With 70 Henry Street in Contract the Brooklyn Heights Cinema Will Close on August 27 and Look for a New Location

A spokesperson for Massey Knakal tells BHB that 70 Henry Street, currently the home of the Brooklyn Heights Cinema, is in contract to be sold.

The theater will go dark on Thursday, August 27 after 44 years of operation.

Kenn Lowy, who has run the Cinema since 2011, has plans to open at a new location in DUMBO in the near future. Tonight, Mr. Lowy will post the following notice for loyal fans of one of the few remaining indepenent movie theaters left in New York City.

Sadly, we will be closing this location on August 27th. After 44 years on Henry Street, we will have to move to a new location, a smaller space in nearby DUMBO.

The reason for our move is twofold. The number one reason is that nowadays there are not enough movie goers in Brooklyn Heights to sustain a two screen cinema. The other reason is that the building that the Brooklyn Heights Cinema has called home for over 40 years, is being sold. While economics would have forced this move anyway, it is happening now because of an impending sale.

When we began looking for a new location here in the Heights, it become clear that no suitable space was available. So we started looking in DUMBO. We are currently working to finalize an excellent location we’ve found and expect to reopen in DUMBO in late September or early October.

I know this is a huge blow to our loyal neighborhood customers and I hope you’ll visit us at our new location in DUMBO, a short walk away.

Your support earlier this year enabled us to purchase a new digital projector. Without that projector, moving forward would have been impossible. We are NOT going out business. We are simply relocating and nothing would please us more than if you continue to support us and attend the wonderful independent films we will continue to show, often films that you can’t see anywhere else in Brooklyn.

We cannot thank you enough for all our support over the years.
Kenn Lowy and the staff of the Brooklyn Heights Cinema.

Among the choices available to Lowy in DUMBO is the shuttered ReBar theater which closed after the Jason Stevens scandal.

Update: Despite reports printed (and reblogged) elsewhere, Lowy tells us that a deal to move the BHC into the ReBar space is “not even close” as of yet. He adds that “there’s a lot more negotiating to do.”

Left unanswered was the question of a residential addition to the cinema which is under review by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. When reached for comment about the impending sale, 70 Henry Street owner Thomas Caruana declined comment.

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  • AEB

    What a terrible shame! But best luck to you, Mr. Lowy–and thanks for your commitment to film and to the nabe for so many years!

  • Jorale-man

    That’s really sad. I know that to live in New York you become somewhat resigned to these changes, but it is still a shame that a vibrant community like Brooklyn Heights can’t support a single movie theater (I don’t count the Court Street UA zoo in this).

    Equally shameful that developers seem to constantly have so little regard for the communities in which they plant their stake. Mr. Lowy has been a committed steward of this cinema and I wish him well in his efforts to relocate.

  • marshasrimler

    Best of luck in the move Ken.. this is sad.. You have my full support

  • Doug Biviano

    All the best in your move Kenn. We’ll see you in DUMBO but we’ll miss you here in the hood.

  • ColumbiaHeightster

    I’m saddened by this as well, and wish Ken and his team the best of luck, but why do not consider the Court Street UA a movie theater in our neighborhood? It is a chaotic madhouse, but it is still a movie theater that is located in Brooklyn Heights.

  • elemengee

    Hate to see you go, as I’ve been a Heights Cinema fan for over 50 years. I can remember when there was a movie theater on Clark Street. I guess that was too long ago for any to remember. Good luck in Dumbo.

  • Pineappler

    For over 50 years you’ve been a fan of a 44 year old theater? You must be psychic.

  • Fritz

    Bummer, always my first choice. Movies were much better and newer lately. Still, you could hardly call the building a landmark.

  • Kenn Lowy

    Only the BHA calls it a landmark.

  • Heights Observer

    I suppose you want to pick and choose the buildings in the Historic District that only you would deem nice and acceptable. The sum of an Historic district is the both quality of it’s buildings and the stores and places in the neighborhood as a whole that make it interesting.

