Alpine Theatre

6817 Fifth Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11220

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Showing 151 - 170 of 170 comments

BoxOfficeBill
BoxOfficeBill on February 8, 2005 at 3:14 pm

Theaterat: Sorry to hear about your walk through the funhouse. One advantage to having a regular rear-row right-aisle seat by dint of reaching the Children’s Section before anyone else (as I wrote on 3 Feb.) is that, in case of emergency, family members would know where to find you. In Spring ’54, “Julius Caesar” finally played at the Alpine. I had seen it the previous summer during its reserved-seat run at the Booth, from which it had moved on to continuous showings at the Plaza for the rest of the year. On the Saturday morning of its stint at the Alpine, I set out as usual, pencil behind ear, to re-view that MGM triumph. It was a fine Spring day, and my aunt decided that it seemed a shame for a twelve-year-old boy to be cooped up indoors with a Shakespearean film. So she summoned my cousin and with him headed toward the theater, where they persuaded the ticket-taker to allow them inside to retrieve me. Alas, my cousin knew exactly where to look, and he and his mom bribed me away by proffering a trip to Coney Island. All this occurred during the premonitory storm sequence in act 2, scene 2, so I never got to see the actual assassination a second time. The big attraction at Coney Island that season was an enormous blue whale named “Miss Hispaniola.” It had washed up on the Maine shore, had died, and was then embalmed and shipped to NY for public viewing. As I gazed upon its rotting flesh, all I could think was that by now Marlon Brando had reached the plains of Philippi and was pursuing Brutus and Cassius to the death. By the end of the day, however, I would experience my first ride on the Cyclone, having reached the age of twelve and the requisite height for admission. At the top of the chute, I thought fractionally of the storm scene in act 2. O Julius Caesar, thou art mighty yet!

Theaterat
Theaterat on February 7, 2005 at 1:48 am

Went to the Alpine recently. The theater is absolutely the worst Cinematic experience I ever had.Inside you loose all sense of direction. The theater is bisected by a long narrow corridor with ultra mini theaters on either side.It reminds one of a walk mthrough a funhouse,but it aint fun.Each mini theater has too many broken seats and a flypaper sticky substance on the floor from spilt soda and other things they sell to eat.The sound was inaudible and the heat was turned all the way up. It was so filthy that it gave me the creeps.I swear that I will never go again even if they give me a free lifetime pass.

BoxOfficeBill
BoxOfficeBill on February 3, 2005 at 3:48 pm

Unless you worked at Loew’s Alpine, I doubt whether you could have spent more time there than I did in the late ‘40s and early ‘50s. My parents got a huge bang out of going to the movies, and they took me a lot, frequently to B’way first-runs. But the Alpine was our neighborhood house of choice, since it showed the great MGM, Paramount, and Columbia films that seemed superior to any RKO, 20C-Fox, and Warners fare at the rival RKO Dyker. I won’t rehearse the scores of films I remember seeing with them as a tiny kid.

When I reached the age of nine in Spring ’51, I was allowed to go to the movies by myself, and at that point I became a screen-crazed addict. The first solo film I saw there was “Father’s Little Dividend,” and I went back almost weekly after that. Even when I had already seen a film at the Capitol or RCMH, I’d revisit it at the Alpine (“Quo Vadis?” “Ivanhoe”). By Summer ’52, I made sure to arrive at the head of the box office line for the first show (“The Quiet Man,” “High Noon”), and then I’d race to the Children’s Section for the rear-row right-aisle seat, which had an unobstructed view of the screen owing to the curve of the aisle and the angle of the seat. I did that nearly every Saturday during the school year (except when the Dyker offered a film that grabbed my attention, such as a Disney live-actioner or the occasional Doris Day romp). During summer and holiday vacations (“The African Queen,” “The Prisoner of Zenda”), I switched my shift to Wednesdays when the new programs opened. Children under twelve paid thirty cents.

By Fall ’53, I began to complain that other kids were a noisy distraction, so I decided to attend noteworthy films after school in an emptier house, usually on Friday (the main feature started conveniently around 3:20 pm, but I’d skip the co-feature to arrive home before supper: “The Blackboard Jungle,” The Desperate Hours”). In the eighth grade, I fell in with a bunch of tough kids and would occasionally go with them to the Alpine on Sundays (though I still reserved serious films for private showings: “The Rose Tattoo,” “Picnic”). Often we would evade the matron in the Children’s Section (after all, we’d paid the adult price of sixty cents) and head off to the opposite side for the Smoking Section, where we’d puff on Lucky Strikes or Kool cigarettes. I can still taste tobacco when I think of Martin and Lewis in “Three Ring Circus” and “Artists and Models.”

