Loew's Valencia Theatre

165-11 Jamaica Avenue,
Jamaica, NY 11432

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Showing 76 - 100 of 471 comments

PKoch on December 12, 2007 at 11:58 am

Thanks, Warren. That’s fun to know.

PKoch on September 24, 2007 at 12:39 pm

OK, here I go …. (I’m sure Ed isn’t rabid, and doesn’t bite ….)

About to visit “A Man And His Movie Theater”, by Ed Solero …..

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 24, 2007 at 12:36 pm

In other words, Lost is a bit weary from “baby sitting” me over there! Don’t worry, it’s a padded room and I’ve had my medicine.

PKoch on September 24, 2007 at 10:40 am

Thanks, Ed Solero and LuisV. I’ll read the CT Laurelton Theater page carefully, and keep the personal chat, private.

LuisV on September 22, 2007 at 10:25 pm

Regarding the old Gertz Dept store….I never considered it a second rate Macy’s. The Jamaica store was the flagship of the 7 store Long Island chain and I remember it being a very nice store. The store’s slogan, written in fancy cursive script on the top floors facing the Long Island Rail Road tracks read “Gertz, Where Long Island Shops!”.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 21, 2007 at 9:40 pm

Speaking of “Road-ology,” my grade-school teacher (no, not the Hotel Bristol guy) used to tell us that a drunken Indian (meaning Native American) was to blame for the crooked path that Francis Lewis Blvd took in winding it’s way from Whitestone all the way down to Rosedale! If you’re familiar with that thoroughfare, Franny Lew takes a number of confusing twists and turns (including at least two 90 degree turns – even where nothing obstructs the continuation of the roadway). It was thus that my house in Laurelton was just one block over from the intersection of Francis Lewis Blvd and Francis Lewis Blvd!

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 21, 2007 at 9:34 pm

I’ve also posted a ton of photos there that I took of the Laurelton Theatre as it currently exists (it is a church) – or at least as it existed in February of 2006.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 21, 2007 at 9:32 pm

Hey Peter… I think that’s a tale best left to the page for my own personal little nabe, Interboro’s Laurelton Theatre. As Lost Memory can tell you, I had been holding a conversation with myself that lasted a couple of years over on that page and could use the company! Actually, I’ve probably posted most of what there is to say in the comments that are already on that page.

PKoch on September 21, 2007 at 12:02 pm

Thanks, Warren, for the Merrick Road-ology, as it were, and your description of the origin of Loew’s Valencia ! Way cool !

PKoch on September 21, 2007 at 11:48 am

Thanks, Ed Solero. Once my dad’s Aunt Suzie and Uncle Jimmy had moved to Hempstead from Bklyn (to accompany the Crane Plumbing Co.’s move there) in the late 1930’s, my dad rode out there from Bushwick, Bklyn on his bike. He preferred Merrick Blvd. to Sunrise Highway to bike out to Hempstead. He also rode his bike on Interboro Pkwy. before it was opened to automobiles. He loved the ride, but the rough unfinished under-pavement wore out the rubber of his bike tires awfully fast.

So, what was it like growing up in Laurelton, from 1965 onward ?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 21, 2007 at 11:16 am

Ugh. Merrick Blvd. My error, Peter. It becomes Merrick Road once it crosses the border into Nassau County (which was only a few blocks to the east of my neighborhood). Merrick Avenue exists, but further out east in the Nassau town of Merrick.

PKoch on September 21, 2007 at 10:16 am

Ed, that’s great news ! Your teacher avoided the cliche of being a bitter, middle-aged homosexual, mourning his loss of youth and good looks, preying on innocent and unsuspecting teenage boys ….

Although, in the case of me and my classmates, beginning sixth grade in the fall of 1966, with hormones beginning to rage then, a great deal was both suspected and imagined.

I was going to complain about you not commending me on MY creative writing. Then I took another look at what I had written, and saw I was merely echoing Clive Barker, and trying to apply my favorite horror stories of his to your high school situation.

