Loew's Pitkin Theatre

1501 Pitkin Avenue,
Brownsville,
Brooklyn, NY 11212

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Showing 201 - 225 of 281 comments

creativa
creativa on December 21, 2005 at 9:10 am

I was born and raised in Brownsville. First at 38 Herzl Street (corner Pitkin, just 3 blocks away – and then when I was 17 we moved to Legion Street at Dumont (above the pool hall) also 3 blocks from the Pitkin. It was the place I got my news as well as culture growing up.

Ah, memories – I wrote about it in my collection of stories “Remembering Brownsville/Mayn Shtetele Bronsvil”. When you look at the grandeur in full detail and remember the crowded conditions in which we lived (in my case 7 people in 3 very tiny rooms), it’s amazing.

If you do get over to the Ptikin, could you snap a shot of 38 Herzl Street which is now the New Cibao Grocery?

I live in Baltimore these days and am physically handicapped so even a trip is pretty problematic.

Sylvia

PKoch
PKoch on December 21, 2005 at 9:09 am

Sylvia Schildt, thank you for all this wonderful information !

What was your past experience of Loew’s Ambassador Theater at Saratoga and Livonia Avenues, or have you already commented on that theater’s page, on this site ?

Lastly, do you know a gentleman named Saul Zaveler from your former neighborhood of Brownsville ?

I thank you in advance for your replies.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 21, 2005 at 9:04 am

That would be a great contribution to this site, alkan. Hope you make out.

morralkan
morralkan on December 21, 2005 at 8:53 am

Maybe I should look up the current ownership of this building in the Brooklyn Hall of Records? Perhaps the current owner would allow me to enter the unused area with a camera? Since I currently live in Crown Hts, I’m not all that far away and I’ve passed by the theater many times on my bike. It always reminds me of the days when I lived not 2 blocks away (from 1949 to 1957).

RobertR
RobertR on December 21, 2005 at 8:25 am

I would love to see what it looks like now. I wonder if there is anything left?

creativa
creativa on December 21, 2005 at 7:44 am

And as I stare further, isn’t that niche in the front where the organ stood??? It used to magically come up from below and then descend and there used to be a sign “Henrietta at the Organ” if memory serves me.

Now all that’s missing to share with my kid is the grand staircase and lobby. Or maybe the ladies lounge outer area.

Heartfelt thanks,

Sylvia

creativa
creativa on December 21, 2005 at 7:07 am

Got them and thanks. But are you sure these are the Pitkin interiors ??? I remember a darker ambience with stars and floating clouds — of course it’s been over 5 decades since I was last there. And these are fully lit sans atmospherics.

Sylvia

creativa
creativa on December 21, 2005 at 7:07 am

Got them and thanks. But are you sure these are the Pitkin interiors ??? I remember a darker ambience with stars and floating clouds — of course it’s been over 5 decades since I was last there. And these are fully lit sans atmospherics.

Sylvia

creativa
creativa on December 20, 2005 at 11:02 am

oops – there’s only one “m” in charm.net

Sylvia Schildt

creativa
creativa on December 20, 2005 at 10:55 am

I get exteriors at this post, not interiors — got another date? Can you e-mail me a photo at ?

Also interested in pitures of Loew’s Pitkin ephemera – such as announcements, ads, beauty contest materials, etc.

Sylvia Schildt

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on December 20, 2005 at 10:54 am

This is an amazing theatre from the outside, too. When I drive by I can only stare in wonder.

creativa
creativa on December 20, 2005 at 9:47 am

The Loew’s Palace was located on Strauss Street cnorner East New York Avenue amd usually showed movies a week or so after the Loew’s Pitkin at a lower ticket price. It was less fancy and had a very tough dyed blonde matron named Sally, who kept a tight reign on neighborhood kids.

The Hopkinson on Hopkinson Avenue, between Pitkin and Sutter Avenues, did become a movie house, and after WWII specialized in foreign films including Russian, German, Italian and French (re-runs of pre-war classics, as well as showing those films that were in vogue at the artsy-fartsy NY art cinemas.

The Stadium on Chester – off Pitkin and Sutter – showed lots of B pictures — Charlie Chans and the like.

The Sutter, near the IRT Sutter Ave. Rutland Rd. elevated, also showed lots of B pictures.

They all featured special kiddie line-ups for Saturday afternoon.

The fun for a kid was to somehow be able to stay for at least an hour or two after they “kicked the kids out” at 5 or 5:30. It was a challenge. One trick was to change your seat around 4 oclock and line up with an adult in the adult section and get them to say you were with them. That way you got to see the main feature one more time for free and killed time until dinner was ready at home.

