Alpine Theatre

6817 Fifth Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11220

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WOLVERINE25TH
WOLVERINE25TH on May 3, 2006 at 4:02 am

Well, folks, the sale is finalized. The Alpine is sold. Dunno what’s gonna happen yet, but rumors are they’re talking about making it a 2-screen job.

WOLVERINE25TH
WOLVERINE25TH on March 24, 2006 at 6:05 am

I hope it doesn’t close this summer! All the movies I wanna see are this summer, and I usually go to matinees to save some money. When it closes, and if not another theater, I’m gonna blow those savings on train fare to Court Street. And I hope they aren’t gonna try to put condos there. Won’t be long before all of Brooklyn is one big condo.

ERD
ERD on March 6, 2006 at 11:29 am

Correction on my March 6 post- spelling typo on the word improvement.
Also, totally agree with RobertR.

RobertR
RobertR on March 6, 2006 at 10:57 am

The last few years have been the blackest for the movie theatres since TV came on the scene in the early 50’s. That and that people only care about selling theatres for the real estate and you wind up with a sadly dying business.

ERD
ERD on March 6, 2006 at 9:53 am

What a shame it will be when the Alpine closes, as mentioned by THEATERAT on his March 5 post. With all of the technological imporovement and changes, this century is losing so much glamour and fun that the movie entertainment once offered. Like many members of my age, it was an era I am glad to have lived in. Hopefully some people will try to bring it back in some form, or keep what ever is left of it alive.

BoxOfficeBill
BoxOfficeBill on March 6, 2006 at 7:00 am

LostMemory—

All those seats, and none with a view of the original CinemaScope screen. In ‘58 I saw “Gigi” at the Sutton on its exclusive first-run after leaving its reserved-seats engagement at the Royale. When it finally reached the nabes, I returned to see it at the Alpine, and remember thinking that it looked magnificently better on the huge screen. Terrific, in fact.

Theaterat
Theaterat on March 6, 2006 at 5:33 am

Box office Bill… Remember seeing ITS A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD and AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS at the Alpine in the late 60s.These films- wich were in a widescreen format DID look good on the Alpines screen. When it was firstplexed in the late 70s- early 80`s it was not too bad and I did manage to see a few films there at that time.After not going for many years when I did return to see PASSION OF THE CHRIST 2 years ago, it was absolutely in rock bottom condition. I based my initial entry on that. And speaking about the PASSION, I found Mel Gibsons non epic on the life of Christ to be way too brutal and way to graphic, Even though Gibson took a chance and made a movie peopkle actually went to see, I thgought the whole crucifixion and aftermath were handled better in BEN HUR and KING OF KINGS, but that is just my humble opinion.

BoxOfficeBill
BoxOfficeBill on March 5, 2006 at 6:50 am

Theaterat—

Yes to all you write, plus: in the 50s and 60s, Loew’s Alpine boasted of the largest CinemaScope screen in Brooklyn— larger than those at the B'klyn Paramount, the Fox, and Loew’s Kings. It spanned nearly the entire width of the theater’s proscenium-free viewing area.

The Alpine’s conventional wide-screen, however, might not have been the borough’s largest, since its masking closed in at the sides without rising at the top. The result limited the viewing area somewhat. Here I’d bet that the Fox won the title for size.

Theaterat
Theaterat on March 5, 2006 at 6:26 am

The ALPINE definately will close- the date is yet to be announced, but it does not have too long for the world. A good friend of mine {he insisted that I not give his name} is friendly with the manager. He says it should be either in the late spring or early summer. They probably will announce the closing at the last minute. Even though this theater is absolutely THE worst multiplex I ever been to, even in its so called “glory days” it was never a great theater in the Loew`s tradition. The inside was rather plain- especially when compared to the ORIENTAL, 46TH>ST, KINGS, or other Loews theaters. The fact that it did not have a balcony always made me think this theater was designed “on the cheap”, but it was an alright theater to see a movie at in most of the 60s and early 70s.When this one goes- and it will be going soon- the closest theater will be the PAVILLION in the Windsor Terrace area, or the UA SHEEPSHEAD on Knapp ST near the Belt Parkway. Does anybody really care?

Theatrefan
Theatrefan on December 12, 2005 at 10:26 am

Another article from the Bay Ridge Courier, regarding the fight to save the Alpine:

12/08/2005
Preservationists Vow to Save the Alpine Theater
By Helen Klein

Residents of Bay Ridge were hardly happy to hear last week that the Alpine Theatre, the area’s last movie theater, plans to shut its doors next year.

Bad news enough that the Alpine â€" a vital part of the community’s fabric for 84 years — is about to become history. Also making preservationists in the community seethe is word that the owners of the Alpine, who also had owned the now-shuttered Fortway Theater on Fort Hamilton Parkway, had sold that theater with a deed restriction preventing it from be used as a movie theater in the future.

