Loew's Pitkin Theatre

1501 Pitkin Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11212

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Showing 151 - 175 of 324 comments

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on May 24, 2007 at 12:54 am

At the very least there must be large holes in the dome. But my gut says that it is probably worse than that. What is the name of the former cinema off to the right, across from the basketball court. I visited that one too. But the identity is escaping me right now. It looked like a church at the time. Seems like it is in good repair these days.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 23, 2007 at 6:24 pm

Yikes! Life, if you view this satellite image, the damage to the roof is even more evident!

Doesn’t look good.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on May 21, 2007 at 7:49 pm

I visited this place around 1989. It looked neglected then. I don’t think there is a lot of hope in this particular situation, at least as far as reusing the interior goes.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on May 21, 2007 at 7:44 pm

I don’t know how often Google updates their image library. But in this satellite photo the roof does not look good at all:

View link

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 21, 2007 at 6:50 pm

Postings above on 12/21/05 by “Beverly” and “Sylvia Schildt” mention Henrietta Cameron, so that could be the correct spelling of her name. Sorry that I didn’t remember those posts or the name. I have read so many in the interim. I just found them through a Google search.

djgyardley on May 21, 2007 at 6:48 pm

Warren, thanks for the advice. I’ll check in to The Brooklyn Eagle.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 21, 2007 at 6:32 pm

You might start your search by looking in the entertainment pages of the Brooklyn Eagle for the months of May in those years. I suspect that an identical contest was held by many, if not all, of the Loew’s theatres in Brooklyn, so you might find something that covers all of them, rather than just the Pitkin. Good luck!…As for the organist, I’m not familiar with that name, or anything close to it, but if I ever happen on something, I will post it here.

djgyardley on May 21, 2007 at 5:22 pm

I’m doing research for a project for my grandfather. He sang in a children’s talent show on Mother’s Day at the Loew’s Pitkin between 1930 and 1933. He won first prize, a snake plant for his mother. Does anyone have or know where I can find any newspaper ads or photos of the event. I’m also looking for a photograph of the organist at the time, Henrietta Cameron (or Kamaren, I’m not sure of the spelling).

Thank you for your help. Your postings on the theater have been incredibly helpful.

tntim on January 10, 2007 at 5:49 pm

Go to this link: http://local.live.com and type the address of the Pitkin which is: 1501 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
It will give a bird’s eye view of what the condition of the roof was at one time. I do not know when these pictures were taken, but I hope Warren is correct and these large holes have been repaired.

PKoch on January 10, 2007 at 3:37 pm

Thanks for the details, Warren.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 10, 2007 at 3:34 pm

I’m not sure that it’s all gone. The owner has been very secretive about what remains of the interior. There were reports that it “all got washed away” from water leaking through the roof. One report said that the roof, or at least parts of it, actually collapsed. The roof was eventually repaired, but we may never know the extent of damage to the interior.

PKoch on January 10, 2007 at 3:13 pm

Thanks Warren. All that elegance and baroque and / or rococo detail that is now gone …

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 10, 2007 at 2:49 pm

Here is a rare view of the Pitkin’s proscenium. Like most of Thomas Lamb’s atmospherics, the design reminds me of a budget imitation of John Eberson, but it is less austere than the proscenium that Lamb did two years later for Loew’s Triboro in Queens:

JHB on December 5, 2006 at 12:55 pm

Don’t you just hate people that have nothing better
to do then try to shame people for there incorrect

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on December 5, 2006 at 11:55 am

Especially weird if “comming” was actually spelled that way!…But seriously, that form of sidewalk advertising was very popular when showmanship reigned. They used a stencil and whitewash, which would eventually be erased by rain.

JHB on December 4, 2006 at 7:12 pm

I have a memory of the Pitkin. In the early 50s
Quo Vadis was comming to the pitkin. All over Pitkin
avenue on the sidewalk was Painted Quo Vadis is comming.
It always struc me as a weird form of advertising.


PKoch on December 1, 2006 at 12:12 pm

Thanks for posting your memories of the Pitkin, DaveL. I hope to read more from you about your experiences of this remarkable theater.

DaveL on December 1, 2006 at 7:20 am

I lived in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn on Carroll Street near Utiva Avenue in the fifties and sixties and used to go to th Pitkin by bus along East New York Avenue. I remember a Ripleys mens clothing store near the theater and a men’s hat store across the street. Some of the movies I saw there were “Witness for the Prosecution,” “Don’t Give Up The Ship,” “The Last Hurrah.” and “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.” My parents would take me and I recall getting a bag of plain popcorn for 10 cents, a box of popcorm for 15 cents, or buttered popcorn for 25 cents. The ceiling of stars was great. Atrip to the Pitkin was a treat. Usually my friends and I would go to the Carroll Theater (which interestingly was located on Crown Street not Carroll Street) every Saturday afternoon. If we caused a disturbance the matron, always an older woman in a white dress, would shine that flashlight in our eyes demanding silence. Those were fun times.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on November 5, 2006 at 2:15 am

I wonder if those were four-walled engagements, Robert…

RobertR on November 4, 2006 at 12:43 am

The Pitkin was still open in November of 1969 without the Loew’s name.
View link

BoxOfficeBill on May 22, 2006 at 6:45 pm

I’m intrigued by the starting times of the De-Luxe Wonder Stage Shows in the ad for “Applause” (evidently in January, 1930; the film opened a two-a-day run at the old Criterion on 7 Oct. ’29): 1:00, 3:45, 7:00, and 9:00 (with a referred-to morning film at an 11:00 am bargain price). That’s highly irregular scheduling which implies some complete shows ran for just two hours, while others promised three and a quarter hours of entertainment.
Might the real schedule have been normalized to 1:00, 4:00, 7:00 and 10:00 pm, with the advertisement doing its best to rope in afternoon ladies (for whom a 4:00 start would have suggested too late an exit to preside over family suppers) and evening couples (for whom a 10:00 start would have implied a post-midnight exit with a sleep-deprived next day)?
A three-hour complete show seems reasonable in any case for a 90-to-110-minute feature film, forty-minute five-act variety show, and a half-hour or so of newsreel, short subjects, coming attractions, and intermission. In contemporaneous newspaper ads for the Roxy, Paramount, Capitol, et al. I’ve seen similarly irregular timetables. The point is moot, since performances were continuous and audiences were socialized to drop in at any time and leave when the loop came ‘round again.
As Joan Crawford used to say, whom was kidding whom?

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 22, 2006 at 2:32 pm

If you’re referring to the ads that I posted on 5/20/06, there were four. Which one do you mean?

ThePhotoplayer on May 22, 2006 at 1:58 pm

The ad posted about the Pitkin is NOT a Loews paste-up. It was made by the newspaper, and hence it is an error on their part. I’m sure you won’t find the same mistake repeating week after week.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 22, 2006 at 12:18 pm

Check out Orlando’s comments from March 4th, 2004, way at the top of this page for an early reference to the use of the phrase as a marketing tool by Loew’s.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 22, 2006 at 12:16 pm

I’ve heard that the term “Wonder Theater” was used with varying degrees of specificity by Loew’s during this period. Interesting, however, that Loew’s would advertise the Pitkin as one of the “big 5 Wonder Theaters”, particularly in that 3rd ad Warren posted that heralds the “new wonder” of the 175th Street which was the last of the Wonders to be built. Did they merely decide to drop reference to the Jersey (already opened the previous year) to target New York audiences?