Loew's Valencia Theatre

165-11 Jamaica Avenue,
Jamaica, NY 11432

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Showing 26 - 50 of 644 comments

Tinseltoes on April 6, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Sixty-two years ago today, Loew’s Valencia opened a week’s engagement of MGM’s B&W “Command Decision,” starring Clark Gable, Van Johnson, and Walter Pidgeon, and the Monogram B&W programmer, “Henry the Rainmaker,” both exclusive first-run for Queens. The same conditions had prevailed the previous week with Paramount’s Technicolor “Whispering Smith,” with Alan Ladd, and Paramount’s B&W “My Own True Love,” which had now moved on to an exclusive-for-Queens week at Loew’s Triboro in Astoria.

TLSLOEWS on March 28, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Well Bway,lets see it this theatre gets anymore hits!LOL.

Bway on March 28, 2011 at 11:53 am

LOL! I just saw the Valencia name, and said, “Wow, it’s a long time since I saw that one come up in my email updates!”

TLSLOEWS on March 27, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Relinking,just to stur up some interest.

Tinseltoes on November 28, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 1953, Loew’s Valencia attracted large crowds and lobby “lock-outs” with MGM’s Technioolor adventure, “Mogambo,” starring Clark Gable, Ava Gardner, and Grace Kelly, and presented on its wide-vision screen with stereophonic sound. The supporting feature was MGM’s B&W collegiate musicomedy, “The Affairs of Dobie Gillis,” with Debbie Reynolds and Bobby Van. As had been the policy since the Valencia first opened in 1929, the engagement was exclusive first-run for the borough of Queens. That held true until the mid-1960s, when the “Premiere Showcase” concept became common practice in the Greater New York territory.

jsiggy on October 30, 2010 at 8:02 am

Little known fact about the Valencia Theater in Jamaica, NY:
Charlie Parker performed there live in 1952. Hear him again here:


Jamaica was also home to Illinois Jacquet. A church in the old Prospect Cemetery in Jamaica, now part of York College, is dedicated to Illinois Jacquet with jazz concerts from time to time
John Signorelli

TLSLOEWS on August 9, 2010 at 11:30 am

Nice photo jwballer.

GeorgeStrum on January 21, 2010 at 12:26 pm

To get an idea of what the very first patrons to the Valencia may have seen on the screen is a 3 minute introduction of the first movie shown: White Shadows in the South Seas 1928 Youtube. Try it.

TLSLOEWS on December 8, 2009 at 10:32 am

Lots of great pictures in this site.Will have to check it out if I ever go to Queens

TLSLOEWS on November 5, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Very cool theater, glad its still there,some things were meant to last.

mauriceski on October 6, 2009 at 8:13 pm

Thanks Kong1911,I thought it was also Kangaroo meat.My mom would send me to the New York Blvd.Store for ham and sausages,back around 1946

kong1911 on October 6, 2009 at 8:03 am

My father had a butcher and grocery store in east new york brooklyn and sold merkel products for years. I thought there bacon was the best. Merkel’s building could be seen from the Long Island Railroad platforms at the Jamaica station. The Merkel Big sign above the building has been gone for many years but the building was there until about a year ago. One of the reasons Merkel closed down was that government inspectors found that to save money they were mixing horse meat into their products. If you go back that far you would have read that in the Long Island Press.

mauriceski on October 5, 2009 at 11:37 pm

Doe’s anyone remember MERKEL’S MEATS located at New York Blvd.And Archer Ave.I think it closed in the late 50s

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on June 2, 2009 at 1:28 pm

“Private entrance to what was arguably New York’s grandest theater, meticulously restored” will be part of four FREE Saturday afternoon walking tours being conducted by the Jamaica Center Business Improvement District. The dates are June 13, July 11, September 26, and October 10. All tours start from the front porch of King Manor Museum at Rufus King Park. Advance reservations are required. More details at http://www.jamaicacenter.org/newsevents09.htm

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 17, 2009 at 11:07 am

The Valencia closed as a theatre in 1977. “The Greatest Show on Earth” first played there in 1952, but if “Cecil” is the first word on the marquee, DeMille’s remakes of “The Ten Commandments” and “The Buccaneer” were shown at the Valencia in later years, as well as resissues of “Samson and Delilah” and “Reap the Wild Wind.”