Activists say they don’t want to see both the area’s historic theaters go, and are vowing to save the Alpine â€" which is now for sale through Massey Knakal Realty for $10 million — if at all possible, even though the theater’s lease agreement with Loew’s Cineplex is expected to end in early 2006, with no renewals anticipated..

“If the Fortway can’t be saved for the purpose of a theater,” proclaimed City Councilmember Vincent Gentile, “then we want to redouble our efforts to see if the Alpine can be saved.”

“People are really upset about the theater,” remarked Victoria Hofmo, the chair of Gentile’s preservation committee, and the founder of the Bay Ridge Conservancy, a preservation group. “Everybody is talking about it. Kids are really upset. To have two original movie theaters, that’s a treasure. We should protect them. They are the sort of generational things that make neighborhoods places for all ages. I don’t think anybody had an inkling that this was going to happen.”

Kari Neering, a spokesperson for Massey Knakal, said that it was too early to say what the future use of the site might be. “At this point,” she noted, “there are endless possibilities. It’s very early in the marketing stage, and a lot of ideas are being tossed around. No one has said absolutely it won’t be a theater, but there’s no way of knowing for certain without having a concrete buyer.”

The putative sale restriction on the Fortway had definitely raised hackles even before the Alpine was put up for sale.

Gentile was one of those who queried the rationale behind it. Noting, “I have it on an informational basis, from a good source, that it was a clause in the sale,” he contended, “It doesn’t make sense to me to have it in there if the ultimate intention was also to get rid of the Alpine. Everyone thought it was part of the sale of the Fortway so the Alpine would have exclusivity. It doesn’t make sense if the same owner is now trying to unload the Alpine.”

Hofmo also questioned the reasoning behind restricting the use of the Fortway, if the owner of both theaters planned to turn around and sell the Alpine, too. “What is the motive?” she asked. “The only thing I can think of is that someone wants to put in a multiplex.”

The theater’s impending closure will hit Fifth Avenue hard, said Basil Capetanakis, president of the Fifth Avenue Board of Trade. “We are very disappointed,” he remarked. ‘It’s the only theater in the area, and we wonder what’s going to go in there. We lost Kleinfeld’s, which was a big draw to the avenue, and now we are going to lose the theater. We really need some kind of retail business that will bring traffic into the area. The avenue looks nice. The holiday lights are up, and now this has to come up.”

“It’s a destabilizing thing for the business area,” agreed Hofmo.

The theater’s closing will also negatively impact area youth, noted Craig Eaton, the chairperson of Community Board 10. “We’ve taken a real aggressive approach with the Youth Committee to try to identify different things we can provide to children in the community to keep them off the streets,” Eaton noted. “My feeling is, the more you have to entertain and occupy the time of children and young adolescents, the less trouble they can get into.

“Groups of teens hanging out on Third Avenue, Fifth Avenue and 86th Street, in my opinion, can only lead to trouble,” Eaton went on, noting with the closure of the two theaters, as well as the neighborhood bowling alley, “My fear is that there is nothing for children and young adolescents.” Senior citizens will also lose out when the Alpine closes, Eaton added, saying he had been told by the manager that seniors flock to the theater during the day. “We’re taking away a good form of entertainment and it concerns me,” he concluded.

Gentile said that, as part of an effort to save the theater, his office had already gotten in touch with the theater’s current owner, Jeffrey Deneroff, to, “See if he wants to keep the property, if we can be helpful, or if he can help us find someone, or a conglomerate, who would be interested in keeping it as a theater.”

Gentile also said that his office had contacted Loews Cineplex. “They know the site very well,” he noted, “and they too agree that it would be in the community’s best interest to keep the local theater alive. It’s just a matter of economic viability for a theater to remain at the location.”

To that end, Gentile said he was, “Looking to fund people who have an interest in purchasing the property and keeping it as a theater. The question is how to make it economically viable for the new owner to make a go of it. That’s what we are exploring at this point.”

One problem, Gentile pointed out, is that the Alpine is, “Extremely old and somewhat in disrepair, so the new owner would have to make a significant investment to rehabilitate the structure. Even with the volume of moviegoers who now use the Alpine, because of the rehabilitation costs, plus the rising assessment of property, you really need a high volume of revenue to come in, in order to make it viable.”

