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Judging from the exterior architecture, I think this theater more likely dates to the ‘40’s… but I have no factual data on that. Back in the early '70’s, I saw the Marx Brothers classic Animal Crackers here, which enjoyed a successful theatrical re-release (“in glorious black and white” as the ads went) after many years out of issue. That was probably '74 or so.
As for other theaters on 57th Street, there was another called The Festival on the West Side just off 7th Avenue and down the block from the Hard Rock Cafe. Not sure how far that cinema dated back… I recall seeing “The Complete Beatles” there around 1982 or ‘83. I believe there was also a theater called the 57th Street Playhouse near Carnegie Hall between 6th and 7th Avenues. Not to mention the old Carnegie Cinemas, but I think they were actually on 7th Avenue, not 57th.
Forgot to add that when it re-opened as a 4-plex in the ‘70’s, it was known as the Bayside Quad. In its last years it was known as The Movies At Bayside.
On the corner of Bell Blvd and 39th Avenue in the heart of a thriving commercial strip — plenty of pubs, bars and restaurants that fairly hop on a Friday or Saturday night. But, RobertR is correct in saying that this one-time single screen first-run neighborhood theater was allowed to fall into a shameless state of shabbiness. The sound was lousy, the floors sticky and the movies were grossly under-projected. The last time I saw a movie there, I swore the place off. The attractive stucco facade is being nicely renovated as the site is prepped for impending retail usage.
The way this theater was twinned — accurately described in the summary by RobertR — was very similar to the old Fresh Meadows theater (was that an RKO???) on the eastbound Horace Harding Expressway off 188th Street in the Bloomingdales Shopping Center. That theater still stands but was completely gutted and re-opened as a 7 screen multiplex in the late ‘80’s or early '90’s.
The large, free standing theater was completely gutted to its outer walls and now houses a large Applebees Restaurant and a Victoria’s Secret store. It anchors the Bay Terrace Shopping Center at the corner of Bell Blvd and 26th Avenue in Bayside, Queens.
The shell of this Theater still sits on the west side of Steinway Street just north of 30th Avenue in Astoria. The facade is recognizable with the lobby area (at least) housing a chain drug store. The large hulk of the auditorium can be seen rising behind the two story street level structure and I presume may still feature some original elements in the upper level balcony area?
This theater is located on Fresh Meadows Lane just off 69th Ave where it merges with Utopia Parkway in Fresh Meadows, Queens.
I remember this theater in the late ‘70’s and '70’s as the RKO Cinerama Twin. Broadway between 46th and 47th, I believe, down the block from the Movieland multi-plex (which was the former Forum 47th Street).
I saw a couple of films here back in the ‘80’s, but I used to pass by it’s wonderful neon marquee on the way home from work every night. In the winter, particularly — when the days grew shorter and night fell earlier — how I needed to get my camera out here to snap a photo of it’s intense red and blue colors. Unfortunately, I never acted on that idea and the marquee exists only in my memory. Interestingly, there were a couple of other neon signs within a few blocks of each other on this stretch of Union Turnpike. One, belonging to what had to be one of the last standalone drive-up dry-cleaners in the City, has recently been damaged by fire. The other, across from the old Utopia Theater site, advertises Albany Glass and still remains.
A quick ride around the block shows that the shell of the theater is still pretty much intact. It closed not too long after the nearby Valencia (just across Jamaica Ave and over a block or two) stopped showing movies in the late ‘70’s.
The Regency was located on Broadway at 68th Street.
The Prospect was on Main Street opposite the Flushing branch of the Queens Public Library (which occupies the wedge where Kissena Blvd and Main Street merge). A hodgepodge of retail stores now occupies a new structure on the site.
The building is located on Broadway at 107th street.
The building is located on Broadway and 147th Street.
