Bombay Theatre

68-25 Fresh Meadow Lane,
Fresh Meadows, NY 11365

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Showing 26 - 50 of 51 comments

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on November 28, 2005 at 9:27 am

Not at all, Warren. Looks great. I only wish I had produced better raw material for you to work with. I’m waiting for prices to come down on the new SLR Digital Cameras out there. Perhaps after the holidays I’ll get my hands on one. The cameras I’ve seen advertised come with 18-55mm zoom lenses, which means you can widen out to a near fish-eye perspective and take in those large auditoriums from almost any vantage point. That will do nothing but encourage me to get inside some theaters and start snapping photos.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 28, 2005 at 8:14 am

Shouldn’t this now be listed as the Bombay?…I took the liberty of adding light to three of Ed Solero’s interior pix to bring out more details. I hope that he doesn’t mind:
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/bombay1.jpg
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/bombay2.jpg
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/bombay3.jpg

RobertR
RobertR on October 25, 2005 at 4:02 am

I would tend to guess that video projector is left over from the porn days. Most Bollywood films are 35mm and scope. It’s go great to see a neighborhood theatre like this again. They should experiment with playing second run American films in-between the Bollywood stuff.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 25, 2005 at 3:57 am

Forgot to add this additional exterior photo from the small employee parking lot in the rear:

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Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 25, 2005 at 3:55 am

I snapped these night shots of the illuminated Bombay marquee a couple of weeks back:

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I was also able to take my camera inside for a few shots. The theater manager was very nice and accommodating, though he really didn’t know any history about the place. He wasn’t even aware it had been a porn house for so long. He has been there for 5 years and he confirmed that the theater operates on a pretty irregular schedule. They had a few local teens working in the theater to sell admissions and concessions and when I arrived (just before 8pm) there were maybe 3 or 4 people sitting in the auditorium awaiting the screening. The interior is kept clean, but there are definite signs of wear and tear particularly in the auditorium. The ticket booth is set up on the left wall of the outer foyer, which you can make out in the 2nd photo above through the doors. From the foyer, you walk through a 2nd set of doors into the small lobby (about the same size as the foyer), which has a fairly large glass display case set into the left wall, a small snack bar at the rear and rest rooms on the right. You enter the auditorium on the left through glass doors next to the display case. Once inside you can proceed to orchestra seating (center aisle set up) or make a u-turn up the stairs for the loge.

I took two pictures of the foyer below, but they really didn’t come out very well. This was my first time taking interior photos of a theater and I think that I rushed myself, feeling a little sheepish and self-conscious about what I was doing. I didn’t get any shots of the lobby at all! I was able to grab a few shots of the auditorium – but the flash from the digital camera was not enough to light the entire space (and there was insufficient ambient light to get a satisfactory exposure without the flash). I lightened up the image as best I could. I really need to start using my SLR for interior shots – I can take a longer exposure and take advantage of the wider angled 28mm lens – but it’s not digital and I’ll have to scan. Anyway… here’s what I got:

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If you look closely at that shot of the screen (the 3rd photo) you’ll see a video projector hanging from the ceiling. Looks to be mounted pretty close to render a quality image on the screen. I forgot to ask the manager if this was how they presented their movies or if the projection room was still in operation. I know I sort of muffed my opportunity here, but I figured I’d share the results with everyone all the same. Hopefully, I’ll get it better the next time around.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 9, 2005 at 9:09 am

Thanks Warren. Nice contrast to the current marquee shot. You can see that it is pretty much the original except for the replacement of “Mayfair” with “Bombay” and some metal flashing and shielding around the edges and the bottom of the marquee to mask the lightbulb sockets that helped illuminate the sign at night. All these modifications were made when the theater went Bollywood… was that back in the very early ‘90’s? Can’t say exactly when the outside ticket booth was put to rest. I don’t ever recall it being there in the '70’s and '80’s, but my memory could be faulty.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 9, 2005 at 7:12 am

Here are some 1941 images. The current program on the marquee was “Hudson’s Bay” (Paul Muni) & “Play Girl” (Kay Francis), a combo that originated on the RKO neighborhood circuit and arrived here several weeks later:
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/138-3850_IMG.jpg
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/138-3853_IMG.jpg
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/138-3855_IMG.jpg

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 7, 2005 at 10:55 am

I attended 7th through 9th grades at George J. Ryan Junior High School (I.S. 216) just a few blocks north of the Mayfair from 1976-1979. I used to commute by bus from Laurelton and would often get off a stop early to grab a snack at the candy store that was on the corner and across the street from the theater at the time (the candy store is now a Health Food Restaurant). In my adulthood, I lived for over 10 years in the neighboring Electchester development and passed by the theater frequently. I used to love the way the original marquee looked when illuminated at night – indeed, one of my regrets is never having photographed either the Mayfair’s or it’s cousin the Utopia’s beautiful neon signage while they were still in operation.

