Kew Gardens Cinemas

81-05 Lefferts Boulevard,
Kew Gardens, NY 11415

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Showing 76 - 100 of 112 comments

PKoch on December 29, 2006 at 5:41 pm

Thanks for mentioning this, hardbop.

Happy New Year to you and everyone else here on Cinema Treasures !

hardbop on December 29, 2006 at 12:09 pm

Gotta say I save big bucks by patronizing this cinema, which I learned when I stumbled onto this web site. The $6 bargain price (weekdays before 5, all day Tues. & Thurs., shows before 2 p.m. weekends/holidays) is one of the best kept secrets in New York City. And it is a relatively short subway ride from Manhattan on the Express E & F trains.

Most of the films I want to see are playing in limited run in Manhattan, but at least four of them will eventually work their way out to Kew Gardens.

PKoch on December 11, 2006 at 2:39 pm

“I wonder what Kathy graduated from (or to)?:”

Hopefully not the fate of Shauna Grant, born Colleen Applegate : abortions, venereal disease, suicide by gunshot, as outlined in “Death Of A Porn Queen”, Frontline, PBS, 1987.

telliott on August 19, 2006 at 4:35 pm

I would appreciate it if Lost Memory, Warren and anyone else who wants to use this wonderful site for personal vendettas would refrain from doing so. If you want to call each other names, threaten each other or anything else then kindly create a Blog for yourselves or e-mail each other but please…Keep it out of here! Thank you.

mikemorano on August 18, 2006 at 10:02 pm

In my humble opinion the only way that someone could interpret ‘If I go, he goes with me. It’s a package deal!’ as a death threat would be as a lover’s suicide pact which I do not believe was the meaning of the above text.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 18, 2006 at 3:24 pm

Ken… Thanks so much for posting those images. I’m glad to see that my memory wasn’t as faulty as it often is and that the old “AUSTIN” lettering from the marquee is indeed displayed in that room off the lobby. Unfortunately, beyond those glass doors at the end of the long view of the foyer you shot, there is little left (if anything) of Sandblom’s original design for the Austin’s interior.

And now that the site seems to be back up and running properly, I’d like to make a plea to both Warren and Lost Memory to indefinitely extend the unintentional cooling down period that resulted from this most recent outage. Guys, you both contribute valuable information to this site and while some may not agree with Warren’s purist vision of what this site should be just as others do not agree with the more casual conversational format Lost Memory supports, it would be a shame to see the comment threads here deterioate into a school yard pissing match (pardon my French). That, I fear, would drive more good people away from this site than any individual offense each one of us could possibly offer on our own.

So please, lay down the swords and lets continue on amicably in the spirit of our mutual admiration for this site’s nominal topic.

deleted user
[Deleted] on August 17, 2006 at 9:22 pm

And just for good measure………

Why, the whole world will pay to see this.
No chains will ever hold That.
We’ll give him more than chains. He’s always been king of his world, but we’ll teach him fear.
We’re millionaires, boys. I’ll share it with all of you. Why, in a few months, it’ll be up in lights on Broadway: “Warren”, the Eighth Wonder of the World!

Deep Throat

Hmmm…Who could that be? LOL

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 17, 2006 at 6:52 pm

Click here to go directly to the article and photo. Thanks for sharing, Warren. Actually, I’m glad that the ‘77 shot of the Austin was included over the recent color shot (since we can go down there and easily see or photograph it ourselves), but I would have liked to have seen the '48 shot. I wish the image was larger than it is. Looks like they simply scaled down the marquee and re-faced the facade in modern looking materials for the conversion from porn to high art.

In the current theater, there is a small room off to the left as you walk through the front doors into the lobby. I seem to recall there is some vintage neon on the wall of that room that may be the big “AUSTIN” lettering from one side the old marquee. I have to go back there and check it out – I might be mistaken about exactly what it is that is in that room. Seems one of those signs would take up an awful lot of wall space!

Anyway, here’s a repeat link to a recent photo first posted by Lost Memory on August 10th, 2005.

