Alamo Drafthouse in Downtown Brooklyn plans to nearly double in size

By Raanan Geberer
Special to Brooklyn Street Beat

The Alamo Drafthouse cinema at City Point in Downtown Brooklyn plans to add 400 new seats and double the number of screens, according to Commercial Observer.

Alamo, part of a nationwide chain founded in Austin in 1997, currently occupies 38,000 square feet in the development and has seven screens. The expansion, which will add an additional 25,000 square feet, is scheduled for completion in 2020, Commercial Observer reported.

Veering from the traditional movie theater setup, the row of seats in Alamo theaters are accompanied by rows of tables, with an aisle behind each row to accommodate servers. Customers write their orders on slips of paper that are picked up by uniformed waiters and waitresses.

City Point itself is a 1.8-million-square-foot mixed-use development at 445 Albee Square West. The building has three floors of retail, including a Trader Joe’s, the DeKalb Market Hall and a Target, in addition to the theater.

Chris Conlon, chief operating officer of landlord Acadia Realty Trust, said in a prepared statement, “From the beginning of this ambitious project, we had a vision, and it was to create a destination, which would become a nexus for Brooklyn and beyond. In less than two years, this has become a reality.”

One unusual feature of Brooklyn’s Alamo Drafthouse is the House of Wax bar and museum, housed within the cinema complex. As the Brooklyn Eagle reported in 2016, when the House of Wax first opened, it housed a collection of German waxworks from the 19th century, including death masks of figures from Beethoven to Napoleon, life-size displays illustrating diseases and animal oddities. These are sure to fascinate many — and to make others uneasy.

The Alamo Drafthouse cinema at City Point in Downtown Brooklyn. Photo courtesy of Alamo Drafthouse

The Alamo Drafthouse cinema at City Point in Downtown Brooklyn. Photo courtesy of Alamo Drafthouse

At the time, Vanessa Brown, “director of fun” at the Alamo Drafthouse and curator of the museum, told the Eagle in a video interview that many of these “oddities” came from a collection, or “wax panopticum,” that toured Germany. Before photography became widespread, this was the only way medical students could study diseases, she said.

“Some of the death masks were taken right after the people had died,” Brown said.

One wax display, illustrating lupus, is a three-dimensional representation of a man “with a horn growing out of his head,” she said — probably a bone growth. The collection was brought to Brooklyn after Tim League, owner of Alamo Drafthouse, learned that it was up for sale and that if someone didn’t buy it, if would be sold off piece by piece.

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