I remember this as both Mann’s National
The former Loew’s Valencia (one of the 5 Loew’s “Wonder” theaters in NYC) is now known as the Tabernacle of Prayer. The church has done a great job of keeping the interior in immaculate condition (although, I believe some of the nudity and more risque depictions in it’s statuary and ornamentation have been discretely concealed). The intricately detailed exterior facade of the theater was obscured by the elevated tracks of the J train for just about it’s entire existence as a movie theater. Around the time of it’s closing, the tracks along Jamaica Avenue were removed and the glory of the theater’s exterior architecture revealed.
The location is Jamaica Ave just West of Merrick Blvd. The last movie to play here was “The Greatest” starring Muhammad Ali.
The theater is also on the National Register of Historic Places and is situated on Northern Boulevard opposite Main Street.
The Kieth’s was an absolutely spectacular theater. Even as a triplex, seeing a film here (particularly in the intact balcony auditorium) was a special treat. The theater actually survivied until 1986, when it was closed by the local real estate magnate and vandal who attempted to gut the theater despite it’s official landmark status and convert the space into a retail mall. There has been much legal and civic turmoil regarding it’s fate over the last 17 years. The operators of the nearby historic Flushing Town Hall have been rumored to be interested in acquiring the theater to restore it to legitemate use as a cultural center, but any efforts there have been thwarted by legal entanglements and lack of funding.
Recently, a deal was announced whereby a commercial interest would redevelop the site for mixed usage but would restore the theater’s landmarked sections to their original glory. Unfortunately, NYC officials did not have the wisdom to give landmark status to the gorgeous auditorium (with it’s atmospheric Moroccan details), but at least the stunning lobby and grand foyer will be preserved under the new plan. I wonder if such a restoration would include a replica of the original fountain that was the centerpiece of the lobby. It was removed years before the landmark commission ever considered the theater for designation, replaced by a large candy-counter.
Minor correction: The Harris remained an active movie house into the very early ‘90’s. It was the very last of the original 42nd street playhouses turned 24-hour movie grindhouses to be closed and reclaimed by the 42nd Street redevelopment project.
This theater still sits vacant and boarded up with a “for lease” sign on the marquee. I have a photo of it’s exterior that I will try to upload to this site if I can get a good scan.
Some more details: The UA Lefrak was located on 99th Street just north of the Long Island Expressway to service the large apartment complex called Lefrak City. It was known as the Cinema Bombay when it converted to Bollywood fare in the 1980’s. My guess is the theater dated to the early 60’s.
The Corona Theater is not the same as the now-Spanish language Plaza. The Corona was located on Junction Blvd just north of Roosevelt Avenue. When I was a boy growing up a just a few blocks away from this theater in the early ‘70’s, the theater was used as a bingo hall. The shell of the building is still clearly identifiable from the elevated train platform on Roosevelt, but the marquee is long gone and the former entrance converted to retail space.
The Plaza, is located on Roosevelt Avenue and 103rd street (about 10 blocks east of The Corona), and is so named because it is set back from Roosevelt on a small concrete plaza. It was twinned sometime in the ‘80’s.
Just a note to correct the theater history: Rock impresario Bill Graham took control of the Village Theater and dubbed it the Fillmore East in 1968, not ‘66. The opening night headlined Big Brother and the Holding Company featuring Janis Joplin. Graham closed the Fillmore East (and it’s sister Fillmore West in San Francisco) in the 1971. I’m not sure what the history of the building was between that time and it’s reopening as The Saint in 1980. The theater was located on 2nd Avenue between East 6th and East 7th. I believe the narrow 2nd Avenue facade remains more or less the unaltered.
Theater location is Broadway and 181st Street.
If we’re talking about the Floral Terrace catering hall on Jericho Turnpike in Floral Park, this was once the Floral Theater. It must have been a beauty. The outside of the building is instantly recognizable as an old movie-theater. Most of the original architectural elements appear lost in the conversion with the spectacular exception of the upper reaches of the auditorium’s magnificent arched ceiling, which you can practically reach up and touch if you attend a function in the upper ballroom. The top of the proscenium arch is clearly identifiable and a serving bar is cleverly ensconced in an alcove formed by the crowning arch of what might have been a side-box? This theater must easily go back to the 1920’s.