Brooklyn Heights Cinema will be demolished — if landlord gets his way

Brooklyn Heights Cinema will be demolished — if landlord gets his way
File photo by Tom Callan

The landlord of the Brooklyn Heights Cinema wants to tear down the beloved Henry Street movie house to make way for a new five-story structure, The Brooklyn Paper has learned.

Next Wednesday, building owner Tom Caruana will present plans for a new structure at 70 Henry St. at Community Board 2’s Landmarks Committee — an early step in gaining city permission to demolish an edifice in the landmarked neighborhood, according to District Manager Rob Perris.

Caruana would not comment on the specifics of his plan.

“We’re going to move forward whenever we can,” said Caruana. “I can’t reveal anything right now.”

But the scrappy theater’s proprietor, Kenn Lowy, said that he won’t let the Brooklyn Heights icon disappear — even if it means moving the cinema to DUMBO.

“I have to find a way to keep it going,” said Lowy. “I’ve just never given up on it. Business is finally picking up.”

Lowy bought the cinema last year from Norman Adie, who was recently convicted in a Ponzi scheme.

The 150-seat cinema near Orange Street has weathered several changes in ownership since it opened in 1971, managing to stay afloat in an age of multiplexes with the help of loyal customers.

Lowy was one of those devoted moviegoers and since taking it over last summer, he has transformed the theater into an art gallery and performance space.

He said that he always knew there was a chance that Caruana would raze the building, but took a gamble on it anyway.

“The landlord is eventually going to do something,” said Lowy, whose lease runs up on June 30. “But right now we don’t know when that’s going to be. I’m not going crazy over it yet.”

Reach Kate Briquelet at [email protected] or by calling her at (718) 260-2511.

Kenn Lowy, owner of the popular movie house, says he will find a way to keep the theater alive.
Community Newspaper Group / Kate Briquelet