Ah yes : Single Room Occupancy. A problem on the Upper West Side of Manhattan : mental patients turned out of hospitals for lack of room, “living” (really merely existing) in SRO’s, or, worse yet, on the street ….

OK, downtown Jamaica wasn’t really your neighborhood, yet you wrote about its decline so eloquently.

Merrick Avenue or Boulevard ?

Warren, I’m glad to read that the chicken chow mein sandwich is alive and well at the original Nathan’s at Coney Island.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 20, 2007 at 8:30 pm

I don’t want to wander too far off topic here, but I can tell you that my teacher’s problems (at least as I understood it at the time) had to do with a drinking and gambling problem as well as a recent and nasty divorce (I imagine the first two lead to the last one).

Saps… very creative writing there – and most evocative of precisely the way I imagined the inside of the Bristol to be!

Pete… in this case SRO = Single Room Occupancy. It looked to me to date back to the 1920’s. Limestone and brick, if I recall. I have to drive around the area one of these days and see if the place survived. If so, it’s probably been gutted for condominiums!

Finally, for the record, downtown Jamaica really wasn’t my neighborhood. I lived in Laurelton, which is several miles (and a couple of neighborhoods) to the southeast down Merrick Ave.

PKoch on September 20, 2007 at 6:03 pm

Thank YOU, Jack Tomai (poetic !) and saps (suspenseful).

saps, your story almost reads like an old EC horror comics tale, and has some of the tinge of those deliberately, exaggeratedly melodramatic lobby cards !

It also reminds me a bit of “Human Remains”, a Clive Barker “books of blood” story, one of several of them in which the sleazy sex-crime-drugs underbelly of a big city (in this case, a young male prostitute named Gavin, and his client, a middle-aged fancier of Roman Britain) is a front for a supernatural, or super-normal, horror that is infinitely worse.

Two other stories of his, even more apropos to this theater site, would be “Son Of Celluloid”, and “Sex, Death and Starshine”, the ultimate haunted theater story.

So, Ed, perhaps your former English teacher was not only a junkie and a sexual pervert, but perhaps had also managed to open a door into hell, or the nether-world of the dead, into which yet another unsuspecting young innocent ….

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on September 20, 2007 at 5:51 pm

“It was the summer of ‘92 and he had invited me up to his shabby digs at the old Bristol Hotel. Curiosity about his faded treasures (EC comic books? lobby cards?) had got the best of me and I agreed to meet my old English teacher there despite the long bus ride down the seedy streets near Jamaica Avenue. As I climbed the worn-down marble stairs — the smell of stale piss and body odor and old tobacco hanging in the air and my stomach in knots — little did I realize how this visit would change my life forever…”

OK, Ed, fill in the rest.

jacktomai on September 20, 2007 at 5:45 pm

Having attended Delehanty High School right off Jamaica Ave,I too remember the area very well: its good times and its not so good times. I graduated in 1964 so the area was in flux at that time but it was still a bustling, active shopping and business area. Going to either the Valencia or the Alden was a treat as was Teddy’s coffee shop. When my wife and I got married in 73 we bought most of our furniture at Ethan Allen Restful on Jamaica Ave. In high school, I bought all of my records at May’s Dept. Store in their record dept. on the first floor. Best prices around. One of my girlfriends in HS lived in Queens Village and I didn’t drive at the time, so I remember many cold, snowy nights waiting at the bus terminal by Macy’s for the bus to Queens Village. Living in Cypress Hills, it was quite a trip: the J train to 168th St. and then hike over to the bus terminal and then the bus out to Queens Village! Ah, youth!

PKoch on September 20, 2007 at 5:16 pm

Thanks, Ed Solero, for posting these detailed Jamaica memories of your youth. You’ve mentioned many interesting details of some rapidly changing conditions of your old home neighborhood.

Re : your former English teacher : I’m amazed that he also held on to his life, let alone his job as a teacher of impressionable youth ! May I ask what his personal problems were, and how did they, and the sleaze that he lived in, spill over to you and your classmates ?

