UA Crossbay

9411 Rockaway Boulevard,
Ozone Park, NY 11417

Unfavorite 6 people favorited this theater

Showing 26 - 50 of 144 comments

jedweber
jedweber on December 14, 2007 at 6:40 pm

And there was a Sikh-bashing incident after 9/11, by some morons who assumed that someone wearing a turban must be an Arab.

I guess there’s always some tension when neighborhoods change.

Probably too many Indians there now for anyone to bash.

PKoch
PKoch on December 14, 2007 at 6:31 pm

In 1990 I dated a gal who was living in South Richmond Hill (103-15 110th Street) and she mentioned Paki-bashing by the earlier Italian residents of that neighborhood.

jedweber
jedweber on December 14, 2007 at 6:24 pm

South Ozone Park and Richmond Hill are still vibrant and full of life, but now filled with a new wave of Indian and Latino immigrants.

PKoch
PKoch on December 14, 2007 at 6:19 pm

kong1911, which Loews on Broadway was still showing movies until the lights went out, July 13 1977 ?

I think Bushwick is in much better condition now than the day before the July 13 1977 blackout. You can check it out for yourself at :

View link

kong1911
kong1911 on December 14, 2007 at 6:13 pm

In responce to PKoch. You must remember that the devastation in Bushwick was caused by the residence (not all) on the night of the big black-out in July of 1977. The Loews on Broadway was still showing movies until the lights went out. The patrons were escorted out of the theatre, they closed the door and never came back. Yes the stories are true. When the sun came up the next day what I saw reminded me of streets in Europe during WW II after a large bombing raid and to this day, the neighborhoods there and around there haven’t come back to where they were the day before the balckout.

PKoch
PKoch on December 14, 2007 at 6:06 pm

Good for you, LuisV. I commend you.

LuisV
LuisV on December 14, 2007 at 5:52 pm

I travel a fair amount and when I see the devastation in Detroit and North Philadelphia, Bridgeport, Cleveland, etc….it makes New York’s turn around that much more amazing. It’s very jarring to see neighborhoods that were vibrant and full of life, now vacant and menacing and devoid of hope. I hope that we never let our city go down that path again! I for one, will not flee. I will stay and fight!

PKoch
PKoch on December 14, 2007 at 5:38 pm

Thanks for these details, LuisV. Some of my best memories will also always be in Queens (Ridgewood, where I grew up, but also Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Richmond Hill, Forest Park, South Richmond Hill, Forest Hills, and Kew Gardens).

I can well relate to your fears of devastation, and your desire to live in a safe and non-arson-threatened environment, growing up and living in Ridgewood, adjacent to Bushwick at its worst in the 1970’s.

LuisV
LuisV on December 14, 2007 at 5:33 pm

PKoch, My new neighborhood (South Ozone) was mostly made up of refugees from East New York, City Line, Brownsville and Bushwick in Brooklyn as those areas lost their middle class residents. My family was one of the few from the Bronx, but we all shared the same fears and desires to live in a safe and non-flamable environment. I’m very happy that the people who chose to stay in those neighborhoods were able to turn it around and reap the rewards.

My family moved to New Jersey in the late 80’s (their jobs relocated) and I made the big move to Manhattan in 89 and I’ve been here ever since. I was a part of the gentrification of Chelsea and 6 months ago we bought a new condo in the Financial District and I’m thrilled to be a part of a brand new “old” neighborhood. It’s very exciting to see a neighborhood growing almost on a daily basis. There’s always something new going on. But some of my best memories though will always be in Queens!

PKoch
PKoch on December 14, 2007 at 5:18 pm

Good thoughts, LuisV. The comeback of Bushwick was especially noteworthy, I thought, because, at its worst, the devastation resembled the cities of western Europe right after WW II, as remarked by tourists from Europe bussed into Bushwick in the late 1970’s to gawk at the devastation there.

LuisV
LuisV on December 14, 2007 at 4:42 pm

Everything is making a comeback! My parents fled The Bronx in 1970. We went back to the old hood last summer and were amazed at how nice everything was. In the 80’s almost everything stood vacant and burned. There were empty trash strewn lots and abandoned buildings with the ocassional occupied one. While there are many things I miss about the old gritty New York of the past, the reality was, my home in Queens was safe and idyllic. When I had enough of the “grit” of Times Square, I could leave and go home. I’m very happy that the vast majority of New Yorkers today have neighborhoods that they feel safe in. That, more than anything else, has fueled New York’s resurgence and why we have more people living here today than at any time in our history.

