Alpine Theatre

6817 Fifth Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11220

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Loew's Alpine Theatre exterior

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Alpine Theatre in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, was originally a Loew’s theatre and first opened on June 6, 1921. Its building cost, according to Variety of 6/10/21, 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.”

The opening program at the Alpine Theatre 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 and Sunday.

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.

Contributed by Warren G. Harris

Recent comments (view all 163 comments)

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on January 8, 2012 at 12:59 pm

I am.

They only harassed people on the Bay Ridge side of the Gowanus. Didn’t you ever wonder why Spike Lee movies played to all white audiences at the Alpine? Or why horror and big action movies always did better at the Fortway even if they were move-overs from the Alpine?

techman707
techman707 on January 8, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Al, To be honest, I really never noticed or even thought about “who” comprised the customers at the Alpine. If there was any trouble at the Alpine, I was TOTALLY unaware of it. Since I would regularly speak to some of the security people (who as you know were all off duty cops), they never mentioned any problems downstairs. I’m really surprised and saddened to hear that any Alpine employees had any problems with the local police. I would have thought that if any employees had any problems with local police, the security cops could straighten it out for them (of course it depends on the type of problem). Unlike other theatres where local police would “hide out” in the balcony in cold weather, I never saw any local police even come into the Alpine. I just assumed that with all the off duty cops that were hired as “security”, there was never any reason for local police to be around.

As you know, I stopped working at the Alpine in 1996, so I wouldn’t have been aware of anything that might have taken place after that time and would have been unaware of anything that took place at the Fortway after I stopped doing service for GTM in 1988. However, from your description, it doesn’t sound good and I’m sorry to hear about it. It’s something that I really wish I didn’t hear about.

In any event, have a HAPPY and HEALTHY NEW YEAR.

techman707
techman707 on January 9, 2012 at 2:36 pm

“AlAlvarez on January 8, 2012 at 1:59pm

I am."

LOL- Al, when I saw this post it made me think about “The Ten Commandments” when Charlton Heston is on the mountain and he says “Who should I tell them sent me?” And you hear a voice that says “I am that I am….you can tell them I AM sent you.”

techman707
techman707 on January 9, 2012 at 11:21 pm

Popeye used to say “I ams what I am and that’s all thats I am….I’m Popeye the Sailor Man”-toot toot.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on March 10, 2012 at 10:53 am

I used to come here all the time when it was a Cineplex Odeon, but haven’t been back since it became an independant. I’m glad it’s still open.

techman707
techman707 on March 10, 2012 at 4:20 pm

saps- I did the design and installation of the Alpine when it was converted to 7 theatres in 1986 and was my last theatre installation. I also worked there as a projectionist until 1997. Within a couple of years (or less), ALL THEATRES will have to convert to digital projection. Because it’s so expensive, independent theatres, like the Alpine, might wind up having to close. The way things have been going with home theatres, DVD and Blu-ray release dates, etc., sadly, I don’t see a very bright future for theatres in general. I think the film companies might see that they shot themselves in the foot with all their current policies. While they helped the big theatre chains with digital conversions, the independents didn’t fare so well.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on March 10, 2012 at 4:56 pm

I stopped coming because I moved out of Brooklyn in 1996, but I wonder if I ever bumped into you in the lobby! (And since they played commercial fare available everywhere else, there was no point in coming back to Bay Ridge just to see a mainstream release.)

techman707
techman707 on March 10, 2012 at 10:43 pm

If you came to the Alpine often, there’s a good chance we bumped into each other.-LOL

If you look at the entire city, there aren’t many theatres left and the ones that are left are mostly LARGE multiplexs. There’s a group on Facebook “trying” to save the old RKO Keith’s in Flushing from being turned into an apartment building. While the entire building was given landmark status in the 80’s after it closed, it was recinded and only the lobby now retains landmark status. However, the first owner wrecked the landmarked lobby before they stopped him. Now, after sitting all these years, the inside of this REAL movie palace is in ruins. To “restore” it to its original condition would be a job that makes me shudder.

techman707
techman707 on August 5, 2012 at 8:18 am

Twinned in 1976: Boxoffice

Turned into 7 plex 1986: Me -L0L

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