Alpine Theatre

6817 Fifth Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11220

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Showing 151 - 164 of 164 comments

BoxOfficeBill on December 29, 2004 at 2:46 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 on December 25, 2004 at 10:52 am

Thanks for the update.

BoxOfficeBill on December 24, 2004 at 2:04 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 on December 24, 2004 at 12:21 pm

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

RobertR on December 11, 2004 at 11:32 am

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

theatrefan on December 11, 2004 at 7:00 am

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 on December 8, 2004 at 6:31 am

What is the layout of the auditoriums here?

irajoel on December 8, 2004 at 6:17 am

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 on August 26, 2004 at 7:20 pm


gzoltowski on July 15, 2004 at 7:43 pm

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 on June 25, 2004 at 6:16 am

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 on June 22, 2004 at 8:16 am

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 on May 6, 2004 at 6:43 pm

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 on May 6, 2004 at 6:17 pm

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!