Does anyone have any pictures of the Loew’s Pitkin Interior???

sylvia schildt

tomdelay
tomdelay on December 19, 2005 at 3:46 pm

The Loew’s Pitkin organ was a junior version of the larger Robert Morton organs found in Loew’s Jersey, Paradise, 175th Street, Valencia, and Kings. These “Wonder Mortons” were all 4 manual 23 rank jobs with large scales and heavy pressures.

The Loew’s Pitkin Morton was 3 manuals and 14 ranks. I have no idea what became of the organ, but I suspect it was broken up for parts.
A similar Morton organ was installed in Loew’s Fairmont.

As a point of fact, the organs mentioned above exist as follows:

Loew’s Jersey Jersey City, moved and reinstalled in The Arlington Theatre Santa Barbara, CA

Loews' Valencia: Organ spent many years in a private home and is now slated to be installed in the Balboa Theatre in San Diego, CA

Loew’s 175th Street: Intact but unplayable, as far as I know.

Loew’s Kings: Broken up for parts. Organ was to have been installed in Town Hall NYC by ATOS, but, some mess took place and the organ broke up. Loew’s Kings console is in a private home in Wheaton, IL. Console now plays the Morton organ from Loew’s Fairmont.

Loew’s Paradise: Organ is to be reinstalled into Loew’s Jersey, Jersey City.

muray
muray on December 19, 2005 at 1:10 pm

Am wondering why Cinema Treasures does not list the “poor man’s Loew’s Pitkin” which was the Loew’s Palace located around the corner from the Pitkin.

PKoch
PKoch on November 16, 2005 at 12:03 pm

Thanks, Denpiano. Around 1940 or so my dad worked at National Biscuit Company at 1000 Pacific Street near Classon Avenue. He took the then-new A train Independent Subway from Bway – East NY to Franklin Avenue. The Fulton Street el had just stopped running in 1940, between downtown Bklyn and Rockaway Avenue.

My dad’s mom bought him new suits for Easter every year in the thriving garment district centering around Rockaway and Pitkin Avenues. They would go on Sundays after church, circa 1930, taking the Wilson – Rockaway Avenue trolley from Bushwick. Some merchants would start grabbing my dad’s mom’s sleeve as she was getting off the trolley :

“New suit for the boy ?”

“Take your hands off me, or I’ll go to your brother’s pushcart down the street !”

-PKoch (Peter)

Denpiano
Denpiano on November 16, 2005 at 8:53 am

PKoch, I lived on Pacific Street between Saratoga & Hopkinson until I was 11 yrs.old. My family went shopping on Pitkin Ave. many times.
They would buy all my suits accross from the Pitkin Theatre & I also recall a guy on the corner who sold coconut drinks. He was easy to remember because he had fake heads with faces & sticks in the noses that scared the heck out of me! (ha,ha)Funny Now! I went to the Pitkin many times and as I said previously ,I was quite impressed even as a young man. It was a very nice area up until we moved in 1963. I don’t remember what a bad area looked like at the age of 11,
to me the Theatre was all I could think about. A couple of years ago, my friend claimed he found the Morton organ console at a guys house that was selling organ parts, he wanted to buy it for me but said it was in bad condition. I guess the “mystery” of these great houses is what kept me interested in theatres till this day.

Denpiano
Denpiano on November 16, 2005 at 8:53 am

PKoch, I lived on Pacific Street between Saratoga & Hopkinson until I was 11 yrs.old. My family went shopping on Pitkin Ave. many times.
They would buy all my suits accross from the Pitkin Theatre & I also recall a guy on the corner who sold coconut drinks. He was easy to remember because he had fake heads with faces & sticks in the noses that scared the heck out of me! (ha,ha)Funny Now! I went to the Pitkin many times and as I said previously ,I was quite impressed even as a young man. It was a very nice area up until we moved in 1963. I don’t remember what a bad area looked like at the age of 11,
to me the Theatre was all I could think about. A couple of years ago, my friend claimed he found the Morton organ console at a guys house that was selling organ parts, he wanted to buy it for me but said it was in bad condition. I guess the “mystery” of these great houses is what kept me interested in theatres till this day.

PKoch
PKoch on November 15, 2005 at 10:33 am

Warren, thanks for the correction on Loew’s 175th Street.

BTW, I tend to picture you as resembling the actor Everett Sloane when I read your posts.

Denpiano, thanks for disclosing your age. You’re welcome to my descriptions. Most of my childhood movie experience was at the RKO Madison and Ridgewood Theaters, which also have pages on this site.

I, too, often looked away from the movie screen while there. What I noticed most were the balcony box seats off to both sides of the screen, the design of the ceiling, which reminded me of gathered drapes and the planet Saturn seen from below, and, at the RKO Madison, a luminous clock on the wall to the left of the screen, which was bright enough to be read but not so bright as to distract from the screen.

So your early movie-going was to the Pitkin, not Loew’s Jersey City. I think there are links on this page to how the interior of the Pitkin used to look, and how the exterior looks now.

