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That’s up to the site administrators, robboehm. If you allow this listing to remain, then, conceivably, there could be a spate of new CT listings for proposed theater projects – replete with artists renderings, street-views, articles, etc – for any number of venues that never were in existence. That would indicate a bit of a shift in direction for CT. It might be interesting if there were some way to run a separate database within the site for theaters that never came to be, but I’m not sure its appropriate to celebrate those unfulfilled plans within the current theater database.
I agree, the information presented here is quite interesting, but it probably would be better suited as a CT blog item.
Again, thanks for the research you’ve done, Ken. I think you’ve provided plenty of ammunition, here, to sink the notion that this Airport Drive-In project ever got off the ground (groan, if you must). That last item from July 1, 1952, seems most convincing of all.
Of course, this means that all of the fine research, and musings here on this page will soon vanish into the ether(net), and it will be as if this conversation never took place at all.
But, before I shed a tear, I think I’ll clip this page into a scrapbook on my computer. Once this item is deleted, I’ll do my best to summarize on the Whitestone Drive-In page – just to put some closure on the matter (and satisfy my OCD urges).
Thanks for that research, masked man! If there is no further news on the matter, I guess this answers 2 questions: Firstly, it appears that grading of the lanes and ramps is among the first tasks performed in the construction of a drive-in theater, and, secondly, that the theater was never officially in existence.
I suppose that will mean deletion of this post. If that happens, Ken, I think your post above should probably be copied into the comment history for the Whitestone Drive-In, just to close the books on this theater that never was. I point to that listing, only because that was where CT member rivest266 first made mention of the proposed construction for the International Airport Drive-In.
It may well be that this listing gets deleted, but there is physical evidence of construction – or at the very least, site preparation. I think we could afford to sit on the listing just a little while longer, to see if anyone can verify whether or not the facility ever opened to the public.
Truth, Mike. Only new seats in the building are those in the two newest rooms – the stage area auditorium, and the tiny auditorium up front in the former retail space. In the 4 main rooms, are the same creaky red seats I remember sitting in for films like “1941,” “Rocky II,” “The Muppet Movie,” and “Dawn of the Dead” back in 1979!
Kong1911, it definitely progressed beyond the mere “talk” phase, as evidenced by that aerial shot. They got at least as far as grading the parcel with the familiar pattern of parking stalls and aisles for prospective patrons. Still, seems odd to me that the grading would have been completed prior to construction of a screen and utility/refreshment structure. I mean, wouldn’t you want your structures in place first, before making the terrain so hilly and difficult for construction crews to maneuver through? And wouldn’t the cables that would deliver sound to the individual speakers be laid out first, before the grading of the ramps? I have no idea how these theaters were constructed, so it beats me.
Excellent point, however, about the airport noise. I used to live directly under a flight path in Laurelton, Queens, and the noise of an overhead jet could be deafening sitting in your living room with the TV on, let alone out in a field with your car window cracked open for the speaker hook. But then, back in the early ‘50’s, how prevalent were commercial jet planes? This theater, if it ever operated at all, would have probably existed at the very dawn of the commercial jet age.
Do you have access to old Long Island Press editions? If this drive-in were to have been advertized in any of the daily newspapers, it would have been in the Press. Not sure if southern Queens had any smaller, more locally targeted publications that might have included listings.
I think the old listing was deleted and a new one created with proper spelling of Conduit and Jamaica, since it was so early in the goings on, Stephenvb. I don’t think there’s any other way to fix the location map.
Pity I wasted all that time cruising from lower Broadway out to the Conduit on the street view feature last night!
Tinseltoes had made a fair point in his comment, that there is really no evidence that this drive-in actually ever opened for exhibition. We can see that the site was certainly landscaped for a drive-in theater, per the 1954 aerial, but it is difficult to make out if there are any physical structures – such as screen, snack bar, projection facility – in that image.
Here is a direct link to a page on the Lynbrook Village website, where one can open minutes from previous Board meetings. If one were to click on the link for the 8/12/2013 meeting (the latest meeting at this time), a PDF document will open. At the bottom of page 5, are the following minutes:
“Special Village Counsel Jack Libert introduced Regal Theatre/Bluenfled Development Group (RTBDG) to discuss their intended redevelopment of the Lynbrook Movie Theater at 325 Merrick Road. David Blumenfeld and Jerry Grewe, representing Regal Cinemas, discussed the existing condition of the Theatre. Mr Grewe indicated that the proposed project would encompass all parcels owned by Regal, and provide 15 screens with modern theatre amenities. Chris Robinson of RMS Engineering, representing RTBDG, advised that the existing structure would be demolished, and a new structure would be constructed having a front entrance facing east on Hempstead Avenue, a drop off traffic lane in Patrick Henry Park, and parking provided off site utilizing available spaces on streets and in municipal parking lots.”
After listing those who commented (with no details as to what those comments may have expressed), the minutes go on to read:
“Mr Grewe added that the existing theater has 1700 seats, and the porposed theatre would have 3150 seats, take 12 months to construct, have staggered movie times to minimize traffic congestion, and possible reprogramming of pedestrian crosswalk times on Merrick Road by Nassau County. The Mayor thanked all for their comments and requested that the applicants advise Jack Libert regularly on the status of filing of a formal application.”
So, we now know that the intention is to demolish and construct an entirely new structure. We also know that this is still pretty early in the process, although, it would appear that Regal has a finalized vision for the redevelopment. I wonder how the discussion went, between all those who commented. It might not have even been a discussion, merely various points of view from various Chamber of Commerce representatives and, perhaps, a few local business owners and/or citizens. I can’t imagine they would have been too happy with the projects proposal to utilize only off-site parking.