BrooklynJim on June 17, 2006 at 4:00 pm

In 1969-‘70, we only knew this theater as the Austin up on Lefferts Blvd. My first fiancee and I were repeat customers many times during this timeframe. Since we were without cars then, we’d walk up from the BMT el on Jamaica Avenue to the Austin, perched atop a fairly steep hill. (Rough to climb in those windy winter months!)

The movie programs were varied and good, and the admission prices were always reasonable in those days. Saw a ton of movies there, including Liza Minelli’s “Sterile Cuckoo,” the re-release of Gable’s “Gone With the Wind” (1939!) and the first run of George C. Scott’s “Patton.” Brilliant!

The only downer is that Antonina had her wallet stolen out of her purse by one slick dude who was sitting behind her in the balcony one evening. (Dick Tracy Crimestopper tips in the Daily News always warned her about thievery like this, but she was one careless gal. Oh, well. So sad, too bad…)

The Austin is one local neighborhood theater I miss a lot and will will have to check out the Kew Gardens Cinema next trip back to NY.

NativeForestHiller on May 25, 2006 at 5:49 pm

Thank you very much for sharing this. Perhaps that will be one of my future efforts. In regard to the Cinemart, I hope to work with the owner and restore remnants of the interior. From what I’ve seen beneath the paneling, an ornate ceiling does exist, although it might have some holes.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 25, 2006 at 5:39 pm

I’m not sure if anything remains beneath the current banal facade, Native. There is a vintage work of neon signage inside a small room off the theater’s lobby (perhaps a former box office or manager’s office?) but aside from that, I believe all was gutted and lost with the multi-plexing. Perhaps, as with the Cinemart, some remnant of the original lobby exists above the current drop ceiling?

Here’s an ad from the 12/9/80 edition of the NY Post for the old XXX Austin, Olympia and Queens theaters (I presume they fell under the same ownership at the time):

Prisoners of Paradise

Typically, the small ad was clustered in a lower corner of the page with another ad for a Kung-Fu grind house feature and a few “hourly rate” motels!

NativeForestHiller on May 25, 2006 at 5:56 am

Kew Gardens Cinemas has one of the “blandest” facades, which bears no evidence of its Art Deco splendor. I have never been to this theater. I hope that the original facade is underneath, and can be restored. Forest Hills 100th anniversary is this year & Kew Gardens Cinemas borders Forest Hills. What better way is there to celebrate than restore as many historic buildings as possible!?! Does anyone have any photos prior to the renovation, or recall how it once looked? Let’s work together, & hopefully we can convince the owner that our vision is viable. Please help. Thanks!

PKoch on May 23, 2006 at 2:46 pm

pmulins, hardbop, perhaps the Kew Gardens Cinema should hire you to do their publicity, but then their ticket prices might go up, to pay your salaries ….

Yes, over the year, you can save lots of money, especially if you see at least one movie a week, like I did when I was single.

Now, I watch one of my wife’s or son’s movies each day …

hardbop on March 31, 2006 at 4:16 pm

I continue to patronize this theatre (which I had never even heard of until I found this board) and last Friday caught “Tsotsi” and “Thank You For Smoking” for $6 a pop. Also caught “Cache” here.

Over a year you can save quite a bit of money when you spend $6 to see a film instead of $10.75 that I was charged yesterday by the Angelika to see “Duck Season.”

I now wait for the films to play at Kew Gardens whenever possible. They usually put up posters in the lobby trumpeting the upcoming films and put a sign up that tells when they are open. Usually they pop up here two or three weeks after they open in Manhattan at Lincoln Plaza or the Angelika.

PKoch on March 6, 2006 at 2:10 pm

pmulins, there’s also the El Greco Diner on Emmons Avenue in Sheepshead Bay, just south of the Belt Parkway.

pmullinsj on March 4, 2006 at 10:12 pm

Saw ‘Cache’ and ‘Tristram Shandy’ there in last few weeks. I like to go out of Manhattan to see movies, it’s less claustrophobic and changes the perception. usually walk around the neighbourhood and try a restaurant. This is a nice area, but not all that characterful. I like Sheepshead Bay, and don’t even mind the UA Cinema there, even though everybody else hates it. Of course it’s ugly, but you can stop by Randazzo’s and get Fried Calamari.