The only movie theater pipe organ I heard as a kid was at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan.

Your contribution to this page is valuable, because you experienced the Pitkin in its last few years before it closed. Please elaborate on your memories of what Brownsville was like, 1959-1961.

A friend of mine used to live on Georgia Avenue, near Livonia Avenue, about that time, before she and her family moved to near the Avenue U station on the Brighton Line.

Some time toward the end of the 1930’s, my dad, who was from Bushwick, dated a gal who lived near Pitkin and Pennsylvania Avenues, and went to Loew’s Pitkin with her. He remembers it as a beautiful theater.

Denpiano
Denpiano on November 14, 2005 at 3:15 pm

PKoch- I don’t usually give my age away, however, what the heck! I’m 53.. Thanks for your description of the 3-D banner and the “movie theatre smell” you describe. I remember it well, I went to the Pitkin quite a few times between 1959-1961. As I described in an earlier comment, I really never looked at the movie, I would look around at everything else that the eye could see in the dark. I remember asking to see the orchestra pit, but the usher would'nt let me “Down There” !! I was quite upset to say the least, but, after all, I was a little kid with no clout. I wish I could have heard the Morton pipe organ, that would have been neat. I understand it was quite powerful for its size due to larger scaling of the pipework.
An older friend of mine described it as sounding really good.

PKoch
PKoch on November 14, 2005 at 4:35 am

Denpiano, your description of the Jersey reads a lot like Loews Valencia, the Queens Wonder Theater of which the Loew’s Jersey was one. The others were the 168th St. Theater in Manhattan, where Rev. Ike used to have his services, Loew’s Paradise in The Bronx, mentioned in the 1955 Academy Award-winning film, “Marty”, and Loew’s Kings on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, which has a page on this site, but which I think is still a rotting, unused hulk.

How old are you, Denpiano ? I will turn fifty on this coming Thursday, the 17th. I remember MelloRol soft ice cream cones also, and the blue, white and yellow three-D icicled block letters on the horizontal banner out front, advertising “HEALTHFULLY AIR CONDITIONED CONDITIONED”, and that inviting universal movie theater smell beckoning the customers.

You read like you’re due for a visit to the Jersey in Jersey City. Unlike the other four Loew’s Wonder Theaters, it’s still showing movies !!! Not sitting forlorn in poor condition at all !

Ov vey iz mir, I’m not sure what condition Loew’s Pitkin is in now.

Denpiano
Denpiano on November 12, 2005 at 6:01 pm

It really saddens me to see this old childhood friend in such poor condition. I was a little fellow in the late 50’s but do remember this theatre as a beautiful ( and incredibly cold in summer) theatre.
We would walk up to the box office on a summer day to see Jerry Lewis as the Bellboy and the cold air coming from inside was simply incredible! In to the theatre we would go , my parents would buy me a mellow roll? ice cream, and into the auditorium we would go.
I remember missing a lot of the film because I was looking at all the
statues on the sides and the blue ceiling. Do I recall a blue lit cove under the balcony when sitting in the back of the orchestra section? What a great place, I feel honored to have seen such great architecture and design!

PKoch
PKoch on October 31, 2005 at 8:01 am

Miracles DO happen. Witness the renewal of Loew’s Jersey in Jersey City !

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 31, 2005 at 7:59 am

Jack McCarthy… of course. Good point about the lobby, PKoch. Of course, better still that the whole building be preserved and used as originally intended, but those days are gone. While a few of these magnificent showplaces might have been successfully saved and returned to theatrical use – or at least public space – the days are long gone when one can expect every abandoned 2800 seat theater be restored to former glory. Particularly those situated in residential neighborhoods. If there is no church in need of a space that large, what else can be done with such a structure, unless it is in a viable “downtown” area? This City has already pounded into dust all the viable old palaces it had in the Times Square and mid-town area. Those that remain on the fringes that are not already occupied and cared for by one church or another (Loew’s Valencia, Regent, Loew’s 175th Street, etc) hang on thin threads of hope. So far, the Loew’s Paradise in The Bronx seems to be the only one to break from that paradigm. Only time will tell what kind of a run the Paradise will have in the 21st Century. My fingers are crossed.

PKoch
PKoch on October 31, 2005 at 6:56 am

That would have been Jack McCarthy, EdSolero. Eugene McCarthy aspired to the Democratic presidential candidacy in 1968. He had the support of many young people to the tune of “Be clean for Gene”, but lost out to Hubert Humphrey, who of course lost the election to Nixon.

Thanks for the Honeymooners Loews Pitkin reference !

“What a pity to think that lobby has been gutted for retail space!”

Yes, but better retail space than vacant, with winos and homeless squatting there, criminal element lurking there, or a shooting gallery for junkies.