Loew's Valencia Theatre

165-11 Jamaica Avenue,
Jamaica, NY 11432

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Showing 76 - 100 of 644 comments

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 1, 2008 at 6:04 am

I think that we’ve been down this road before. Yes, the church is to be commended for saving the Valencia from possible demolition. But they’ve defaced it in the process. They might have tried harder to retain the original decor instead of changing it. Loew’s 175th Street, another “Wonder Theatre” taken over by a church, still looks very much like it did in its heyday through careful maintenance.

Bway on April 30, 2008 at 9:34 pm

Gaudy yes, Desecration, no. It could be gutted and have “Dollar Tree” on the marquee instead. THAT is desecration. I’d take this any day over the alternative.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on April 30, 2008 at 7:48 pm

It is a pretty bad color scheme. Kind of reminds me of Vegas.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on April 30, 2008 at 4:55 pm

Better desecration than demolition.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 30, 2008 at 7:26 am

The two interior photos by “Rotoflex” of the foyer and grand lobby show the hideousness of the re-decorations. There must have been a bargain sale on green paint at the time. John Eberson would flip over in his grave if he saw it. “Restoration” is a word that should never be used for the current version of the Valencia Theatre. “Desecration” is the word of choice for anyone who knew the Valencia in its original form.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on April 29, 2008 at 3:23 pm

Could be wrong. But don’t think these have been added yet:

View link

Bway on April 22, 2008 at 6:59 pm

I am not familiar with the church, as was only last in there when it was still the Valencia. Also, the colors they painted the interior are quite questionable, but again, hey, it’s being well cared for and maintained, and that’s better than we can say for most theaters. Again, all that was “The Valencia” is all still there, and for that we should be thankful. This is the next best thing next to actually showing movies inside. Certainly better than a “Duane Reade” sign on the marquee.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 22, 2008 at 6:13 am

The chandelier in the auditorium ceiling was only added for decoration, to compensate for the removal of the atmospheric effects. The Valencia’s “house lights” were quite satisfactory in intervals between movies. You could read a programme by them, and I’m sure a bible or hymn book.

Bway on April 21, 2008 at 7:09 pm

I don’t understand that, but I guess that is the way it is done. As mentioned though, this building is very much open, and almost fully intact inside from it’s theater days. Of course, it’s been modified for the church use, which includes the chandelier to bring in light (as while a theater needs darkness, a church needs light), but if someone said tomorrow that they wanted to make the Valencia a theater again, it wouldn’t be all that hard to do, as most of it is intact.
I can understand a theater gone retail being listed as “closed”, such as let’s say the RKO Madison which is still very much the building standing, yet the interior gutted….that makes sense to say “closed”. However, the Valencia, although only used as a church, is very much open to the public, and still looks like a theater.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 21, 2008 at 1:21 pm

I think that the introductory “status” needs to be changed to “open.” “Closed” creates a false impression that the Valencia is inaccessible, which is hardly the case. It’s very much “open” to the public whenever church services are being held.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 19, 2008 at 8:15 am

New direct links to 1935 ads showing the last program of the Valencia’s original stage/screen policy and the first booking of movies exclusively: View link
View link

LuisV on April 6, 2008 at 10:46 am

While Jamaica has declined from its heydey (up to the 1960’s), there is a lot of hope for the future. At least 3 big hotels from Sheraton and Marriott are due to be built within two blocks of the Jamaica Air Train Station followed by several office buildings which are expected to serve as an “Airport Village” of sorts. There is even hope that JetBlue, the hometown Queens airliner will move their HQ to one of these new buildings. No hope, though, that The Valencia or The Alden will be returned to screening films anytime soon!

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 6, 2008 at 9:20 am

For whatever reason, the address in the introduction neglects to mention that the building is situated in Jamaica. At the time of the Valencia’s opening in 1929, Jamaica was considered the #1 shopping/business district in the borough of Queens. While Jamaica has declined in importance, it still ranks as one of the most important districts in Queens. Jamaica certainly should be mentioned in the address. If there’s not enough room, “Queens” should be dropped. “Jamaica, NY” is sufficient. Unlike other boroughs, addresses in Queens usually use just the neighborhood name, and don’t follow it with the borough. “Forest Hills, NY,” for example.

PKoch on January 28, 2008 at 12:52 pm

Thanks for your answer, Warren.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 18, 2008 at 6:01 pm

… although, that might explain the compartively paltry collection taken up at the Malboe!

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 18, 2008 at 6:00 pm

Or that the cannisters would come back empty! Not to imply that the young Warren would have been so mischievous!

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 18, 2008 at 1:39 pm

Many such collections were made during the WWII years, but I never gave unless one of my parents handed me something to drop in the cannisters which ushers passed down the rows of seats. They never circulated the cannisters through the sections reserved exclusively for unaccompanied children. I guess they were afraid that they wouldn’t get the cannisters back.

PKoch on January 18, 2008 at 11:37 am

Thanks, Warren. I asked you how much you donated that week on the Madison Theater page.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 18, 2008 at 11:08 am

During the “United Nations Week” that ran from January 14-20, 1943, all movie theatres in the New York area took up audience collections to raise funds for UN War Relief Agencies. Here are the totals collected at some of the Jamaica theatres. Having lived in that era, I would guess that most of the donations were in pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters, not in bills:
Loew’s Valencia, $2,211.71
Skouras Merrick, $1,625.15
RKO Alden, $1,167.38
Loew’s Hillside, $914.37
Savoy, $853.34
Skouras Jamaica, $836.09
Malboe, $3.27

PKoch on December 18, 2007 at 7:44 am

Thanks for this information, Warren.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on December 18, 2007 at 7:31 am

This ad for the Labor Day weekend of 1942 lists every Loew’s theatre in the Greater New York area at that time, including three in New Jersey. “Mrs. Miniver” had already enjoyed a record-breaking run at Radio City Music Hall. In anticipation of crowds, the Valencia opened its doors at 10:00 AM, more than an hour earlier than the usual 11:15: www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/loews9342.jpg

PKoch on December 12, 2007 at 10:20 am

Don’t worry about Warren, Ed. Thanks for your story.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 12, 2007 at 10:11 am

There was also a small above-ground public pool within walking distance from my families 3-family house on 41st Avenue. It was located in what used to be known as Linden Park just behind the former Loew’s Plaza Theatre. The park is now called “Park of the Americas” – I presume in celebration of the neighborhood’s predominantly South American ethnic makeup. I remember swimming at that pool once and finding that my sneakers had been stolen from their cubby (being an outdoor pool, there were no indoor lockers). I had to make the 6 or 7 block walk home in my bare feet – carefully studying the sidewalk and pavement ahead of me for any broken glass, bottle caps, soda-can rings or any other potential sources of pain and discomfort! I think back on those days – an 8 year old boy allowed to walk himself to the local park – and wonder how many parents would feel safe permitting the same these days! I thought nothing of it back then. My father used to ride the subways on his own at that age back in the ‘40’s as did my grandfather when he was 11 or 12 in the very early '30’s. And the City is quite a safe place nowadays! I think a very definite “suburban” mind-set has ingrained itself in the minds of many urban parents in recent years. Kids are babied and over-supervised as they grow into pre-adolescence to a degree that never existed even just 20 years ago. But I digress. I don’t want to continue to summon Warren to this page for something not directly related to the Valencia. Here endeth my social commentary!

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 12, 2007 at 9:49 am

I moved to Laurelton in ‘74, aged 9. Prior to that, I was an Elmhurst/Corona boy living on 41st Avenue just a couple of doors from Junction Blvd.