That all ended when I reached high school in ’56 and hung out with a bunch of like-minded cinephiliacs. On Saturdays, we’d take the subway to B’way first-runs which cost ninety cents before noon, or else we’d go to MoMA or to assorted revival or foreign films shown around town (“The Lady Vanishes,” “Rififi,” “The Seven Samurai”) and eventually to live theater (day-of-perf. standing-room mat. $1.50) and music (Met Opera family-circle standing-room $1.25). I financed these expeditions by turning my thirty-cent school-lunch money into subway tokens and movie tickets. Like most addicts, I grew very pale and certainly very thin. For many years afterward, I hardly went to the Alpine (though I recall standing on line there for “Psycho” when they denied admission after the feature had begunâ€"a gimmick associated with this film’s release in Summer ‘60). Certainly appropriate, the last film I saw at that theater was “Midnight Cowboy” in Fall ‘69.

BoxOfficeBill
BoxOfficeBill on December 29, 2004 at 10:50 pm

whoops — that’s “neighborhood,” not “naborhood.”

BoxOfficeBill
BoxOfficeBill on December 29, 2004 at 10:46 pm

RobertR wondered what the Alpine’s interior might have looked like before it was subdivided. It looked like a gigantic oven. At least to my childish imagination, that’s how it compared when, one day in the late ‘40s, I peered into our kitchen stove and asked whether anyone could show a movie inside it. The Alpine was big and boxy, and it appeared all the more so because it had no balcony. Neighborhood lore had it that the builders discovered a structural flaw in construction and so, instead of adding a balcony, they extended the length of the building to accommodate a larger orchestra. You can in fact see two distinct stages of construction if you examine the building on its 69 Street side, walking east from 5 Avenue: the larger unit close to the avenue has a darker-toned brick; then there’s a cement pilaster, and the second, smaller unit in reddish brick continues eastward in a distinctively different, aesthetically mismatched style.

The interior likewise divided into two large, squarish units. The bigger one was dimly lit by four orange-tinted stained-glass light fixtures high on the ceiling. The smaller one close to the screen was even more dimly lit by four tiny gray light fixtures, whence my comparison to the family oven. The floor plan followed these unit-divisions, with a trans-horizontal aisle paralleling the division. Five vertical aisles produced four sections of seats. The matron-supervised Children’s Section occupied the far-left section in the front part of the house. The Smokers’ Section occupied the entire right-half of the house.

Because of the orchestra’s forward sprawl, the pre-CinemaScope screen appeared quite small from the rear sections. Except for a small apron in front of the screen, there was no stage, and instead of a proscenium, the area around the screen was draped with dark maroon curtains. The curtains parted just enough to reveal the screen and its thin black border. Both apron and curtains were eliminated to make room for a curved panoramic screen in Fall ’53. The latter, quite sizable but in the old 1.33 ratio, was replaced the following Spring by a wider but flat CinemaScope screen, which Loew’s management advertised as the largest in Brooklyn. In that dark, cavernous space, hardly any screen could have been large enough. In this same space, the sound echoed off the smooth, undecorated walls, especially when the house was empty. Though to this kid’s eyes, the single-screen Alpine might have looked like an oven, it had a super air-conditioning system and none of the musty smell that I remember at other naborhood theaters.

Scholes188
Scholes188 on December 25, 2004 at 6:52 pm

Thanks for the update.

BoxOfficeBill
BoxOfficeBill on December 24, 2004 at 10:04 pm

The Alpine does not take a bow in SNF. The opening scene occurs on 86 Street and 20 Avenue near the Benson theater. You might discern Loew’s Oriental in the distance. The sociological distinctions in this film are exquisite. Vinnie’s girl-friend lives near 4 Avenue, and a key scene in her neighborhood takes place on 86 Street between 4th and 5th Avenues in front of a Key Food supermarket (is it still there? Century dept store now dominates this block), across the street from the long-gone RKO Shore Road theater. The Odyssey Disco stood on 65 Street and (I’m not exactly sure) 10 Avenue?

Scholes188
Scholes188 on December 24, 2004 at 8:21 pm

Is this the theater that is seen briefly in the movie Saturday Night Fever during the opening scene with John Travolta?

