RKO Alden Theatre

165-16 Jamaica Avenue,
Jamaica, NY 11432

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Showing 26 - 50 of 126 comments

robboehm on July 8, 2011 at 7:19 am

I found a ad for RKO Century Warner which is laden with theatres from RKO, Mann, Prudential and whatever, circa 1981. RKO Keith’s in Flushing is on but not the Alden. Also, among the missing from earlier ads are the Merrick (Jamaica) and Queens & Community (Queens Village). The Lynbrook by that time had reverted back to Skouras/UA.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on July 7, 2011 at 10:50 am

The Alden was definitely divided in four at some point and lasted several years beyond the Valencia. I have clippings from the Daily News in March of 1982 that show the Alden 1, 2, 3 and 4 in the movie clock listings. By October, 1985, the Alden has dropped off movie clock listings in both the News and Newsday.

robboehm on July 6, 2011 at 6:50 pm

I believe rafaelstorm may be right about the Alden remaining a single screen to the end. The Valencia, Merrick, Savoy, Hillside and all the others theatres along Jamaica Avenue in Queens and Jericho Turnpike in Nassau went out as single screen theatres.

Ed Miller
Ed Miller on July 6, 2011 at 1:59 am

I have to take exception to the profile that states that the Alden was turned into a quad. Not in my excellent memory bank, it wasn’t. It closed around the same time as the Valencia, across Jamaica Avenue, but while that theater was given a rebirth as a church, the Alden just remained a hulking derelict, without ever being divided. I used to catch the Q-5 bus at Hillside and 169th, and ride it all the way to the end of the line, in Rosedale, and the bus route passed right next to both theaters. As a matter of fact, there was a bus terminal behind the Valencia, and the Q-5 would sit there for about ten minutes, before moving on its route. Gone are the days!

johndereszewski on December 12, 2010 at 6:53 am

I just came across this very interesting page. I especially liked the great photo posted last June 4th by J.F. Lundy. As one who frequently rides the Q-54, the current embodiment of the old trolley line depicted in this picture, I could just imagine traversing the long, Jamaica to Williamsburg Bridge Plaza route, in that ancient tram.

A question that came to mind while perusing this page is why more modest movie houses like the Alden survived longer than their more elaborate competitors, like the Valencia. The same point can also be made regarding the Astoria and the Ridgewood on the one hand and the Triboro and the Madison on the other.

My guess is that the more elaborate palaces were initially considered just “too beautiful to twin” – a paraphrase of “too big to fail” – at the same time that their more modest competitors bent to the economic realities and sub-divided themselves. This bought the latter some additional time, while the uneconomical single screen marvels just could not survive the modern era. This reminds me of something I learned years ago in my college geology class. In studying the old fossils, I noticed that the most elaborately developed species also proved to be the ones that were most vulnerable to extinction when climactic conditions changed. The less elaborately developed species, on the other hand, adapted to these changes far more successfully.

While exceptions to this “rule” certainly exist – I remember seeing a film at an already divided Bronx Paradise during the mid-1970’s – I thing it stands up pretty well – especially in Queens. Any ideas?

Bway on December 12, 2010 at 4:24 am

David, there were photos of the current interior posted in the past above, but I didn’t check to see if the links still work. In the meantime, here’s a link to one photo, the top photo is the Valencia as a church:
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The theater is completely intact, and well maintained. The colors they have chosen to paint the interior is a little garish, but it’s better than the alternative, which would be not maintained. It still looks good.

DLC on December 10, 2010 at 8:00 am

Interesting comment by T'toes. Thanks. My recollection is that each theater had its own magnificant architectural feature. Sounds, however, like the Lowes Valencia was the architectural winner. Has anyone posted interior photos of any of the theaters?

There has been some mention on this site of the Carlton Theater, several blocks to the east on Jamaica Avenue. My family went there back in the ‘50s to see the Red Badge of Courage. The total admission cost for the four of us was less than a dollar. The cost for my sister and me was, I recall, 9 cents and probably 25 cents for my parents. Years later, my sister’s wedding reception was held in that recycled theater, which by then was a catering hall.

