due to the fact that Cineplex Odeon renovated it when they took over in the 80’s. Even though Cineplex also owned they Kingsway they never spent any money on getting new seats, the ones that were there were in awful shape.

tomgrommell
tomgrommell on July 29, 2005 at 3:51 pm

Theaterfan, who are Golden Screen Assciates?

I think it is disgusting that they ( it is them? ) insisted upon this building not being used for the exhibition of motion pictures for 75 years.

It probably would have made no difference — DVDs, Video Games, and soon, movies over Internet — will kill the majority of theaters now open over time — but it is disgusting to think that so-called businessmen would have such contempt for the community that they would squelch even the remotest possibilty of there being a theater there again.

If the Fortway was kept clean and was run well, it could have prospered for years to come.

I hereby put a fatwa on the old landlord, the new landlord, the new tenant, and the old chain operator, who does not know what they are doing and showed that by the way they ran the Fortway into the ground. May you all rot in hell.

42ndStreetMemories
42ndStreetMemories on July 29, 2005 at 11:17 am

My only visit to the Fortway was in 1959. My folks shipped me out to my aunt in Brooklyn for a few days. After she had me pick horses and numbers that afternoon, she took me to the Fortway because I loved movies. The film was IMITATION OF LIFE, which the Legency of Decency had claimed unsuitable (if not Condemned) and I feared this 9 year was going to burn in eternal damnation. Never forget it. I asked to go home on the 2nd day.

What was the name of the great Italian restaurant across the street? ELAINE’S comes to mind. j

thephantom
thephantom on July 27, 2005 at 12:30 am

There is a photo taken tonight on the “ Bay Ridge Blog ”
www.bayridgebrooklyn.blogspot.com

In an earlier post, there is a photo of the Bay Ridge Theater

tomgrommell
tomgrommell on July 26, 2005 at 1:19 am

I went to see Chuck Berry perform at the Fortway years back. He did two shows in one day, and performed his hit of the time “ My Ding a Ling ” . For added entertainment, a couple of girls stripped and danced on stage.
While we were waiting to get in, there was a rumble in the park across the street. For real, it sounded like someone was getting hurt.

RobertR
RobertR on July 25, 2005 at 5:44 pm

I based it on that one by one everything in Brooklyn is closing. People seem content to go to the inferior Regal Sheepshead Bay.

frankie
frankie on July 25, 2005 at 5:32 pm

I remember one Christmas in the 80’s going to see “Little Shop of Horrors” at the Fortway. What a thrill it was to actually see a musical onscreen again ! True,the Fortway wasn’t terrific, but who needs to lose yet ANOTHER Brooklyn theater ? I STILL love to go to the movies. I’m so glad I live near the Pavilion. frankie from Brooklyn

Zouave
Zouave on July 17, 2005 at 9:19 pm

>> The Alpine will be gone way before 2011.
posted by RobertR on Jul 15, 2005 at 6:18am <<

You care to explain that?? Business always seem good at the Alpine, and with the Fortway gone it is obvious people who would have gone there will in large part go to the Alpine instead.

If the Alpine ever goes, it will likely be the end of me going to movie theaters. It will be DVDs forever.

Bay Ridge theaters that have closed: Elektra (now Food City); Harbor (now a gym); Dyker (now Radio Shack and Modells); Stanley (a bank);
Bay Ridge (NY Sports Club).

RobertR
RobertR on July 15, 2005 at 11:18 am

The Alpine will be gone way before 2011.