Anyway, this Kew Gardens cineplex is especially charming in itself and there are some good greengrocers around.

pmullinsj on March 4, 2006 at 10:09 pm

Amazing history, a real pleasure to see first-runs at now.

PKoch on February 27, 2006 at 7:38 pm

The more I read about this theater, the more I want to go there !

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 27, 2006 at 6:48 pm

I remember one time coming here in 1983 or ‘84 on a drunken excursion with a few co-workers when it was a porn theater. I’ll never forget the experience. The movie playing was something called “The Girl from S.E.X.” with a “plot” that was intended to be a spoof of a spy movie. I went with 3 other guys, one of whom I worked with at a Mini-Mart on 108th Street in Forest Hills. It was a cool early summer’s day and we were having some beers when we decided to pile into somebody’s car and take a trip to the Austin. This would be the ONLY time I ever found myself inside a real XXX house.

I can’t say I remember much about the theater’s decor, but I know that the facade was completely different than it exists now. I want to say it was a low-lying 1 or 2 story brick front, but I have no clear mental image. I also think we purchased our tickets through an outdoor ticket window – much like the one at the Polk Theater in Jackson Heights. Inside, there was a short vestibule and second set of glass doors and then a dark and decent-sized lobby with doors to the auditorium (which ran straight back to the screen wall in a line from the sidewalk) and stairs up to the balcony.

We sat up in the balcony, which one entered through an open hallway from the staircase landing. The balcony appeared very shallow and I seem to recall that the seating included a couple of sofas at the rear!!! As we sat to watch the movie, a sense of discomfort sat in with all of us. As we talked before the movie began we decided to call each other by names other than our own (partially in jest and partially for the sake of anonymity)… but in our drunkeness, we had forgotten the names we had been using so that each time one of us addressed another, we’d use a completely different name than before. We joked that anyone below us in the orchestra might think there were 10 or 12 of us up there instead of the 4 that we actually were. We didn’t get more than 20 minutes into the feature when we all sort of freaked out over the gentleman in the overcoat who had come in and stood silently in the row directly behind us. Having had enough, we elected to walk out before much longer, never learning if, in the end, the Girl from S.E.X. was able to “finish off” the bad guy (though, we can assume that she did exactly that… to their mutual satisfaction)!

I’ve been back a couple of times since the theater reinvented itself in 1999 or so as a multiplex for the more discerning film goer, but it has been a few years. I think I saw “Chocolat” and “Being John Malkovich” here and possibly “About Schmidt”. Parking can be a bit problematic, but the effort is rewarded with an eclectic selection of films that usually do not reach the outer boroughs. If I recall, there is a small room off to the side of the lobby where an original neon sign for the Austin is on display. That’s a nice touch. The way the theater itself has been carved up sort of reminds me of how the Fantasy in Rockville Center was subdivided.

Fran on February 27, 2006 at 4:35 pm

my absolutely favorite theater in the city. I love the movie selection, the cozy atmosphere, the personnel, the patrons, the price, the spotless bathrooms. And a hot cup of Earl Grey tea on a freezing winter afternoon (or evening) is that extra friendly touch that keeps bringing you back for more.

PKoch on October 31, 2005 at 6:36 pm

Go for those bargains, hardbop !

Fortunately, the Kew Gardens, formerly the Austin, is not in the middle of nowhere, but is at a busy, easily accessible location, convenient to subway, bus, LIRR and walking.

hardbop on October 31, 2005 at 4:54 pm

Thanx to this site I am now a regular at the KG Cinema, taking advantage of the $6 tickets on all weekday afternoons, all day Tuesday & Thursday and first shows Saturday & Sunday that start before 2 p.m.

Recently, I caught GOODNIGHT, & GOOD LUCK, THE PRIZEWINNER FROM DEFIANCE, SEPARATE LIES & PROOF. PRIZEWINNER & DEFIANCE lasted only a week at the KG. Over time the savings add up. Some Manhattan Theatres now charge $10.75.