Bway on December 10, 2010 at 1:07 am

I have no idea what remains of the Alden, but the Valencia is fully intact, and used as a church.

DLC on December 9, 2010 at 4:43 pm

The two theaters (Lowes Valencia and RKO Alden) were directly across from each other on Jamaica Avenue. One had a magnificant ceiling with twinkling stars; the other had a beautiful goldfish pond in the lobby.

As a kid in the 1950s I would walk with my friends on Saturdays to partake in the current fare: cartoons, the news, coming attractions, and a double feature, usually westerns.

When technicolor films started to become more common it was always a treat to see a movie “in color”.

Since we never paid attention to scheduled starting times, we would arrive whenever and then leave when the picture re-played and remind each other that “this is where we came in”. It never bothered us that we did not have full continuity in seeing the day’s movies.

It would be wonderful, if there is anything left to preserve, if those magnificant old theathers could be restored to their former glory.

jflundy on June 4, 2010 at 3:08 pm

November 28, 1947 photo by Ed Doyle with Metropolitan Avenue Car on Jamaica Avenue running to 168th Street.
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297maujer on May 22, 2010 at 4:34 pm

I think this became a DMV.

RobertR on April 17, 2009 at 10:34 am

Jamaica Avenue entrance
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The side marquee after the closing
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Bway on April 6, 2009 at 7:22 am

Do any of the architectual features of the Alden remain in the store is being used as? What is it today?

PKoch on September 25, 2007 at 2:40 pm

Try this, also see links in my post of May 12 2004 :


Asher on September 25, 2007 at 2:32 pm

I am in need of pictures of this theatre badly. Please respond if anyone has any original pictures of this theatre.

Asher on September 19, 2007 at 10:23 am

I would like to know if anyone has original pictures of the theatre and the building on 165th Street. The picture from WARREN which is a clipping of a newspaper article is great!


Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 7, 2007 at 7:13 pm

That facade still exists along 165th, Warren, largely as it appears in the rendering – albeit without the marquee. I’m also sure some of the window fenestration has been altered, but I believe the decorative parapet work is still intact. I noticed it just the other day as I was traveling on the LIRR. I’ll have to take another look next time I pass on the train.

PKoch on February 12, 2007 at 5:14 am

Thanks, Warren. Wow ! Hot black chicks and two late ‘40’s Universal monster movies ! What a combination ! Just in time for Valentine’s Day 2007 !

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 21, 2007 at 2:25 pm

While it may be true that anyone can order photos from the Municipal Archives, I for am quite appreciative of youngnyer1’s efforts to share them with the rest of us here at CT. Thanks a bunch, friend! Looks like you’re saving fellow members a lot of time and money by sharing your collection.

Bway on January 19, 2007 at 10:55 am

There’s a good photo of the Parthenon Theater on the Queenspix.com website, on the Ridgewood page.

PKoch on January 19, 2007 at 8:28 am

Thanks, Warren, I’ll go to your links, but I’m not spending $ 30 per photo and a 5 to 6 week wait for one photo of a theater. I daresay many others on this site won’t, either.

Bway on January 19, 2007 at 7:12 am

Yes keep them coming. ESPECIALLY the Ridgewood. Are these photos online somewhere, or did you have to obtain them somehow?

Bway on January 19, 2007 at 6:23 am

Wow, that would be really nice! I have seen plenty of old photos of the Madison (not that I wouldn’t want to see more), but the Ridgewood’s exterior (and especially interior) shots are hard to come by. I have only seen a few old exterior photos of the Ridgewood, and NONE of the interior…..so anything on the Ridgewood would be most welcome.

PKoch on January 19, 2007 at 6:07 am

Thanks, youngnyer1. I’ll look forward to more of these photos.

What have you got for the Ridgewood and RKO Madison Theaters ?