There really isn’t much by way of convenient street parking in the immediate vicinity. The municipal lot on Forrest Avenue, which serves the storefronts on Atlantic Avenue, would probably bear the brunt of the load – thus necessitating the reprogramming of pedestrian crosswalk lights. Crossing Merrick Avenue at that intersection has always been a tricky proposition.
Never noticed before, but the address at the top has to be wrong. Perhaps it’s already been mentioned here, I haven’t checked all previous comments to be sure, but the 7550 Jericho Turnpike address would appear to be correct, as it maps accurately to the location of this theater, just off the Seaford Oyster Bay exit ramp, eastbound onto Jericho Turnpike in Woodbury.
Not sure where the 111 Jericho Turnpike address originated. It maps to the west of the Syosset Triplex, to a Home Depot, adjacent to Syosset Hospital.
The ad from October 7, 1933, recently posted by Tinseltoes would corroborate AlAlvarez’s post above, that the theater was advertised as the Lenox Little Theatre. Is there any confirmation as to whether or not the Little officially came before the Lenox in the theater’s appellation?
Every time I’ve been in Lynbrook Bagels since then, I haven’t seen the owner or manager – just the girls out front handling the busy line. I have to get in there when it isn’t so crowded and bustling and ask about that image.
According to this ad, posted by RidgewoodKen under the Strand Theater in Hempstead, NY, the Arcade was operated by the O'Connor-Radin Circuit in 1913. They also operated the Lyric Theatre of Rockville Centre, as mentioned in the ad, which has no listing on CT. It is possible, however, that the Lyric might have later become the Strand Theatre, which does have a listing, right here. The Hempstead Strand closed in 1926 (by that time, under the Calderone brand), and the only photo we have of the RVC Strand dates to 1929, so it is a possibility.
I also note in one of the ads posted by RidgewoodKen, the O'Conner-Radin Circuit operated the Arcade Theatre in Lynbrook, which later became the Studio 1. As for the Lyric Theatre in Rockville Centre, there is no listing on CT for such a place… yet. Unless, could this have been a previous name for the long extinct Strand Theatre?
There is no current address of 251 Hempstead Ave, but all signs seem to point to this building being located near the north east corner of N. Franklin and Front Streets. Currently, there is a parking lot for a shopping center, which includes a large Korean supermarket closest to the corner. I’ve adjusted the street view accordingly, pending more accurate information. The old view had us several blocks to the east.
Never knew about that drive-in, rivest266. Surprised there’s no listing for it on CT. Perhaps you should submit one!
Damn… That is too bad. Seemed like an ideal salvage for this old structure. Now, I’m sure, whatever is left of the place is destined to be hauled away as rubble.
The opening day ad indicates a seating capacity of 1400. If Loew’s added larger seats and extra space between rows, it is very likely that capacity was significantly reduced. Later, when the place was twinned, aggregate capacity was probably reduced further still. Is it safe to assume that the theater never held 1600, as had been originally noted at the top of this page?
Ken, I hope your posting of that ad did not involve any harmful tailgating!
Taking a look at the buildings on both sides of the block between Dongan and the tracks, it appears that the theater building went the way of the old LIRR Elmhurst station itself. I don’t think that even the oldest structures there today date prior to the 1930’s or ‘20’s.
The Hall’s own website does have a dedicated page for the new show – which the site page seems to refer to as the “Spring Show.” Right now, there’s little more than a form for one to leave their email address and cell phone, to be notified at some future date, once details regarding the show are made public. I presume we’ll find out ticket prices at that time.
I agree with NewYorker64, that the prices will likely be less than those for the Christmas Spectacular, but I’m not sure the difference will be quite as significant as 30-40%.
Shows finally excheduled here, per the offical website. Most of the events so far appear to be rock music concerts, including the October 4th opener, headlined by Fountains of Wayne and Soul Asylum. Other dates in October include performances by Alice Cooper, and Dr. John. Those names are actually not all that shabby, for a venue of this size, and probably on par with what you might see at Westbury Music Fair, and other comparable Long Island venues.
As for ticket prices, looks like the typical show here will run in the $30-35 range, with bigger names like Alice Cooper and Dr. John commanding up to $75 for premium seating.
All of these shows go on sale today at noon.
They keep saying “renovation,” but it seems like they’re talking about a whole new building? Not sure if they are razing it down to the ground or doing a gut job plus expansion? I get the feeling it’s the former. Always kind of hoped that they would retain the original facade, once final plans were approved to proceed with this long-needed upgrade.
Interesting photo. At first I thought it might have been a relocation of the original Frisco (fka Mini Cinema), from Seventh Ave down to W. 42nd, but this is definitely a different establishment (although, quite possibly with shared ownership). Ken’s caption on the photo calls it Frisco Gay Theater, which is what appears at the top of the marquee. And that is definitely the New Amsterdam marquee on the right. Based on the movie titles, I’d date this to 1978.
The space occupied by Keystone Books would later be home to an incarnation of the Roxy porn house, while video peep shows and adult books would continue to operate along the rest of those storefronts – including the location for the Frisco Gay Theater.
Here’s a curious ad for “Quo Vadis?” from October, 1913, when the picture was making its rounds in markets much smaller than New York City. This particular ad is for a small theater, in a tiny western New York state hamlet, and it exclaims the feature was to be shown “in Talking Pictures.” I imagine this bit of showmanship was accomplished by having actors speaking the lines (and perhaps with a few select sound effects produced) from behind the screen, in accompaniment with the exhibition. I wonder if this gimmick was featured at any time during its engagement at the Astor – or if it was dreamed up by exhibitors on the road for secondary and tertiary markets (and beyond)?