Arion Theatre

73-26 Metropolitan Avenue,
Middle Village, NY 11379

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Showing 26 - 50 of 99 comments

Jeffrey1955 on October 27, 2008 at 8:49 pm

While we’re at it, the description at the top of the page should probably be changed. It says “it is now a Genovese drugstore” — but there ARE NO Genovese drugstores anymore. Genovese was taken over by Eckerd; Eckerd was taken over by Rite Aid. So you could say it is now a Rite Aid drugstore… but with the way things have been going, it would probably be safer to just say “it is now a drugstore”!

Decembra on October 27, 2008 at 7:57 pm

Thanks for posting about Willie’s — you’re so right!!! — the best hot dogs and knishes on the face of the earth —in Middle Village anyway :) About Zweibel’s — I’m not sure. However what I do remember that at the very corner down from Willie’s was I where I always brought my 45’s — oh the memories :). Again — thanks for posting about Willie’s. …and yes — I know this is a website about the Arion Theatre, but one hand washes the other — it’s nice to reminice back in the ole neighborhood where the Arion once stood.

tomcory on October 27, 2008 at 6:25 am

Of course I remember Willie’s! Best damn hot dogs and knishes on earth. While we’re at it, anybody remember Zweibel’s (sort of a 5 & 10 store) a little further down Metro on the same side of the street?

reel222 on October 26, 2008 at 9:07 pm

Does anyone remember Willie’s Deli which was down the next block on the same side of the street?

tomcory on June 30, 2008 at 2:21 pm

THANK YOU, Warren, for sharing these photos. I felt like I was right back there again…

Bway on June 30, 2008 at 1:35 pm

That’s just how I remember the Arion.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on June 29, 2008 at 10:30 am

Here are two views taken in 1977, during a double-feature engagement of “Rollercoaster” and “The Seven Per-Cent Solution”:
View link
View link

johndereszewski on February 23, 2008 at 10:59 am

As it was the closest $1 movie house to Greenpoint, I would often take the Q-54 bus – when it was still the B-54 – from Brooklyn to visit it. I specifically remember seeing Footloose here and – despite the poor print and dreadful sound – enjoying it greatly. (I clearly concur with the Arion’s technical and maintenance shortcomings – but you could not beat the price!.)

Decembra on January 15, 2008 at 6:24 pm

The Arion (“The Itch”) ….I grew up in Middle Village on Furmanville Ave.—it was safe as young kid back then to go to the movies on a Saturday afternoon with friends. Elvis & Ann Margaret movies, King Kong vs. Godzilla movies (……yes…the matron shined that flashlight in my eyes and told me if I did'nt stop crying I would have to leave). My friends would make fun of me all the way walking back home. Great memories.

Jeffrey1955 on December 4, 2007 at 6:41 pm

I tried blowing that photo up, but it’s not high enough resolution and breaks down pretty quickly. However, I was suspicious due to the small number of letters — and it looks to me like it says
Cannot make out that last word.
Anybody remember a time in the late 60s when the Arion was closed?

Jeffrey1955 on December 4, 2007 at 1:40 pm

Obviously, Doug Leblang’s paintings are intended to be somewhat idealized memories of his old neighborhood, some more accurate than others. Note that on his website he has another one showing the front of the Arion on which the background color of the front ARION sign differs from that on the one we originally saw. Also note that he’s got a photo of the Arion from what appears to be the late 60s (unfortunately, it doesn’t expand if you click on it) and it clearly shows a larger illuminated marquee area than does his painting.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on December 4, 2007 at 1:08 pm

The introduction needs to be updated. The building is now part of the Rite Aid chain, designated as store #10603. Genovese was taken over by Eckerd, which this year was acquired by Rite Aid. I think that’s more ownership changes than the Arion Theatre ever had.

BrooklynJim on December 4, 2007 at 12:58 pm

Thx for providing the website URL above, LM, but is there any way to enlarge those postage-size pix of the Arion and the 1949 shot of the Metropolitan Ave station? – Ol' squint-eye Jim

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on December 4, 2007 at 12:21 pm

Whatever the number, the marquee claim is incorrect. It says “Academy Awards,” not “Academy Award Nominations.” Without “nominations,” the claim implies that the movie won that number of awards. And by the time “Casablanca” reached the Arion, the awards had already been presented, so the movie was no longer in the nominations phase.

