Alpine Theatre

6817 Fifth Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11220

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techman707 on August 5, 2012 at 6:18 am

Twinned in 1976: Boxoffice

Turned into 7 plex 1986: Me -L0L

techman707 on March 10, 2012 at 8:43 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.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on March 10, 2012 at 2:56 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 on March 10, 2012 at 2:20 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 8:53 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 on January 9, 2012 at 9:21 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.

techman707 on January 9, 2012 at 12:36 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 on January 8, 2012 at 11:27 am

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.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 8, 2012 at 10:59 am

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?

DJM78 on January 8, 2012 at 10:07 am

AlAlvarez-Hello Sir. Would you be the same AlAlvarez who was a district manager for Cineplex Odeon? I grew up in Bay Ridge and worked in the Fortway. THe “Bay Ridge Police” you refer to are the officers of the 68 Pct. The 68 Pct covers both the Alpine and former Fortway. The two theaters are roughly ten blocks apart. I don’t see why the “Bay Ridge Police” would intimidate a group in one place and not intimidate that same group ten blocks away at a similar venue.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 8, 2012 at 6:29 am

Techman, you may have noticed that minority audiences were rare at the Alpine and that the grosses reflected their reluctance to come into Bay Ridge at night. Even our ethnic Alpine employees had problems with the local police.

The Fortway attracted the Sunset crowd and had some problems. That is the price we paid for higher grosses.

You are correct about Garth Drabinsky and he now has the criminal record to prove it.

techman707 on January 7, 2012 at 9:43 pm

“DJM78 on January 7, 2012 at 11:55 pm Just read an article about the Alpine. It seems that as of a few years ago Jeffrey Deneroff still owned the building which is the Alpine.”

That could be, I haven’t kept up with it. I know that Nick Nicolaou was leasing the Alpine from Golden after Loews Cineplex (or whatever they were calling themselves at that point) gave up the theatre. He still there as far as I know. I wonder if he’s converted to DCI….or how many theatres has he converted?

techman707 on January 7, 2012 at 9:34 pm

Al, While you know that I agree that Bernie Goldberg was an a-hole (by the same token, Garth Drabinsky and Steve Wiener (who personally I liked), were no bargains either.

What’s all this “There was no such intentional preference against the Alpine. The Fortway just had access to an ethnic audience that Bay Ridge police intimidated at the Alpine. Blacks and hispanics were simply not welcome in the streets of Bay Ridge in the evenings, even as late as the late nineties, so movies with wide appeal went to the Fortway first” all about?

I must have missed all that shit. All I know is that EVERY TIME I had to do work at the Fortway, if I parked in the back, when I came out my window was smashed and my radio gone.

DJM78 on January 7, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Just read an article about the Alpine. It seems that as of a few years ago Jeffrey Deneroff still owned the building which is the Alpine.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 7, 2012 at 8:43 pm

There was no such intentional preference against the Alpine. The Fortway just had access to an ethnic audience that Bay Ridge police intimidated at the Alpine. Blacks and hispanics were simply not welcome in the streets of Bay Ridge in the evenings, even as late as the late nineties, so movies with wide appeal went to the Fortway first.

Mr. Goldberg was simply grade-A asshole. Dead or alive. Anyone who knew GTM could confirm that.

I worked for Cineplex Odeon and dealt with these silly Brooklyn clowns for years.

techman707 on January 7, 2012 at 8:29 pm

It’s hard to say, but, a VERY OLD man (I know his name but just can’t think of it now) owned the Fortway building. He MUST be dead now and it probably has to do with his family and estate and NOT anything to do with Golden Theatre Management.

As I’m sure you’re aware that theatres in general haven’t been doing very well, with the exception of the VERY large multiplexes. Within a couple of years the film companies won’t be making FILM prints any longer and if the theatre hasn’t converted to digital projection (DCI Cinema), which runs an average of $75-80,000.00, you can’t even run digital. It has already caused MANY small mom & pop theatres across the country to close down because they can’t afford the cost of converting. Yet, without that expense, the theatres would have had no problem staying in business. SAD, BUT TRUE.

DJM78 on January 7, 2012 at 8:11 pm

techman707- I appreciate all these great theatre facts. I heard stories about Mr. Goldberg. I’m sorry to hear that he has passed. I still wonder why that the Fortway was closed and not the Alpine? To me the Fortway was a much nicer theatre. If I can remember right Cineplex Odeon gave the fortway the bigger movie releases over the Alpine. Also if memory serves the Fortway’s largest theatre held plenty more than the Alpines largest auditorium.

techman707 on January 7, 2012 at 7:46 pm

The balcony at the Oceana, while steeper than the Fortway, wasn’t that steep. The Olympia theatre had a balcony that was so steep you were practically looking at your feet when you looked out the window from the projection booth. The Oceana was another theatre that, like the Fortway, was first tripled and then quaded and then two additional theatres were added back stage for a total of 6. The two partners of Golden Theatre Management, Bernard Goldberg and Jeffrey Deneroff, essentially sold all the viable theatres to Cineplex Odeon in 1989. They continued to own some of the buildings. Last year Mr. Goldberg passed away, but Mr. Deneroff is alive and well.

