Loew's Pitkin Theatre

1501 Pitkin Avenue,
Brownsville,
Brooklyn, NY 11212

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Showing 176 - 200 of 281 comments

PKoch
PKoch on March 20, 2006 at 6:59 pm

Thanks, Herbie, what was your old neighborhood ?

hdl37
hdl37 on March 20, 2006 at 6:57 pm

since you are probably from my old neighborhood I forgive you.

PKoch
PKoch on March 20, 2006 at 6:52 pm

Yes, that was rather tasteless and cynical of me. I apologize.

hdl37
hdl37 on March 20, 2006 at 5:47 pm

P.Koch

Do you still have your arm bands?

PKoch
PKoch on March 20, 2006 at 12:26 pm

a.k.a., “Oy Gut Gevalt, There Goes The Neighborhood !”

Co-directed by David Susskind and Steven Spielberg.

“This week’s current social controversy is brought to you by …”

PKoch
PKoch on March 20, 2006 at 12:23 pm

Herbie, you’re not a Volkswagen, are you ?

Ah, Brownsville : militant and criminal blacks vs. corny old show business and Garment District Jews !

Tune in next week for yet another episode of that ever-popular Marxist game, “Class Struggle” !

Same Bat Time, same Bat Channel !

Directed by Spike Lee.

It’s better than Ghettopoly !

PKoch
PKoch on March 20, 2006 at 12:17 pm

Thanks, Herbie, laugh riots are better than race riots.

Nary a dry eye or seat in the house, eh ?

hdl37
hdl37 on March 20, 2006 at 11:52 am

Hopkinson theatre was on Hopkinson between Sutter and Pitkin.
I lived on Sutter and Strauss. Used to go there for 5 hour laugh riots.

Herbie

StatenIsland1
StatenIsland1 on February 6, 2006 at 8:15 pm

Who owns this theatre? I would love to see the inside and pictures on how it looks now. Maybe someone can do a documentary of closed theatres in new york and they can show us the insides.

Kris

PKoch
PKoch on January 19, 2006 at 2:33 pm

alkan, have you looked for “Brein’s Theater” on this site, or on Cinematour ?

morralkan
morralkan on December 27, 2005 at 10:22 pm

I’m not sure it was a Yiddish theater, but, when I was riding my bike down Pitkin Avenue a few years ago, I noticed an old building perhaps 15 blocks east of the Loew’s Pitkin that had “Brein’s Theater” carved into the stonework over its front door. Has anyone heard of this place before? Its name certainly sounds like it could have been a Yiddish theater once upon a time. (As I remember, it is some sort of church now.

PKoch
PKoch on December 27, 2005 at 8:53 pm

Thanks, Warren.

PKoch
PKoch on December 27, 2005 at 5:25 pm

Thank you, Sylvia. Please, where is the Manhattan JCC that the Folksbiene now does its productions at ?

I know there used to be a thriving Yiddish Theater scene around Second Avenue and East 7th St. in Manhattan (corrections welcome).

Was there ever a Yiddish Theater scene in Brooklyn, perhaps at Loew’s Pitkin ? Not off-topic at all.

creativa
creativa on December 27, 2005 at 4:03 pm

Off-topic.Yiddish theater is still alive and well. New Yorkers can check out the Folksbiene, now in its 90th consecutive year, doing productions at the Manhattan JCC.

Sylvia Schildt

PKoch
PKoch on December 27, 2005 at 2:30 pm

Thanks, Robert R !

“Rosemary’s Baby” at the Pitkin ! Oy gevalt ! Meine Yiddische Mama, Ruth Gordon, mit der dybbuk ! Whatever happened to the Yiddish Theater ?

29 screens among the plexes in Brooklyn any more ? Someone more ambitious than me, can count them !

RobertR
RobertR on December 26, 2005 at 4:32 pm

Check out this ad for “Rosemary’s Baby”, it shows the Pitkin was open as late as 1968. Can you believe it’s playing in 29 theatres just in Brooklyn? Are there even 29 screens among the plexes in Brooklyn anymore?
View link

PKoch
PKoch on December 23, 2005 at 1:14 pm

Thanks for your answer, Sylvia, and thank you, alkan, for YOUR post.

The closest thing Ridgewood had to the Kishke King was the hot dog and knish stand at the “depot” : Myrtle Wyckoff and Palmetto, intersection of M and L subways, and start of the B26, B38, B52, B54, Q55, and Q58 bus lines. A bit fancier was Gottlieb’s Jewish Deli Restaurant on the north side of Myrtle, just to the east of the depot, between Palmetto and Woodbine. I grew up in Ridgewood on Jewish deli food, among other kinds of food.