Jeffrey1955 on December 4, 2007 at 12:14 pm

The number on the marquee is a 6, but you’re right, that depiction is completely wrong. Even the style of movable marquee lettering looks too modern. I don’t know who the artist is or why or when this picture was created, but it should not be confused with reality.
On the other hand, the photos on that site are wonderful.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on December 4, 2007 at 10:08 am

I’d be willing to bet that the depiction of the Arion “as it looked in 1942” is incorrect. Most of the neon display on the marquee has been replaced by metallic trimming, and the entrance and display cases have also been “modernized.” I suspect that the artist used a photo taken in the 1960s or later as reference, and then put one of his favorite movies on the marquee. Unfortunately, even that is incorrect. Though “Casablanca” did have its initial release in November, 1942, it didn’t reach late-run nabes like the Arion until the spring of 1943. On the night of March 4, 1943, it was presented with three Academy Awards, for best picture, screenplay, and direction. Is the artist correct even on that? I can’t quite make out the number of awards on the marquee. Is it 3 or 6 or 8?

Jeffrey1955 on September 6, 2007 at 1:55 pm

What’s left of the Arion SHOULD be the building to the rear of and spanning several storefronts on the south side of Metropolitan Ave., with 73rd Pl. a few stores to the left (looking northward; Lutheran Cemetery would be another block to the left) and 74th St. intersecting with Metropolitan across the street just to the right.
I think.

Bway on September 6, 2007 at 1:25 pm

The Arion must have been a quite small theater, as I am trying to find it on, and I was having trouble, but I think this is an aerial view of the building….

View link

RobertR on August 18, 2007 at 4:44 pm

Another kiddie double bill from 1969
View link

RobertR on August 18, 2007 at 4:23 pm

The Duke on a huge second run
View link

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 30, 2007 at 9:49 am

What is the basis for the claim that the Arion was the first theatre in Queens to be wired for sound? What sound movies, if any, played there prior to “The Jazz Singer,” which opened at the Arion on June 12th, 1928 and ran for four days. The first Queens engagements of that “talkie” were in early May of that year, at theatres including the Fox Jamaica, Fox Ridgewood, Prospect in Flushing, and Grand in Astoria.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 26, 2007 at 9:13 am

The 1926 Film Daily Year Book lists two Arion Theatres on Long Island, a 422-seat Arion in Maspeth and an 800-seat Arion in Middle Village. I wonder if they could have been under the same ownership?

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 25, 2007 at 11:59 am

Here’s a rare ad describing the Arion as “House of Talkies.” This engagement in August, 1928, came nine months after the silent movie’s NYC premiere at the Central Theatre in November, 1927. In the interim, Universal added a musical soundtrack in the Movietone system. I suspect that the claim “Now! You can HEAR as well as SEE ‘Simon Legree’” is a distortion of the truth. The movie had no spoken dialogue, but perhaps there were sound effects that included Simon Legree cracking his whip:

McGinty on March 14, 2007 at 2:00 pm

I lived on Metropolitan Ave. and 71st St. in my pre-teen years, so the second-run Arion was my favorite theatre for quite a while. I was only 11 or so, but the theatre seemed gigantic to me at the time.
It was pretty rundown, with red duct tape over the upholstered seats, but they charged $1.50 for kids and I was there pretty much every weekend. They had a smoking and a non-smoking section! I remember a double feature of the corny Western comedy The Villain &
the equally corny Hot Stuff. I also saw Chapter Two, California Suite, Kramer vs. Kramer, the Who’s The Kids Are Alright, Apocalypse Now, Breaking Away, Foxes & The Changeling there. They
had an eclectic booking policy, as I remember quite a few softcore sex comedies playing there, mostly Italian stuff like Wifemistress and The Sensuous Nurse. Sadly, the wily clerk there wouldn’t
let us in. I also remember the infamous Caligula having quite a long run there. They had lobby cards in addition to the movie posters which you don’t see anymore. When I saw that it became
a Jamron Drug store when I moved back to Queens years later, I wasn’t surprised….I was just glad it lasted as long as it did.

AntonyRoma on August 31, 2006 at 11:04 pm

Thanks BrooklynJim. The buildings behind the bus just didn’t look like my recollection of Niederstein’s exterior. I haven’t been in that area since the late ‘50s, and frankly I thought it was further east on Metropolitan Ave.

Here’s a map link to the surrounding areas, showing theaters:

Ugh, that was ugly. But it would have included the Ridgewood and most movie-houses of my youth with the exception of those in Richmond Hill and Jamaica.

Shalom, ciao, and excelsior,