SRO = Servicemen’s Relief Organization ? Was the hotel pre-WW I or II ?

kong1911 on September 20, 2007 at 5:15 pm

Gertz department store was one of the top of the line places to go for a wedding dress. The best thing about Gertz was going there as a kid to see Santa!!! It was better than Macy’s in Manhattan is now! I’m talking about the mid to late 1950’s when I was taken there. The line would go all around the place with all kinds of things to see. The smaller childred would be able to walk on a raised walkway while the bigger kids and the adults walked along with you on the floor level. I took your mind off of the endless line until to got to see the big guy himself. :–)

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 20, 2007 at 5:06 pm

June 1982. I lived in Laurelton and took the Q5 bus along Merrick Ave to Hillside Ave for 6 years ( including 3 yrs on my way to Ryan Junior High in Fresh Meadows via transfer to the Utopia Pkwy Q17A bus) from 1976 until 1982. I passed the opposing marquees of the RKO Alden and Loew’s Valencia Theatres just about every weekday during the school year. Saw the Valencia marquee changeover from movie theater to church. Observed the elevated J train tracks come down and recede into the distance to the west as it was dismantled from its terminus at Merrick Ave (I can recall the lower portions of the supporting stanchions remained along the curb of Jamaica Ave for several years before finally being ripped out). Passed by the Long Island Press sign (which remained in place on the facade of their former headquarters for years after the paper shut down). Watched as the Alden went from single screen to twin and then quartet.

As bustling a shopping district as Jamaica Avenue always was, that period was certainly of darker times for the area. I remember not to far from Jamaica Avenue there was an old pre-war SRO apartment building known as the Bristol Hotel. I remember driving by several times and the corner where it was located (somewhere along 89th Avenue, I believe) was busy with drug dealers, pimps, prostitutes and cars slowing down for the solicitation of one illicit service or another. Believe it or not, an English teacher that I had while at Jamaica High was taking up residence at the Bristol around this time! He was a troubled man with a littany of personal problems – and looking back, it’s amazing he was able to hold on to his job as a teacher of impressionable young teens! Oh the wonders of tenure – the Union is very strong in NYC!

PKoch on September 20, 2007 at 2:49 pm

Jack Tomai, good to read you back on this site again !

I remember those Woolworth’s chicken chow mein sandwiches well, but in Ridgewood, Queens, not Jamaica. My family and I liked them so much that we made our own at home, from take-out chicken chow mein, and buns from the grocery store.

I also remember eating at A & S on Fulton St. in downtown Brooklyn, 1962-66, both the cafeteria in the basement, and the fancier restaurant on the 4th floor. When I had the shrimp creole at the restaurant, I thought I was in heaven !

jacktomai on September 20, 2007 at 1:53 pm

The Gertz Dept. Store in Jamaica was, if I remember it correctly, sort of like a 2nd rate Macy’s yet still a very nice department store. I remember it well because my sister-in-law Regina Murphy worked there in the coffee shop in Gertz as a waitress in the late 60s/early 70s.
Does anyone remember the odd but very tasty chicken chow mein sandwiches on a hamburger bun you could get at the Woolworth’s counter in Jamaica?
I remember when I was a child, my grandmother taking me shopping with her and we would always eat lunch in a dept. store restaurant or coffee shop. It seemed so many stores had them back “in the day”. What a terrific convenience for shoppers!

PKoch on September 20, 2007 at 12:31 pm

Thanks, Ed Solero. Did you graduated from Jamaica High School in June 1983 ?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 20, 2007 at 12:28 pm

The Gertz was to the west on Jamaica at New York Blvd, wasn’t it? That street is now known as Guy R. Brewer Blvd. Mays was another department store I remember in the area, further to the east on Jamaica Ave around 170th Street. Mays lasted at least into the early 1980’s when I graduated from Jamaica High School.

twhiteside on September 20, 2007 at 9:43 am

Thanks for all the comments about the 9/14/52 movies at the Valencia. I also took the 1st commentor’s suggestion to check the NY Times microfilm @ the library & found that they were Iindeed “20 Million Miles to Earth” & “The 27th Day” Relative to another issue there was a Gimbels on the south side of Jamaica Ave. near the theater & before it was a Gimbels it was a Gertz.