Loew's Pitkin Theatre

1501 Pitkin Avenue,
Brownsville,
Brooklyn, NY 11212

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Showing 76 - 100 of 324 comments

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on November 22, 2008 at 9:34 pm

There was a story in the NYT on Christmas Day, 1921, about a robbery at the Elite Theater, 707 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn. I didn’t see any aka for this. It may be an easy question, but as I’m not from New York I’m curious as to the answer.

FOUR HOLD-UP MEN ROB THEATRE IN BROOKLYN; Owner of the Elite and Woman Cashier Forced to Hand Over $100 and $175 Watch.

Four men held up the owner and cashier of the Elite Theatre, at 707 Pitkin, Brooklyn, last Thursday night, it became known yesterday, and escaped…

LuisV
LuisV on November 17, 2008 at 4:29 pm

Thanks JHB. That’s a great shot of the Loew’s Pitkin under Brownsville II.

JHB
JHB on November 17, 2008 at 3:48 pm

You may be able to find a few pictures of Brownsville at this website.

http://brooklynpix.com/index.php

JHB

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on November 17, 2008 at 10:55 am

Better the exterior only than nothing at all. Such was the case with the RKO Bushwick.

LuisV
LuisV on November 17, 2008 at 10:53 am

I also believe that the exterior will be retained. At this point it is the most we could expect.

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on November 17, 2008 at 10:15 am

I would think the first definition, Ed Solero.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on November 16, 2008 at 9:39 pm

Hmmm. What does “rehabilitation” mean? Does it imply some preservation of the building’s design elements – even if just exterior appointments? Or is the term broad enough to include complete demolition followed by new construction?

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on November 12, 2008 at 3:58 pm

Thanks, Lost Memory. Warren, we shall see.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 12, 2008 at 3:43 pm

Those are expections/anticipations only. Given the current economy, they might never get off the ground.

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on November 12, 2008 at 2:12 pm

Thanks, mp775.

What does this have to do with Loew’s Pitkin Theatre ?

mp775
mp775 on November 11, 2008 at 5:27 pm

There was a public hearing on October 28. See page 4 of View link.

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on September 29, 2008 at 3:34 pm

Turnbull, thanks for the clarification.

I think that’s Elliot Willensky, rather than Roger, as author of “When Brooklyn was the World”.

Sylvia Schildt, I wish you well on your project, but, unfortunately, I have nothing to contribute to it. Sorry.

morralkan
morralkan on September 29, 2008 at 2:51 pm

The last time I rode by the Pitkin (sometime during the past couple of months), I did not notice anything much changed so far. The only think I remember seeing on the exterior was some sign about its future use. I will try to ride by there on my bike in the next week or so. (I live nearby in Crown Hts.)

LuisV
LuisV on September 29, 2008 at 2:43 pm

Turnbull…..yes, it was on this site that it was stated that the ceiling had collapsed and that there was little of the interior to save. The only remaining hope was that the exterior would be preserved as part of it’s reuse into residential housing. Nothing has been posted on this site about that project since so I was wondering if it was ever done. Has the exterior been preserved?

turnbull
turnbull on September 29, 2008 at 2:37 pm

Sylvia, I don’t have any old B'ville photos. I do have some Pitkin Avenue (and other Brownsville) photos taken in ‘97, '98 and 2000, and I can identify what the stores and sites were in the Fifties. I’m sure you’ve seen the Pitkin Avenue photos in Roger Willensky’s “When Brooklyn was the World,” and Wendell Pritchett’s “Brownsville, Brooklyn."
Peter.K: I know Turnbull Avenue, but my name comes from the line, "Turnbull is a good man,” in “The Godfather, Part II."
LuisV: I read elsewhere (maybe on this site) that, while the exterior is still standing, the ceiling has collapsed onto the stage, and the entire theater has been heavily damaged by water.

BTW: I saw a TV segment a few years ago about the Hip-Hop producer Russell Simmons. He had a home theater in his NJ mansion that he modeled on the Pitkin.

