Alpine Cinema

6817 5th Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11220

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Loew's Alpine Theatre exterior

The Alpine Theatre in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, was opened on June 6, 1921 by Loew’s Inc. The opening program was Paramount’s “City of Silent Men” plus shorts and a newsreel. Music was provided by a resident orchestra of twelve, including an organist. The admission price was 15 cents for weekday matinees and 25 cents at night and all day on Saturday & Sunday. Its building cost, according to Variety of June 10, 1921, was $420,000, including the real estate. Carlson & Wiseman were the architects.

At the time, the Alpine Theatre was the first Loew’s theatre anywhere with its entire seating capacity (2,200) on one floor, without a balcony or gallery. The tapered auditorium was 100 feet at its widest, with the last of the 55 rows of seats about 76 feet from the screen. The stage had no fly gallery or grid-iron, but had an apron just large enough to accommodate a vocalist or musical instrumentalist between film showings. Variety described the Alpine Theatre’s interior as “decorated in a tan and gold color scheme, the general atmosphere created being one of brightness. The side walls are paneled and painted in an imitation of tapestry. The floors are carpeted with red velvet. A good system of floor pitch gives a clear view of the screen from any part of the house.

At the time, the Alpine Theatre’s nearest opposition was Fox’s Bay Ridge Theatre. Loew’s eventually took over the Bay Ridge Theatre and made it second-run to the Alpine Theatre.

The Alpine Theatre was twinned in 1976 and converted into seven screens in 1986. By 2015 an eighth screen had been added. It is independently operated.

Contributed by Warren G. Harris

Recent comments (view all 189 comments)

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on November 25, 2018 at 2:35 am

1941 tax photo added

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on March 31, 2019 at 2:44 pm

Hello-

in terms of being in continual operation(which includes being closed for renovations) since the day it opened isn’t this the oldest movie theater in NYC?

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on October 9, 2019 at 10:39 am

Numerous photos taken by patrons of the current Alpine multiplex can be viewed here

DJM78
DJM78 on May 10, 2020 at 3:58 pm

I worked in the Fortway theater back in the mid 90’s. The Alpine was our sister theater with Cineplex Odeon. Maybe I’m bias but I liked the Fortway so much better. To me the Alpine had no charter. Granted I never saw it as a single, in it’s original form.

hdtv267
hdtv267 on June 4, 2020 at 3:20 am

Peaceful, positive protest in Bay Ridge today (6/3/20) posted to photo section. Passing the Alpine theatre, taken from Will Greenwald’s twitter via MST3K/RiffTrax Bill Corbett. Bill loved the photo and protesters going through his old hood, but also noted that the Alpine is where he got the bus to high school every day.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on July 26, 2020 at 3:29 pm

Hello-

was my comment of March 31, 2019 true in that this is the oldest movie theater in continual operation in NYC?

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on October 29, 2020 at 10:56 am

During the Alpine’s current pandemic closure, owner Nick Nicolaou is doing extensive renovations to the nearly 100-year-old interior, according to an article in yesterday’s New York Times. Nicolaou also operates Cinema Village in Manhattan and the Cinemart in Queens, and is reportedly selling another cinema “deep in Brooklyn” that he’d been leasing out. Full text can be found here

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on October 29, 2020 at 11:12 am

P.S. The unnamed theatre “deep in Brooklyn” that is up for sale is very probably the Cinema Kings Highway (original Jewel).

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on October 29, 2020 at 12:32 pm

Hello-

its nice the owner of this theater is using the down time to upgrade this theater. so the oldest continually operated movie theater in NYC will be it tip top shape when it re-opens. I hope other theater owners are doing likewise.

ridethectrain
ridethectrain on October 29, 2020 at 3:44 pm

After Loews Theatres had the theatre, Golden Theatres made it seven screens prior to Cineplex Odeon acquisition of Golden Theatres.

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