Unfortunately, the Utopia is long gone… but to make some amends to myself, I did snap the following exterior daytime shots of the current Bombay Theater just a couple of weekends back:

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JakeGittes
JakeGittes on July 13, 2005 at 5:06 pm

This was the neighborhood theatre for Harvey and Bob Weinstein of Miramax fame. They both consider the Mayfair their film school. When they attended this was a theatre that specialized in foreign filn. In the late 1970’s it turned to porn for survival. I was friendly with a projecdtionist who worked this theatre and kept him company many nights when he ran XXX product. Theatre could be found only with a Sherpa guide. Think it went XXX bevause if you didn;t live within a four or five block radius, you wouldn’t find it. Similar in design to other Queens theates Utopia, Drake, and Austin ( now Kew Gardens).

RobertR
RobertR on July 13, 2005 at 4:44 pm

In 1974 the Mayfair played Gerard Damianos “Memories Within Miss Aggie”.
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periwinkle
periwinkle on March 5, 2005 at 2:31 pm

i miss when it ran porn!

Debsinnyc
Debsinnyc on January 3, 2005 at 11:53 am

My dad owned the kosher deli directly across the street from the Mayfair during the 1960s and early 70s. I believe I was only in the theater once or twice as I was too young ot attend the “foregn films”. Before going into the X ratead arena, the theater was a $1.00 theater for a short time.

Debra

R143
R143 on November 15, 2004 at 10:34 am

Thank you Warren. I guess that’s better than no movies being played in it.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on October 21, 2004 at 8:40 am

Movies produced in India and Pakistan, some, possibly, with English sub-titles.

R143
R143 on October 21, 2004 at 8:35 am

What kind of film does this theater show now?

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on October 21, 2004 at 6:27 am

If you enter the address this way, it should map correctly:

68-25 Fresh Meadow Lane
Fresh Meadows,NY

The zipcode is 11365.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 30, 2004 at 3:53 pm

Yes, it’s still operating as the Bombay Theatre. When I phoned to ask what time the next show starts, the answerer said, “What time can you get here?”…Seriously, the Bombay is open only certain days of the week. The number is 718-358-2929.

RobertR
RobertR on September 30, 2004 at 2:05 pm

Is this theatre still open?

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 30, 2004 at 1:46 pm

The Mayfair first opened on September 25th, 1940, with a late-run double feature of “New Moon” & “Florian.”

jablonkt00
jablonkt00 on July 17, 2004 at 10:58 am

I lived nearby and the Mayfair was my first intrduction to foreign films which was its specialty in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 16, 2004 at 7:41 am

Something seems wrong with the map generator. 68-25 Fresh Meadow Lane seems to be the correct address; it appears both in the 1957 Film Daily Year Book and the 2004 Queens Yellow Pages (as Bombay Theatre). But when I enter it in the Mapfinder giving Fresh Meadows or Flushing as the community, the star turns up well north of the Long Island Expressway, when, in fact, the theatre is several blocks south of it!

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 16, 2004 at 7:19 am

The map for this theatre does not show up, perhaps because “Queens” is included in the address…It should really be listed under its original name of Mayfair. “Bombay” was adopted only recently and is known only to the members of the Indian/Pakistani community that go there…When the Mayfair first opened, Fresh Meadows didn’t exist. The area was considered part of Flushing at that time.

Orlando
Orlando on February 29, 2004 at 2:09 pm

The Circle Theatre is now a Lucille Roberts, the marquee is there but covered over with the present store’s sign. How much of the interior exists is unknown.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 29, 2004 at 11:09 am

The Mayfair’s address is 68-25 Fresh Meadow Lane. It was designed by Charles Sandblom and virtually identical to his Circle Theatre in the Bronx, which was built at the same time. Does anyone know if the Circle still stands? It was located at 82 Hugh J. Grant Circle (no relation to the current movie star, I’m sure).

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on March 26, 2003 at 9:30 pm

This theater is located on Fresh Meadows Lane just off 69th Ave where it merges with Utopia Parkway in Fresh Meadows, Queens.