Did you ever go to Knish Nosh on Queens Blvd. in Forest Hills, near the 67th Avenue subway station ?

Spring and summer 1968 my mother went to a doctor on East 98th St. near the Rutland Road IRT el station, between, I believe, Clarkson and Winthrop, so I got to know that area, on the cusp between Brownsville and East Flatbush, a bit. I think there was a small Jewish deli restaurant there that had all kinds of knishes, kasha and groats and maybe spinach, as well as potato, the round kind with a burned-looking crust, like the ones at Canarsie Pier, as opposed to Gabila’s knishes, “King Of Potato Pies”, which were more common, and looked like golden-brown square pillows with sharp corners.

morralkan
morralkan on December 21, 2005 at 8:26 pm

Reading these most recent posts, I feel a little bit young. At the age of 57, this is definitely not the way I feel all of the time. As I said earlier, I live in Crown Heights, so I am still close enough to have passed by the Pitkin many times in recent years. I went to movies mostly at the Pitkin and the Sutter.

At the Pitkin, I distinctly remember seeing Teahouse of the August Moon and Around the World in Eighty Days. I’m sure I saw many others, but perhaps they remain in my mind because they were both fairly “adult” films and I was still quite young at the time they played there. Like you, Sylvia and Beverly, I also remember those clouds and stars in the Pitkin’s ceiling.

Outside the theatre, I definitely remember the store selling coconut milk. I remember begging my mother many times to let me buy some. When she eventually gave in, I remember thinking how terrible it tasted and wondering why I had wanted it in the first place. It must have had something to do with those carved coconut heads.

I also remember the Brooklyn Women’s Hospital. I lived directly across the street from it at 1402 Eastern Parkway. The hospital began an expansion on the Eastern Parkway side sometime around 1957 -58. (I’m fairly sure of the date since this is when we moved out of the area.) Apparently because of changes in the neighborhood, this expansion halted in midstream. For many years, the iron expansion skeleton stood there looking quite forlorn. I gather that the hospital closed years ago, but I don’t know when. Just in the past year, however, the skeleton was removed and the hospital was rehabbed into apartments with its entrance on the Lincoln Place side. It’s too bad they did not make a nice entrance on the Eastern Parkway side.

creativa
creativa on December 21, 2005 at 8:03 pm

Several comments —

I got to the subway but unable to access the images yet — will work on it.

Schildt in this case is Dutch — my late husband was from Holland — it can mean a picture or a shield in the medieval sense of a coat of arms or it can mean a sign.

I saw your allusion to Hoffman’s — there was a sit-down restaurant and a very popular cafeteria — eating out was not in the family budget, so I think I only ate there once or twice. But of course I passed in front of it thousands of times – there were always people (mainly men) milling in front of it with toothpicks in their mouths. It was a kind of social hangout. And if memory doesn’t fail me, there was an upstairs, which occasionally served as a shul for the High Holy Days.

Henrietta was the continuous live performer — but I do remember there was also vaudeville – I have seen Buck and Bubbles, The Ritz Brothers and I forget who else. What I remember clearly was a marquee sign

5 VAUDEVILLE 5
Acts Acts

The vaudeville show, when offered, and the movie line-up were included in the price of admission.

Saturday afternoon was mostly Loew’s Pitkin Day for kids in the neighborhood, unless we were really turned off by the main attraction.

The line-up was normally a main top run movie, followed by a B-movie. There were also serials which we called the “chapters” like “The Perils of Pauline” which featured cliffhanger installments, typically 12, one each weekend. There were the cartoons, specially selected short subjects, travbelogues, and of course the Paramount News. We would show up when the lineup started – around noon – I carried a bag of sandwiches and fruits – along with money for drinks and candy TO SHARE (nonpareils were a favorite) and I doled the food out in bits all through Saturday afternoon. All of this would end about 5- 5:30 when they through the kids out. We sat, all 5 of us, in a special children’s section monitored by a matron and usher. If we wanted to see the main feature over again, we would split up and sneak one by one over to the adults section and glom onto a grown-up, who would agree to say we were with him or her. That way, we could finish by 6:30 or 7, just in time for supper. A great day for 25 cents apiece minus treats.

Kishke King was a place – a deli on Rockaway and Pitkin that sold kishke and knishes (Jewish style – no pork) and foot-long hot dogs. You took your purchases home or ate them in the street — long before fast food. My Kishke King story is about their long-standing promise to give out free foot-long hot dogs if the Dodgers ever won the World Series and I was there the day they made good their promise —a mob scene!!! The lines wound several times around the block.

