Here’s what was the Loew’s Alpine Theatre at 5th Avenue and Bay Ridge Avenue (69th Street) in 1941. The Alpine was opened in 1921 and was a movie theater from the start, though in the Silent Era it featured a full orchestra including an organist. A feature cost 15 cents, but you could book a whole day on Saturday or Sunday for a quarter. It was the first theater in Brooklyn without a balcony, but seated 2200 patrons regardless. It was never a vaudeville house, but a singer or instrumentalist would perform between screenings. By 1976 the Alpine had two screens and, by 2015, eight. It lost its Loew’s sponsorship decades ago and is today run independently.
When I was a kid in Bay Ridge, I had my pick of the Alpine, the Dyker (86th Street), the Fortway (68th Street), the Bay Ridge (72nd Street) and the Harbor (93rd Street). The Alpine is the lone survivor of Bay Ridge’s once-many theaters. Among the features I saw here were “Yellow Submarine” (1968) and “Return of the Jedi” (1983–I waited on line in the rain for that one).
The day’s offerings were “Cracked Nuts,” about a lottery winner who gets mixed up with mobsters and a fake robot; Shemp Howard, without the other two Stooges, was in it. In “The Parson of Panamint” a preacher tries to tame a California mining town.
Out of the photo on the right was Paul Nielsen Furniture, which survived into the 1980s.
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