PKoch
PKoch on December 14, 2007 at 4:30 pm

Last August there was an exhibit about Bushwick called “Up From Flames” at the Brooklyn Historical Society in downtown Brooklyn.

Although it still has a ways to go, Bushwick is definitely making a comeback.

PKoch
PKoch on December 14, 2007 at 4:26 pm

Thanks for these details, LuisV and J.D. Except for the near-exception of the Oasis Theater in Ridgewood, near the border with Maspeth, becoming a roller rink and concert venue, I hadn’t thought in terms of movie theaters surviving as dance palaces.

“the old "ask a random adult to get us into an R-rated movie” trick" : I remember reading about that in Reader’s Digest in late 1968 or early 1969 when the G M R X system got started. I think the title of the article was, “GMRX : An Alternative To Movie Censorship ?”

LuisV
LuisV on December 14, 2007 at 4:26 pm

Yep, I too did The Ritz, which like Roseland, was and continue to be Dance Halls. The Ritz, now Webster Hall, is on the verge on being landmarked. It dates from the 1880’s. Theaters made great discos and it’s so upsetting that none continue to serve that function today. Unusual structures oftern made the best dance clubs. Besides theaters, the other great discos of the past were Limelight (a old church), The Tunnel (an actual tunnel), The Roxy and The Red Parott (Old Roller Rinks), Bond’s International Casino (The huge clothing store in Times Square) and of course, all of the old warehouses (too many to mention.

Regarding growing up in South Ozone Park, it was a great experience. While large parts of the city were out of control (the Bronx and Bushwick were going up in flames) and Times Square had degenerated into an cesspool, our section of Queens was very safe and tranquil. I remember leaving our doors unlocked without worrying. My parents never worried about the kids.

Ironically, with New York safer now than at any time prior to the 60’s, you would never let your kids today do what we did back then when it was much more dangerous. Oh, the times have changed.

jedweber
jedweber on December 14, 2007 at 3:47 pm

Unfortunately (or not), I was too young to get into discos during the disco era. Besides the Palladium, I didn’t realize so many clubs were former theaters, but it makes sense. I often went to the old Webster Hall theater (which I guess was for stage or vaudeville rather than movies) in its 80s incarnation as the Ritz.

I agree with your characterization of the neighborhoods, too. I used to go to Jamaica to use the big library, but I wouldn’t hang around the area after dark. Ozone Park always seemed safe. I recall my parents and other grownups often complaining about crime, but they would let us go to theaters like the Crossbay by ourselves at a very young age. In fact, they were more concerned about what we might be seeing than about our safety. We did the old “ask a random adult to get us into an R-rated movie” trick fairly often at the Crossbay.

LuisV
LuisV on December 14, 2007 at 2:44 pm

I held onto my disco phase for a very, very long time. It’s why I am so familiar with all of the theaters in Manhattan that were converted into discos before their ultimate destruction. I would never have had a chance to see the Loew’s Commodore (The Saint), The Academy of Music (The Palladium), The Henry Miller (Xenon), The Forum (Club USA) if I hadn’t gone there to dance. Today’s youth has no idea what they missed! The only theater that was truly saved by a disco long enough to eventually return to its legitimate use was Studio 54. Many of these theaters would have disappeared much earlier without their turns as dance palaces. I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to have seen and experience them.

PKoch
PKoch on December 14, 2007 at 2:16 pm

Thanks for the insights on Ozone Park and South Ozone Park, vs. Jamaica, in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, LuisV.

J.D., I never knew there was a post-Star Wars re-release of “Barbarella”. Makes sense, though. More power to your teen-aged libido.

I think this coming Sunday December 16th 2007 is the 30-year anniversary of the opening of the film “Saturday Night Fever”.

LuisV
LuisV on December 14, 2007 at 1:40 pm

I never gave a second thought to attending any of the nabe theaters at night (Crossbay, Lefferts, Casino). Ozone Park and South Ozone Park were extremely safe neighborhoods to grow up in in the 70’s and early 80’s. Jamaica was a different story!