    Sorry for the Heights Cinema. I really am. But if the landmarks law was strong enough, the building you are in couldn’t be sold for condo development.

    Let’s get rid of Fascati’s and Fortune House too. They’re not great buildings either and we can replace them with…drumroll please…condos! Perhaps even condos with a drugstore!

    Let’s go throughout the entire district and put red crosses on the buildings we don’t deem good enough and then we could knock them down and build…condos.

    Can’t wait.

  • Ann B Chapin

    Sadly, DUMBO is not “just a short walk away” for me. I will very much miss the current location. :-(

  • Cranberry Beret

    Actually, the entire Landmarks Commission repeatedly rejected the development proposals, so this has nothing to do with the BHA.

    I think you’re confused about the problems the cinema faces. It’s not the lack of customers in the Heights. Nor would a newly developed building on this site magically solve your problems if it still had just 1 or 2 screens, no matter how fancy or how many new amenities were introduced.

    I wish you luck (both out of good will and also self-interest because I love going to your cinema), but a small theater in the current location (either existing or totally redeveloped), or a new location in Dumbo, is going to face the same issue across the board — rent is high and 1-2 screens can’t pay the bills. There’s a reason this cinema is the last of its kind, and it has nothing to do with Brooklyn Heights.

  • Jorale-man

    You’re right – the UA theater is technically on the Heights/Downtown border though I don’t count on it as a serious option. There is still BAM and occasionally the Court St. theater in Carroll Gardens. Hopefully Dumbo proves more hospitable to Kenn Lowy – one of the warehouse-style buildings there might provide the space a theater needs.

  • Kenn Lowy

    Since you are obviously part of the BHA and won’t use your real name – at least confirm that what you are indeed fighting for is a brick wall.

  • http://www.shootlikeagirlphotography.com/ lauren

    I enjoyed having a quaint, peaceful theater so close by. I was thrilled when Kenn allowed me to share my photography on the walls of the lobby in 2011. It was my first NYC photography exhibit and it meant a lot to me to have it in my own neighborhood.

    Thank you for being a part of the community, Kenn, and good luck in the new location!

  • marshasrimler

    what is the BHA position on this?

  • Kenn Lowy

    What they told me is that the building has historical significance and the brick wall on Orange Street needs to be preserved as is. If I’m wrong, I am sure they will correct me.

  • marshasrimler

    This is how you destroy a great neighborhood..

  • Remsen Street Dweller

    Sadly, you are right. The people who are trying to save the library, the park, and LICH are all on common ground. I shutter to think what would happen if our communities were trying to get landmark status in today’s climate. Is there such a thing as urban planning?

  • marshasrimler

    we need to put pressure on our neighbors who are on the BPL Board.and BBP Board
    They hide their names and faces but they need to be exposed and shamed into protecting our neighborhood. I have suggested a community town hall. Their appointments to these boards are a matter of public record.

  • http://www.cognation.net/ deancollins

    ridiculous that this building is deemed “significant”. Almost anything that could be developed in its place would be an improvement.

  • Kenn Lowy

    You might want to tell the BHA that!

  • http://www.cognation.net/ deancollins

    Agree. For people to consider that “everything” designed more than 60 years ago was “perfect” is flawed on so many levels.

    Lol can you believe people in 2060 thinking Scrano developments were the pinnacle of their times and could never be improved upon……?

  • Reggie

    They hide their names? BPL Board of trustees: http://www.bklynlibrary.org/about/board-trustees; BBPC Board of Directors: http://www.brooklynbridgepark.org/pages/aboutbbp

  • David on Middagh

    Thank you for the links. (After clicking on the last, one must remove a final semicolon and reload, but it does work.)

  • David on Middagh

    I mean, after clicking on the first—the former—the penultimate—the one for the library.

  • grewuphere

    Will miss you guys on Henry. Luckily I’m close enough to DUMBO that it’s not that much of a walk, but your theater has always been my favorite to go to and I’ll miss it terribly. We certainly don’t need more high priced condos instead.