RobertR
RobertR on December 11, 2004 at 7:32 pm

What a huge orchestra this must have been as a single screen.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on December 11, 2004 at 4:30 pm

As I mentioned in the introduction, the Alpine was the first Loew’s theatre to have all of its seats on the ground floor, without a balcony. That later also became true of Loew’s Woodside in Queens, which is now a Roman Catholic Church with much of the original auditorium decor still visible.

Theatrefan
Theatrefan on December 11, 2004 at 3:00 pm

There is a small hallway in the center, that slopes down. Off to the left of the hallway there are two large auditoriums numbers 1 & 2, To the right of the hallway are five much, much smaller theatres, numbers 3-7, the screens for these smaller theatres face a different direction than the two main ones. The Alpine never had a balcony so all the theatres are on one main level of the theatre.

RobertR
RobertR on December 8, 2004 at 2:31 pm

What is the layout of the auditoriums here?

irajoel
irajoel on December 8, 2004 at 2:17 pm

Since moving to bay ridge a few years back, I’ve been to the Alpine twice, the 1st time was ok, only 5.00 to get in for the 1st show, however the 2nd time was terrible, they keep the lights on near the screen, and when I finally got fed up and went to complain the teenagers working there looked at me like I was nuts. Needless to say I have not been back since.

longislandmovies
longislandmovies on August 27, 2004 at 3:20 am

THIS IS ONE OF THE WORST MULTI PLEX JOBS, ALWAYS WEAK BOX OFFICE # HERE

gzoltowski
gzoltowski on July 16, 2004 at 3:43 am

I agree with CoolGuyCarl, let’s rmember what was good about the Alpine. Some Good Memories. I remember staying in line in 1965, which went around the corner, around the furniture store, to see “The Greatest Story Ever Told”. The Sean Connery James Bond Movies, “A Hard Days Night”, “Cat Ballou”. “The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming”, etc.. Couldn’t beat the popcorn !

Theatrefan
Theatrefan on June 25, 2004 at 2:16 pm

Here is some information on the seating capacity for each of the Alpine’s auditoriums. Theatre 1: 393 seats, Theatre 2: 373 seats, Theatre 3: 211 seats, Theatre 4: 216 seats, Theatre 5: 188 seats, Theatre 6: 188 seats, Theatre 7: 191 seats.

HomegaMan
HomegaMan on June 22, 2004 at 4:16 pm

Since when did this site become a place to vent anger and frustration at the high cost of the movie going experience?
The Alpine showed two films in their theater from the late 60’s until the early 90’s when it beame a Cineplex and addedd six more screens. My cousin was manager there from 1988 til 1991 when it was still a two theater house and they were showing “Flatliners” with “Excorsist III”. Though the Alpine has declined because of the age of the workers who tend to denegrate the movie experience with their classic Teenage Angst, the theater is still better than The Fortway up the blocks. My nephew worked there recently and says it’s getting worse.

Orlando
Orlando on May 7, 2004 at 2:43 am

P.S. This is one of Loew’s original theatres celebrating it’s 82nd year in business in it’s original new owners' hands albeit tne name changes. A Loew’s single theatre until 1982 and then “Golden”-divided, 1988 “Cineplex-Odeon” face lifted, “Loew’s-Cineplex” whenever that happened, who cares?, and now Onex. This of all thier Brooklyn holdings at the time of the “100th anniversary of Loews” campaign should be taken care of, moneywise. Without the Alpine and other Loew’s houses no longer around, the contributions these Loew’s made to the company should not be overlooked. When theatre stockrooms are fumigated for vermin, the inventory of stock within is vulnerable to foriegn odors of the pesticide sprayed. All should be cautious!! The profits that the concession stands make lead them to sell everything but the traditional movie snacks and sometimes proper food handling is not being adhered to. My rule of thumb with popcorn, if it is not being popped at the counter as you are buying it, don’t buy it. For the high popcorn prices charged, 3.85 plus tax (prices at Clearview Cinemas) for one ounce of raw corn popped is highway robbery and no real butter either!

Orlando
Orlando on May 7, 2004 at 2:17 am

This theatre just made the CBS-TV survey listing of unsanitary food handling conditions this past week based on the last year’s inspectitions. Shame on you, Onex!

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 5, 2004 at 6:38 pm

The Alpine’s first sub-division took place in 1976, when it was twinned by architect John Teramo.