LuisV
LuisV on December 14, 2007 at 1:04 pm

I always thought twice about going to the Valencia or the Alden in Jamaica. While the theater itself was worth the trip, the area was, to put it mildly, dicey. I never attended a movie in Jamaica at night. It was always a weekend afternoon outing. Once you were inside the theater I never recalled any problems. The 2 films that I distinctly recall seeing at The Valencia were “The Omega Man” and a reissue of “The Ten Commandments” both starring that gun nut Charlton Heston! My Junior High School graduation (JHS 202 in Ozone Park) was also held at The Valencia in 1973.

jedweber
jedweber on December 14, 2007 at 12:59 pm

I believe that I may have seen “Saturday Night Fever” there (at the Elmwood), then walked across the street to the mall and bought the album. That would have been the high water mark of my “disco phase.”
I know that I saw the post-Star Wars re-release of “Barbarella” there, too, because I remember my teen-aged libido having a brief “Jane Fonda” phase.

PKoch
PKoch on December 14, 2007 at 12:29 pm

I wouldn’t say ruined, J.D., but much diminished from its former splendor, to say the least.

The last film I saw at the Elmwood before it closed was “Snake Eyes” in August 1998.

jedweber
jedweber on December 14, 2007 at 12:09 pm

I agree with you that the most impressive feature of the Lefferts was its marquee! “Most beautiful theater on Long Island”?? I guess UA or whoever owned it then had a very ambitious or demented PR rep. Of course, its glory days were long gone by the time I ever got there.

Unfortunately I never saw a movie at the Valencia. I had no idea how beautiful it was at the time – my mother only told me about it many years later. In the 70s it would have seemed too dodgy (and the neighborhood too seedy) to go out of my way to see a movie there. I peeked inside once after it was a church and was amazed.

As a teenager I would go to the Elmwood often, but mainly because it often had big movies before the theaters further south. (Also it was an easy ride on the Q11 bus.) I have to admit that I never noticed the architecture or decor. In those days I might have appreciated a theater’s size, big screen, or sound quality, but little else. Perhaps the Elmwood had already been ruined by subdividing by that point?

PKoch
PKoch on December 14, 2007 at 11:09 am

Yes, LuisV. The beauty of those last four theaters you mentioned spoke for itself, and made itself readily apparent.

LuisV
LuisV on December 14, 2007 at 11:02 am

Hey J.D. I agree! I grew up in South Ozone Park by Lefferts Blvd and my main 3 theaters in that time were The Lefferts, The Casino and The Crossbay. I must have seen dozens of movies there over the years, but only remember 2 specific movies: The Go Ape marathon at the Crossbay and opening night (in wide release) of The Godfather at The Casino. None of these theaters had anything (that I remember) notable in their architectural designs even though they were all built in the 1920’s. Warren actually found a clipping that claimed that The Lefferts was the “Most Beautiful Theater” on Long Island when it opened! I can’t imagine it was even the most beautiful theater in Richmond Hill! Unless it opened before the RKO Keiths Richmond Hill; then maybe. Apparently, The Lefferts had an organ and a goldfish pond in the lobby. These were long gone before I started attending in the early 70’s.

I have no recollection of the interior of the Crossbay and have not seen anyone post any pictures. I think the best part of this theater was the facade which included two urns. I believe this has been preserved when it was converted into a Modells. The best part of the Lefferts, by far, was its marquee which had a beautiful cursive script spelling out Lefferts in yellow blinking lights. Tragically, this was lost in its transformation into a Rite Aid.

I didn’t have the same appreciation for architecture as a young man that I do today and so I may have missed some beautiful elements that remained in these old theaters. Nonetheless, when I went to a true movie palace, like The Valencia, Radio City, RKO Keiths Flushing and The Elmwood, you didn’t need to have an appreciation of architecture to notice that they were truly beautiful and special buildings.

PKoch
PKoch on December 14, 2007 at 10:45 am

Thanks for your post, J.D. I attended both Crossbay I and II. My first time to Crossbay I was in June 1975 to see “Flesh Gordon” and “The Groove Tube” with my dad. We both had a great time and laughed ourselves sore. I was displeased with how dirty and littered Crossbay I had become when I saw “Back To The Future II” there the last Saturday in November 1989, and “Hard Target” the Saturday before Labor Day 1993.

I enjoyed seeing “Silence Of The Lambs” at Crossbay II on Easter Eve 1991, and “Defenseless” there late August 1991. I just missed seeing “Avalon” there in October 1990. Yes, it was utilitarian, but neat and orderly, when I went there.