RobertR on April 17, 2009 at 10:30 am

Near the end
View link
The date of 1982 is wrong because the vertical was long gone. I’m guessing the marqueee might say Cecil B. DeMilles Show on Earth?
View link
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View link

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 12, 2009 at 6:36 am

Just re-registering with a note that the Valencia celebrated its 80th birthday in January. Although the old gal ain’t what she used to be, she promises to be with us for many more years.

Bway on April 6, 2009 at 7:44 am

Here’s a Google street view of the Valencia:

Click here for link

Bway on March 26, 2009 at 7:48 am

Warren. It is just paint. The theater could have been completely gutted inside and used as a store. It could have been ripped apart and left to rot like the RKO in Flushing. Or worse, it could have been torn down and used for a parking lot. The Valencia faired very well. Perhaps not as tasteful as the Loews 175th St also used as a church, but WAY better than most of other theaters have met their end.

johndereszewski on March 26, 2009 at 6:24 am

I strongly agree with you Luis. While not a perfect solution, these conversions are far preferable to the alternatives of demolition or radical alteration.

To your list of successful conversions let me add the old Woodside, which now functions as St. Sabastian’s RC Church. Both the the exterior and interior of this lovely building are certainly worth a look.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 26, 2009 at 6:03 am

Paint is not just paint. Suppose someone changed the colors in the “Mona Lisa?” The color changes at the Valencia, along with hanging a chandelier in the center of the atmospheric auditorium ceiling, are a tragic desecration of John Eberson’s art. Thankfully, his Paradise Theatre in the Bronx has been magnificently resuscitated, even though it’s currently closed to public view.

Bway on March 26, 2009 at 3:39 am

You are absolutely correct Luis. The Valencia may not be a theater, and it may be painted strange colors, but it’s beauty is all intact and still there. If this church hadn’s taken it over, it could have been actually demolished, or converted into retail, and destroyed. NOTHING is destroyed in the Valencia, and paint is just paint. The magnificent plaster work all survives.
Churches are one of the best after theater uses a theater building can get.

LuisV on March 22, 2009 at 12:15 pm

Wow, I’m an atheist and I couldn’t disagree with you more!

The beautiful building that housed the films that we went to see in our youth is still there. The work of all of the talented artisans there for all to see.

I wish that a church, even if it were the Scientologists, had taken over the Roxy or the Capitol or Loews 72nd St, or Proctor’s E. 58th St, or the Paramount or any number of spectacular palaces for conversion into a church. They didn’t, and they were all demolished. These thaters ARE GONE…..FOREVER!

Loew’s 175th Street theater, was also taken over by Revernd Ike’s church and lovingly and meticulously restored. It now houses frequent concerts. I have yet to attend, but I look forward to the day that I do. And when I do, I can thank the Reverend Ike for saving that spectacular theater for future generations.

It’s not realistic expect the old palaces to be preserved based on showing movies. In the entire New York Metropolitan area, home to over 18 Million people, there are just 3 palaces that just show movies; The Ziegfeld in Manhatan, Loews Jersey in Jersey City and The Lafayette in Suffern, NY.

Some of the old palaces like the New Amsterdam, the Broadway and the Gallo Opera House (aka Studio 54) are back to live theater. Radio City, Beacon, Apollo, Loews Paradise, St. George are all entertainment venues. Loews 175th is both a church and a concert hall. The Hollywood, Loews Elmwood, Loew’s Metropolitan, Kameo, Elmwood, and Stanley among others are churches who have maintained the integrity of the original theaters.

The Brooklyn Paramount was saved decades ago by LIU and converted to a gymnasium. They now have a brand new gym, and the possibility now exists that, someday, the Brooklyn Paramount can be reborn.

The landmark process is underway to try and save two other old theaters, The Ridgewood in Queens and The Paramount in Staten Island.

My point is, what made movie palaces special was the architecture and the atmosphere that it created when you went there to see a film. Even when it is no longer showing a film, the architecture and atmosphere remain and it is a window into the past that future generations should be able to see. It was a time when Where you went to see a film was (perhaps) more important than What you went to see.

I, for one, am grateful for each palace that is saved, even if the saviour (pardon the pun) is a church.

p.s. Loews’s Kings and the RKO Keiths Flushing sit in ruins waiting to be saved. While I would much prefer to see these historic palaces returned to us as entertainment venues, I would settle for a religious one just to save the buildings.

The answer should NEVER be “just tear it down” because that is truly forever.

AldoCP on March 22, 2009 at 11:34 am

Converting it into that church was the same as demolishing it. It’s gone. One way or the other, it’s gone.