Loew's Pitkin Theatre

1501 Pitkin Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11212

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Showing 101 - 125 of 291 comments

LuisV on April 8, 2008 at 12:00 am

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 on April 7, 2008 at 11:28 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 on April 7, 2008 at 10:55 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 on April 7, 2008 at 10:53 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.

creativa on April 7, 2008 at 10:33 pm

this breaks my heart. have you seen the travesty of architecture that this rehab has come up with?puts me in mind of Howard Roark in “The Fountainhead”.

so that leaves the grandeur that was the low-eez pitkin to memory. i am thankful for the preservation and honor i gave it in my chapter dedicated to the pitkin experience in my book BROWNSVILLE: THE JEWISH YEARS. I include interiors, exteriors, even a picture of the organ and of course, memories of its glory days. If you look at the list of 100 great American films, a chunk of them made their neighborhood first runs here — be it Gone With The Wind, Casablanca, Best Years of Our Lives, The Ten Commandments, not to omit great cartoons, the chapters, the Paramount News. If it was worth seeing, I saw it at the Pitkin. Farewell old friend, sylvia (the kid with the four siblings, a big lunch bag for 5, and a big box of nonpareils)

mp775 on April 7, 2008 at 7:41 pm

The interior already has been lost. The ceiling had fallen to the floor, and much of the ornamentation was stripped away by vandals and scavengers over the years. Add to that some workers performing interior demolition back in 2003 or ‘04 — I don’t know the extent of their work, but it’s likely that the interior has already been in a landfill for a few years.

Since signs stating “Another POKO Development” are already posted on the sidewalk bridge, I think the project is going ahead.

LuisV on April 7, 2008 at 4:30 pm

I never had any real hope that this palace could be saved; too much damage and a very poor location. It appears from the links posted above that much of the very handsome exterior will be preserved, but I assume that all of the interior (or what’s left of it) will be lost.

At the end of the day, the preservation of the Pitkin’s exterior is probably the best that could be hoped for. The eyesore of this abandoned building will be replaced with new retail and much needed affordable housing.

Every time a palace is lost, it hurts. From the photos I’ve seen, this one was particularly beautiful and therefore even more painful. But all of them cannot be saved. Our concentration needs to be focussed on those with the most promise; specifically, in the case of Brooklyn, The Loews’s Kings and The Brooklyn Paramount. In Queens, it’s probably too late for the RKO Keiths Flushing, but not too late for the RKO Keiths Richmond Hill. A movement is now afoot to save the just shuttered Ridgewood.

With every palace that is lost, every remaining palace becomes even more valuable.

mp775 on April 7, 2008 at 4:10 pm

The building is going to be converted to affordable housing and retail space.

View link

A rendering of the project can be seen at architect Kitchen & Associates' website:

View link

LuisV on April 7, 2008 at 2:21 pm

Warren, thanks for the link to the ad which proclaims “Loew and Behold!” That’s brilliant. It’s not as clever when you say “Low-eez and Behold”. Unless, of course, if youse guys are from Brooklyn. :–)

Bev on April 7, 2008 at 3:12 am

Sylvia is right…it was “low-eez”…or more formally “loweezpitkin”—-or just “the pitkin”.


LuisV on April 5, 2008 at 6:39 pm

Is it fair to say that the Loew’s Pitkin is the 3rd largest movie palace in the city just sitting in decay? The largest, of course, is The Kings in Brooklyn and the 2nd largest (by just a few seats over the Pitkin) is the RKO Keiths in Flushing. The Brooklyn Paramount doesn’t count because it is not decaying. I assume what is left of it is being taken care of by LIU. Maybe that’s assuming too much. Are there any others?

creativa on April 5, 2008 at 5:27 pm

i sometimes heard it pronounced, in the neighborhood as low-eez.


creativa on January 28, 2008 at 5:27 pm

The Palace secondarily, others (Hopkinson, Stadium, Sutter) are wrapped up in general descriptions.

BTW The cover, is kitzl park (Zion Memorial) backed up by a view of the Legion St. side of the Pitkin.

But the emphasis of the chapter is on the vital role of the Pitkin, and the way it was experienced by Brownsville residents. My aim was, if you had lived it before, to take you back, just short of eating the popcorn and nonpareils. And if you had not, to re-create it for you in as much depth as a printed page could offer.

creativa on January 27, 2008 at 10:50 pm

it’s one of those ideas that alights on different spots.

Astyanax on January 27, 2008 at 10:24 pm

And I always thought that the original Kitzl Park was in Williamsburg at the juncture of Lee Ave. & Roebling St. and not in Brownsville backing on the Loews Pitkin.

creativa on January 27, 2008 at 9:39 pm

my book is finally out! and as promised, it features an entire chapter about the loew’s pitkin and other local brownsville cinemas. it talks about the pitkin experience in detail, showcases some photos that round out the impression. thanks to all who shared some of the photos with me. it can be ordered through amazon, or personally through me. here’s my link – View link

BobFurmanek on December 12, 2007 at 3:44 pm

Yes, I have a Photobucket account. I’ll try to get some of those images scanned and posted.

In looking at the film coverage and photos of Mr. Lewis' theater tours, both RKO and Loew’s had police escorts to arrange for a quick passage to each theater.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 12, 2007 at 3:19 pm

Hey Bob… Do you have a photobucket account? It’d be fun to have you share those photos here! The tight schedules on those promo tours through the local Loew’s or RKO chain always amazed me. Five minutes onstage and then dash off and fight traffic to get to the next appearance in some other neighborhood. I just think of the congestion on some of the borough thoroughfares today and it makes me laugh. I presume that the streets were not nearly as gridlocked back then as they can be these days. Or did the promoters arrange for police escort?

BobFurmanek on December 12, 2007 at 2:30 pm

I have some photos of Jerry Lewis at the Pitkin in 1960 when he appeared on stage promoting “The Bellboy.”

larryb on November 15, 2007 at 4:48 pm

Sylvia-do you have any photos of opening day or news accounts of the opening? I am particularly interested in a parade or marching band at the opening.

creativa on November 14, 2007 at 11:00 pm

the organist who played during intermissions or at vaudeville shows.

PKoch on November 14, 2007 at 8:18 pm

Who is she, Sylvia ?

creativa on November 14, 2007 at 8:16 pm

i have a photo of henrietta kammern. there’s even a recording on edison of her playing


PKoch on November 14, 2007 at 8:11 pm

Good for you, Sylvia. I’m not sure I can help you rescue the Loew’s Pitkin, though.