Loew's Pitkin Theatre

1501 Pitkin Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11212

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Showing 76 - 100 of 287 comments

JHB
JHB on November 17, 2008 at 12:48 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 7:55 am

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

LuisV
LuisV on November 17, 2008 at 7:53 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 7:15 am

I would think the first definition, Ed Solero.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on November 16, 2008 at 6:39 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 12:58 pm

Thanks, Lost Memory. Warren, we shall see.

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on November 12, 2008 at 11:12 am

Thanks, mp775.

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

mp775
mp775 on November 11, 2008 at 2:27 pm

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

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on September 29, 2008 at 12:34 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 11:51 am

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 11:43 am

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 11:37 am

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 10:39 am

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

creativa
creativa on September 29, 2008 at 10:31 am

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 7:38 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 6:06 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 11:58 am

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 10:39 am

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 10:26 am

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."

creativa
creativa on April 7, 2008 at 6:07 pm

for myself and i hope others — now and in the future years. if any of you get to read my book (see amazon) let me know what you think.

LuisV
LuisV on April 7, 2008 at 4:00 pm

Sylvia, I absolutely mean no disrespect, but it takes much more than hope to save a movie palace and have it survive as a functioning theater, performing arts space, or a museum. It takes people who care passionately about the project, people with money and or connections and people with patience. These projects have to pay their own way unless a governmental agency steps in to do so which is very, very rare.

That is what is so exciting about the current state of the Kings which has been dark for almost 30 years. The city is behind it and they are willing to give grants to help restore the theater provided a developer comes up with viable plan to have the restored theater pay its own way afterwards.

The Pitkin (as well as many, many palaces that have been lost over the years) didn’t have these benefits. At least you’ve been able to preserve your memories of this grand theater in your book and in your memories. Thank you!

creativa
creativa on April 7, 2008 at 3:28 pm

it could have been something more than 71 apartments and 70k sf of retail space. i had hoped for a museum — commemorating either/or brownsville history and/or the great movies of yore that glittered here.

as to abe stark, he’s well covered in my book, handing out tickets for ebbetts field and more. hoffman’s cafeteria is also mentioned – it was part of the pitkin avenue scene.

LuisV
LuisV on April 7, 2008 at 2:55 pm

Thanks Sylvia for your memories. As I mentioned above, it’s impossible to save all of the theaters that are worthy and based on mp775’s post above, there is virtually nothing salvagable of the interior. At least the exterior looks like it will be incorporated in to the adapative reuse.

Today, I went on a tour of the Loew’s Kings which the city is making every effort to save. Please go to that page to see my post. Though it is too late for Loew’s Pitkin, it is not too late for Loew’s Kings. I think The Kings will make it!

Bev
Bev on April 7, 2008 at 2:53 pm

re. the May 25,2007 reference to “The Prince of Pitkin Ave.”—-that title went to Abe Stark, who owned a men’s clothing store across the street from Hoffman’s (my Dad’s restaurant). He eventually became Borough President of Brooklyn.