Loew's Pitkin Theatre

1501 Pitkin Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11212

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Loew's Pitkin Theatre in early 1930

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Loew’s Pitkin Theatre opened on November 23, 1929 with Elliot Nugent in “So This is College”, plus on-stage “Cafe de Paree” (originally created for the Capitol Theatre in Manhattan). Initially operating as a premier movie/stage show venue that eventually went to movies only. Multi-tiered theatre with Greek statuary adorning the side walls and proscenium area. It had a Robert Morton 3 Manual, 14 Rank theatre organ too.

Unfortunately the neighborhood went down and the theatre’s fortunes went south as well. Closed in the late-1960’s.

It had a long stint as a church, but the congregation eventually moved out. The entry lobby was converted into retail space (later used as storage), but the theater auditorium itself stood behind a fake wall that was installed in the foyer. Over the 40 years of neglect and dereliction the building gradually became a wreck.

In the Summer of 2010, the building was being prepared to be converted into a school and retail use, which was completed in September 2012.

Contributed by philipgoldberg

Recent comments (view all 291 comments)

Scott on July 2, 2013 at 7:16 am

Nothing I’ve read about the conversion explains which areas of the theatre were restored and which were destroyed. Can someone elaborate on this? I’m guessing the auditorium was leveled, or gutted. Were some of the lobby and foyer spaces saved and restored? I see that the main facade was preserved.

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on July 2, 2013 at 7:47 am

I didn’t think anything was being restored. Pretty sure they gutted the building completely.

Bway on July 2, 2013 at 1:05 pm

The total was a shambles, I don’t know how much was left to restore after the water damage. There were literally hundreds of holes in the roof. I have to say, while it’s sad it can no longer be a theater anymore, they did an absolutely FANTASTIC job with the exterior conversion and restoration. The exterior shell is better than total demolition, so a piece of history is in fact preserved.

Lindengrandchild on March 16, 2016 at 5:37 am

My grandparents, Harry and Sadie Linden, owned the candy store across the street under th elevated trains. I spent my early childhood there.

tapeshare on July 2, 2017 at 2:26 pm

For all you fans who frequented Brownsville’s theaters I am pleased to announce the release of Brooklyn’s Historic Brownsville, a 228-page hardcover photographic history of Brownsville including images of the Pitkin, Sutter, Ambassador, Stone and others, as well as the schools, synagogues and institutions that were the heart of this neighborhood. For more details visit www.tapeshare.com/BrownsvilleBook.html

luckyshow on August 23, 2017 at 6:03 pm

It doesn’t look any worse than the Loew’s King does in pictures I’ve seen. To gut the inside is hardly restoration, the inside was the most of these theaters.

I recall seeing movies here as a kid, Gi GI was one my grandmother brought me to. The ceiling sky fascinated me.

What made the “wonder theaters” like the King different than Pitkin?

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on August 24, 2017 at 7:09 am

When they turned it into a school did they incorporate a gymnasium in there someplace? If they did I’m sure they didn’t save any of the interior. I’m just interested in how they might have fit it into the new design.

LuisV on August 25, 2017 at 8:22 am

I don’t believe any of the interior survived, only the exterior.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on December 3, 2017 at 8:20 pm

Thanks Luis. I was only trying to envision how they reused all that space in the building, and if it was an effective redesign. I’m sure none of the interior was saved. It was junk at the end.

dfc on February 7, 2018 at 11:44 am

Loews Pitkin building recently sold for $53M. http://www.brooklyneagle.com/articles/2018/2/7/revamped-loews-pitkin-movie-theater-brownsville-treasure

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