Bev
Bev on December 21, 2005 at 7:04 pm

Sylvia, I too remember that beautiful Pitkin ceiling with stars and drifting clouds. A memorable highlight for me from those early years (I was born 1923) was when Henrietta Cameron came for lunch at my Dad’s restaurant (“Hoffman’s”) a block away from the Pitkin. I couldn’t have been more thrilled if she were the Queen of England !

PKoch
PKoch on December 21, 2005 at 6:36 pm

Thanks for your answers, Sylvia.

Who was the Kishke King ? Did you ever hear of “the prince of Pitkin Avenue” ?

Half my ancestry is Polish, so I grew up thinking that kishka was pig’s blood and rice inside a sausage casing. Ugh !

There’s even a polka, “Who Stole The Kishka ?”

My small “Oy vey – it’s Yiddish !” glossary says that “kishkes” means guts, or intestines.

Another word I grew up with was “schmata”, which seems to be both Polish and Yiddish for “rag” :

“Oy gut, Mama, take that schmata off your head !”

I am VERY MUCH enjoying your trip down memory lane !

If you go to www.nycsubway.org, Station By Station, IRT Brooklyn Line, Saratoga Avenue, you will see the brown brick hulk of the Ambassador in about ten images of that el station.

My Uncle Joe, the younger of my two uncles, was born November 9, 1934.

My dad, who grew up in Bushwick, recalls Murder Inc. as active also in the Bway Junction – East NY area.

My wife and I just watched “The Bishop’s Wife”, with Cary Grant, Loretta Young, and David Niven, last weekend. One of our Christmas movies.

What does your last name mean ? I should know, because I’m half German, but I don’t. I ask, because I’ve seen ads for a Schildtwachter Fuel Oil Company.

creativa
creativa on December 21, 2005 at 5:42 pm

Would love those photos – might even inspire me to write a sequel — the book contains what photos I could muster including a picture of the Kishke King.

I was born in 1934 at the Brooklyn Women’s Hospital – am the eldest of 5 kids (all still living thank God) – went to PS 175, JHS 84 (my brothers went to JHS 66) then Jeff. Although my sister was able to go to 156, Arthur Summers JHS and then Tilden (the traitor!!).

The book is technically out of print — but the main library at Grand Army Plaza bought a copy when it first came out. I was very proud of that. It was a little like coming home.

Sylvia

creativa
creativa on December 21, 2005 at 5:33 pm

Re: Loew’s Ambassador – when we moved to Legion Street it moved into our lives a bit — although we still preferred the Loew’s Pitkin — as I recall the Ambassador it was right under the Saratoga Avenue El station stop and there was a newspaper stand cum candy/soda joint across the street – I read years later that this was the HQ of Murder Inc, but I did often pick up papers, magazines and candy when coming home from the city. (Knew nothing about Murder Inc’s role until years later.)

I remember one movie I saw at the Ambassador — with Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant – I think it was called “Indiscreet” – a lighthearted farce.

Glad you are enjoying my trip down memory lane.

PKoch
PKoch on December 21, 2005 at 5:28 pm

Thank you, Sylvia. Mayn own shtetele ist Bushwick und Ridgewood (Ritchvoot). I am a youth of 50. Where can I find your collection of stories, “Remembering Brownsville” ?

Perhaps “Bway” on this site could get a current picture of 38 Herzl St. for you.

My condolences on your physical handicap(s).

May I ask what year you were born ? I ask so I will know where you stand re : my generation and my father’s (he was born in 1919).

Around 1940 or so my dad dated a gal named Anne Scherbach who lived on Pitkin near Pennsylvania. They went to Loew’s Pitkin once.

Thanks again !

creativa
creativa on December 21, 2005 at 5:19 pm

We must all be nuts — waxing so nostalgic over a movie theater. But I guess it was such a rich experience, so different from our everyday poverty. Yet, we did have stuff I don’t think inner city communities have today and in abundance – we had the Pitkin, and the other ancillary movies, within walking distance. Each was a window on something better than we had and that I suppose fed optimism. Also, we had an olympic sized outdoor pool at Betsy Head, lush playgrounds at Lincoln Terrance Park, and a rich stream of fascinating retail shops (mostly beyond our means) all along the Avenue. Then there was the HES on Hopkinson. Weddings at various catering halls which meant free live wedding music (klezmer/pop) streaming from their windows in summer. The Stone Avenue Library just for kids. And for a pittance you could catch the bus or IRT and see all of Manhattan, the Bronx, and of course Prospect Park, Ebbetts Field, Coney Island, Brighton Beach. We never lacked for amusement, much of it free, did we?

Sylvia