The Alpine is located at 6817 Fifth Avenue

Theatrefan
Theatrefan on December 12, 2005 at 10:25 am

Here is an article regarding the Sale from the Bay Ridge Courier:

12/01/2005
That’s a Wrap: Alpine Cinema to be Sold
By Thomas Tracy

Realtors Massey Knakal is currently asking $10 million for the Alpine Theater, which is expected to close its doors by spring, 2006.
The Alpine Movie Theater in Bay Ridge is drawing its final curtain. As this paper went to press, the property, located at 6817 5th Avenue, was up for sale. At the same time, the theater’s lease agreement with Loew’s Cineplex was expected to end in early 2006, with no renewals anticipated. By spring, the Alpine will be no more, following the fate of the Fortway Theater on Fort Hamilton Parkway, which was sold earlier this year and may soon open as a neighborhood school.
Massey Knakal, the realtor which sold the Fortway and is currently shopping the Alpine around, hopes to get $10 million for the 48’ X 200’ irregular lot that opens on 5th Avenue but takes up most of Bay Ridge Avenue between 5th and 6th avenues. “This investment or large retail/office conversion is a one in a lifetime opportunity,” according to the sales pitch, which adds that the premises “will be delivered vacant.”

Officials at Massey Knakal said that it was “unclear if the building will remain a theater.”

Calls to Loew’s Cineplex as to why they were not renewing their lease with the Alpine were not returned by press time.

Originally a Loew’s theater, the Alpine first opened on June 6, 1921.

All told, the property and building costs just reached $420,000, according to records.

At the time, the Carlson & Wiseman-designed edifice was the first Loew’s theater anywhere with its entire seating capacity (2,200) on one floor, without a balcony or gallery.

Historians said the stage had no fly gallery or gridiron, but had an apron just large enough to accommodate a vocalist or musical instrumentalist between film showings.

Variety described the Alpine’s interior as “decorated in a tan and gold color scheme, the general atmosphere created being one of brightness. The side walls are paneled and painted in an imitation of tapestry.”

The floors of the theater were “carpeted with red velvet” according to the description.

The first movie shown at the theater was Paramount’s “City of Silent Men” with music provided by a resident orchestra of twelve.

At the time, admission was a quarter.

Today, the Alpine is considered one of the borough’s cheapest movie theaters at $8.75 a ticket.

Over the decades, the large theater was cut down and sectionalized, now showing eight movies on any given day.

This week’s selection includes “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” and “Chicken Little.”

BklynRob
BklynRob on December 10, 2005 at 10:12 am

Frankie reading your post reminded me that I also brought my mom to the Alpine to see that “E.T.” revival.I also remember the sound was bad for that show, too low. Anyway I agree, movie going will one day be a thing of the past. What a shame.

frankie
frankie on December 5, 2005 at 8:22 am

I knew this would come, but I didn’t want to think about it. Although people still go to the movies, it seems there is no way to protect theaters from voracious, space-seeking developers. We indeed live in another world from the one in which I lived when I used to come home from Xaverian High School and wait for the bus in front of the Alpine. Although I mostly go to the Pavilion, since I live near there, I have been to the Alpine countless times. I went there in the ‘80s especially to see Dottie Lamour’s very last movie, “Creepshow II”. I took my Mom there to see a revival of “E.T.” I’ll certainly try to get there one more time before the end. If this keeps up, going to the movies will go the way of vaudeville. To quote my late Mom: “I’m glad I’m on my way out.” frankie from Brooklyn

BklynRob
BklynRob on December 3, 2005 at 9:57 am

What a sad day for Bay Ridge! I remember as a kid, going to the Lowe’s Alpine when it was a single theater, seeing “Help!” starring The Beatles, with all my friends. Bay Ridge lost a lot of great movie theaters,including the Fortway,Dyker & Harbor. What a tragedy!I will remember the Alpine when it was at its best, a huge single screen movie palace,where a kid in Bay Ridge could spend a weekend afternoon catching some great movies.

Theatrefan
Theatrefan on December 2, 2005 at 1:18 pm

Here is the article mentioned in YankeeMike’s Post:

New York Daily News:
Credits to roll?
BY JOTHAM SEDERSTROM
DAILY NEWS WRITER
Friday, December 2nd, 2005

It could be the last picture show for Bay Ridge.
Alpine Cinema, the neighborhood’s last remaining movie theater, went up for sale at $10 million this week, setting off a chorus of boos from local elected officials and merchants.

“We need to have a local movie theater in the neighborhood,” said Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge). “When you start taking away theaters that people can walk to, it destroys the ambience and small-town character.”

Merchants on bustling Fifth Ave. said they feared a drop in business, especially because the likely closing would come on the heels of bridal gown-seller Kleinfeld’s move to Manhattan.

“Obviously, I’m very saddened – it’s the last movie theater in Bay Ridge,” said Fifth Avenue Board of Trade President Basil Capetanakis. “But for us, when people go to the movies they also go to the restaurants and the shops.”

The announcement comes six months after the 76-year-old Fortway Theater screened its last movie. Both theaters were owned by Jeffrey Deneroff.

Speculation on what will replace the 49,000-square-foot Alpine varied from highly prized space for schools to a grocery store – both badly needed in the area, said officials.