DJM78 on January 7, 2012 at 6:17 pm

techman707-Wow thanks again. I remember seeing The Oceana from the B1 bus on my way to class at Kingsborough. I heard it had a very steep balcony. What ever happened to GTM? Did GTM sell all of their theaters around the same time has the Fortway and the Alpine in 1989? I heard the man who ran GTM ruled with an iron fist! True?

techman707 on January 7, 2012 at 6:17 pm

“From Ed Solero on March 28, 2011

Techman, you might be very pleased to learn that there are very legitimate plans that have been announced by the Brooklyn Borough President – at long last – to restore the Loew’s Kings to its former glory and put it to good use as a performing arts venue. The project is set to begin in earnest sometime next year and will hopefully be completed by 2014.“

Ed, I think that was a swindle from the start. I even sent an op/ed letter to the Times when it was announced that they were going to spend 70 million dollars to restore Loews Kings. It seems that 65 million was to come from BANKRUPT NEW YORK CITY and 5 million from the “developer”. I told them to give me only 15 million and I would do the same thing. It’s just another Bloomberg swindle. The city has owned the property for at least the last 25 years and leased it to the Flatbush Development Corp. for $1. a year. The theatre was IN PERFECT SHAPE when Flatbush took it over. They did NOTHING but let it sit and get destroyed and vandalized and NOW want to WASTE 65 million dollars. GIVE ME A BREAK!

techman707 on January 7, 2012 at 6:05 pm

It’s okay, you didn’t get to pick too much.-LOL When it comes to ALL the theatres that were operated by Golden Theatre Management, I know more than I’d like to remember. Despite becoming senile, I still can’t get some of them out of my head. Some of the other theatres that I installed and/or serviced for GTM were:

The Beverly Theatre The Granada Theatre The Oceana Theatre The Rugby Theatre The Graham Theatre (Gerritsen Beach) The Olympia Theatre (Originally Loews Olympia, Manhattan) The Benson Theatre The Alpine Theatre The Fortway Theatre Quad Cinema (13th St, Manhattan)

as well as many other theatres of Loews and RKO that I can’t even remember anymore. The only thing you can be pretty sure of is that they’re ALL GONE NOW. New York had more first class theatres than ANY OTHER city in America and with just a few exceptions, they’ve torn them all down. You would have thought that they MIGHT HAVE saved a couple of real nice Loews Theatres to run repertory films in as a non-profit operation, but NO. In Jamaica, Loews Valencia (one of the original Wonder Theatres) is still there….but it’s “The Tabernacle Of Prayer” now and doesn’t (and can’t) run movies.

DJM78 on January 7, 2012 at 5:49 pm

techman707- I want to thank you for letting me pick your brain.

DJM78 on January 7, 2012 at 4:52 pm

techman707-Wow,your knowledge of these two theaters is amazing. Yes Dave is the security guy I was referring to.

techman707 on January 7, 2012 at 3:40 pm

DJM78-While I was still working at the Alpine (until I retired in 1996) I stopped doing any installations and service in 1988. I did all the service installations for Golden Theatre Management from 1972 until 1988. In 1989 Cineplex Odeon took over the operation of the Alpine.

I’m the “engineer” that the security cop who worked for Golden referred to. The engineer that worked for Loews told them they couldn’t make more than a Quad out of the Alpine and even that design was severely flawed as far as I was concerned. That was the main reason the theatre was sold to Golden.

Apparently, the “original” Alpine design called for a small balcony. At some point they must have decided to remove the balcony from the design, however, they kept the unusually high rear section of the theatre where the projection booth was located. The design that Loews' engineer’s came up with called for elevating a new projection booth ON TOP OF the old booth, while continuing to use the old booth and projecting OVER THE CEILING of the two rear theatres that would be created. All they were going to do was run a new wall half way down the middle of the existing twin’s width. It was at that time that I was asked “can anything better be done?” After studying the original blueprints for a couple of weeks, I worked out a design for 10 theatres of more or less equal size with a unique stepped elevation running from the original stage to the rear of the theatre. In the end, the design wound up being only 7 theatres so they could have the 2 larger theatres on one side, instead of my original 5 and 5 design. The new design required a double “T” shaped booth instead of a straight in-line stepped booth.

As for the Fortway, although my memory is gone, I’m pretty certain that the last two side theatres were done before 1982, probably 1979 or 1980. I would guess the security cop you spoke to was either John, a BIG TALL guy, or Dave, a guy with gray or white hair and thick glasses.