LuisV
LuisV on September 29, 2008 at 1:39 pm

Has the residential project mentioned above proceeded? Has this theater been gutted? Was the exterior preserved?

creativa
creativa on September 29, 2008 at 1:31 pm

Pitkin afficionados and old Brownsvillians, think back. Do you have Pitkin photos, date photos, Brownsville street scenes. My plans for the documentary rests on being able to locate some of these.

Sylvia (Author of Brownsville: The Jewish Years)

Bob Furmanek, I never got your note or Jerry Lewis backstage photos.

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on September 29, 2008 at 10:38 am

Thanks, turnbull, for all the info on the Pitkin and environs, more than half a century ago, and welcome to Cinema Treasures ! I hope you enjoy the site as much as I have, and do.

I would think your handle comes from Turnbull Avenue near the 14th Street Canarsie Line between East 105th Street and Rockaway Parkway stations.

turnbull
turnbull on September 28, 2008 at 9:06 pm

We lived in Brownsville from ‘51 through '57. Since the Pitkin was the high end in our part of Brownsville ($1 for kids), it was only for “special occasions.” One was for the premier of the first 3D movie, “B'wana Devil” ('52), which was preceded by a trailer in which an opthalmologist assured the audience they would’t go blind watching it. A sign of the Pitkin’s “class”: their 3D glasses had plastic frames, vs. cardboard frames for those distributed in other houses. The ushers collected them after each show, so we kids always tried to sneak out with them. For “Quo Vadis” ('51) the Pitkin’s management stenciled the title and its dates on every sidewalk crossing in the theater’s area. If the movie was boring, we’d explore the vast, uncharted balconies, which were almost always empty on Saturday mornings. The proscenium arch had a tromp l'oeil mural called “Dawn.” After the show, we’d get a papaya drink at Jungle Jim’s Cocoanut Whip stand on Herzl Street off Pitkin.

The two movie houses closer to us were the Ambassador and the Peoples Cinema, diagonally across from each other on Saratoga and Livonia Avenues. The former was the “nabe,” two program changes per week, 26 cents for kids, with 3 features, 25 cartoons, serials, Three Stooges, etc., on Saturdays. Its covered emergency staircase was home to the neighborhood winos, and stank of urine so badly that you had to cross the street to go by it. It was demolished and is a day care center today. The Peoples was a low-end B-movie place, 14 cents. Memorable feature: a 5-cent soda machine with four flavors—if you pushed all four buttons simultaneously, it gave you “tutti frutti.” It was converted ca. ‘54 to the neighborhood’s first superette, whose opening was enlivened by an actor playing “Rocky Jones Space Ranger” of the eponymous TV show. Now it’s the Brownsville Bargain Center.

BobFurmanek
BobFurmanek on April 23, 2008 at 2:58 pm

I have some photographs of Jerry Lewis at the theater, including some great backstage shots. I’ll drop you a note.

creativa
creativa on April 23, 2008 at 1:39 pm

I am seriously considering creating a documentary about the rise and fall of the Loew’s Pitkin. It will include stuff about the theater, movies it showed and more importantly, personal memories of experiences at the theater — from dating and “making out” in the balcony, kid stuff, vaudeville shows seen. If you have any tales to tell and/or would like to be interviewed, please write me privately at

William
William on April 23, 2008 at 1:26 pm

Orando posted back on March 4th 2004, “the Pitkin was advertised as such in many ads in the Brooklyn Eagle when it first opened. When I spoke to a original Loew excutive, he told me the "Wonder Theatre” was as advertising tool of the then in-house publicity team."

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 23, 2008 at 12:26 pm

This ad from March 8th, 1930, shows the Pitkin described as one of “Loew’s ‘Big 5’ Wonder Theatres.” If “midnite pictures” is any indication, the Pitkin, Paradise and Valencia were proving more popular than the Kings and 175th Street: View link

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 14, 2008 at 1:35 pm

Here are new direct links to previously posted images of the Pitkin’s auditorium:
View link
View link