It was unclear whether the current leaseholder would be allowed to renew when the lease expires next year, said Kari Neering, a spokeswoman for real estate firm Massey Knakal.

“I doubt it will remain a theater,” said Neering. “But at this point there are endless possibilities.”

Deneroff included a provision upon sale demanding that any new owner of the Fortway would be prohibited from opening another theater, a source said.

Deneroff, who declined to comment on the terms of the Fortway sale, said a buyer of the Alpine might continue showing movies.

“It’s possible,” said Deneroff. “I really couldn’t say.”

The seven-screen, 2,200-seat Alpine opened June 6, 1921, the same year Douglas Fairbanks starred in “The Three Musketeers.”

The theater was then valued at $420,000.

YMike
YMike on December 2, 2005 at 2:05 am

An article in today’s daily news states that this theatre is up for sale and could close early next year.

Theatrefan
Theatrefan on November 28, 2005 at 3:46 am

According to the website of Massey Knakal (the Alpine’s Real Estate Firm), the property is being offered for 10 million dollars and will be delivered vacant to the new landlord. This is the same firm that brokered the sale of the Fortway for 4.5 million earlier this year.

The Alpine is the last of Loew’s original theatres in Brooklyn still showing movies, this point was brought up at the Loew’s Centennial exhibit at the Museum of the Moving image last year. I can still remember it as one huge theatre before it was twinned, the marquee had the name Loew’s Alpine on it, in the traditional Loew’s sunburst style shared with the Delancey & Sheridan theatres.

Its closing will represent a tremendous loss for the community of Bay Ridge, already stung by the closure of the Fortway earlier this year. Bay Ridge’s closest theatres will now be the Kent Theatre, Park Slope Pavilion and the Sheepshead Bay.

RobertR
RobertR on November 21, 2005 at 4:52 am

I knew the Alpines days were numbered, sad the whole theatre business seems to be taking a nosedive.

WOLVERINE25TH
WOLVERINE25TH on November 17, 2005 at 6:14 pm

I work in the same office as a real estate and they got a fax about the Alpine going up for sale. Looks like it may be closing soon.

jbels
jbels on November 9, 2005 at 6:21 am

I remember the nice lady that used to manage the Alpine (Ms. Pulize, not sure of spelling) and she would come out of the office door on the left hand side of the theatre when you needed something (“Ms. Pulize, Please!”). I also remember when the twinned the theatre and you would wait for the next movie to start and people would spill out and ruin the end of the movie, like Rocky. Also sat through The Sunshine Boys twice there. And they showed Dondi for free as a kids' day special.

BoxOfficeBill
BoxOfficeBill on August 6, 2005 at 4:28 am

Awww— that’s sad to see the current Alpine reduced to a storefront entrance. The structures to the right and left are clearly new ones. The structure to the left has replaced a large furniture store that perfectly complemented the Alpine’s old facade and added bulk to the entrance. It looks so shrunken now. Compare a picture that I posted above last 26 April.

br91975
br91975 on August 6, 2005 at 3:16 am

…and a tip of the hat to you, Phantom, for posting all those great photos of Bay Ridge theatres (accompanied by brief histories) on your blog, present – and, all too sadly – mostly past.

thephantom
thephantom on August 5, 2005 at 4:58 pm

A photo of the Alpine Theater has been posted on the Bay Ridge Blog
( www.bayridgebrooklyn.blogspot.com )

Tip of the hat to all the contributors of Cinema Treasures, a great site.

BoxOfficeBill
BoxOfficeBill on August 3, 2005 at 1:48 pm

Theaterfan—

I don’t recall the Alpine Ice Cream Parlor on BR Ave. But in the 1940s-50s, the neighborhood’s best emporium for the sweet-tooth was Pohl’s Homemade Candy on 5 Avenue between 70 and 71 Streets (east side—i.e. Alpine side—of the street). The aroma of chocolate and caramel was intoxicating on the street and a knock-out inside. I believe that the store closed around 1960. [it’s not to be confused with Pohl’s Homemade Ice Cream and Candy on 5 Avenue between 82 and 83 Street (west side), which closed a few years later. The latter’s ice cream was inferior to Hinsch’s near 86 Street, and its candy was several notches below the above-mentioned Pohl’s.]

For those who threw all caution to the winds and would sacrifice artisanal chocolate for sheer bulk, a doughnut shop across the street from the Alpine offered its wares for the movie-going crowd. There the proprietor would hand-fry your choice of a doughnut-with-cream-filling as you stood at the counter. The paper-bag that you brought into the Alpine would be dripping with hot oil as you entered the theater.

I forewent all that so I could save money to see more movies later in the week at the Stanley or Bay Ridge. But I remember that most people wouldn’t think of buying a ticket without the promise of sweets to go with it. Those double features, after all, were pretty long and viewers got hungry.