Queens Theatre

219-36 Jamaica Avenue,
Queens Village, NY 11428

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Showing 101 - 125 of 179 comments

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 19, 2008 at 11:40 am

I’ve never seen this advertised or publicized as anything but Queens Theatre (not “Theater”) from the time that it first opened:

gregwalsh on February 19, 2008 at 7:23 am

Dear Art,

Oh my goodness! Speaking of voices out of the past! I certainly DO remember you – and your limp – and your wife (Patricia, yes?) – and your home on Jamaica Avenue in Bellerose!

You and I have 50 years to catch up on. Please write to me, ASAP, at

Warmest regards,

Greg Walsh

Artie16 on February 19, 2008 at 5:06 am

Hi all:
I also worked at the Queens, and Community theater’s from 1952 till 1969 as manager.
In later years I was a projectionist with Local 640.

Anyone remember me?

Art Ringfield

Moishe21 on November 23, 2007 at 10:26 am

As a former member of IATSE Local 306 I worked at dozens of theatres within NYC. Indeed I worked at the Queens in the early 80’s when it had a porno grind policy. At the time the Diaz brothers owned the place. I also woked at the community when it was a twin.

FYI, in the early 70’s the Community was known as the Community Gardens……..rock n roll shows were the policy then…many stories of so many houses.

Today few union operators actually run films…….thanks in part to a corrupt local union and an international union who did not give a damn about the projectionists all over the USA.

Mortonman on November 16, 2007 at 7:07 pm

I can solve the theatre organ mystery. Austin was primarily a church organ company, but theatre organs were generally “unified” instruments. 42 ranks certainly has more punch to it than 11 ranks, but opus 1569 had only 11 ranks. I was the recipient of the organ’s being donated to Chaminade High School in Mineola, Long Island. It was a 3/11, not a 3/42. The Valencia did, indeed, blow this instrument away. It had 23 ranks and 4 manuals, and the ranks were on an even higher pressure than the Queens Village Austin.

The QVT’s reed ranks had already been taken by “midnight organ supply” before I took out the remnant in 1978. We managed to get exact replacement reeds from the Prospect Theatre and from the Beacon Theatre in Port Washington.

9 original Austin ranks remain in the 15 rank Chaminade instrument. All the Austin chests have since been replaced since releathering them would have been even more costly than getting new chests. The Austin console was replaced (given away) when we got the Robert Morton console from the RKO Keiths Richmond Hill in the mid-1980’s. Even the 7.5 hp Spencer turbine was replaced by the 15 hp Spencer from the RKO Keiths Richmond Hill. The old 7.5 is now working for the Middletown NY theatre’s Wurlitzer.

NativeForestHiller on January 18, 2007 at 10:22 am

Hi “Youngnyer1!” I am amazed by some of the tax photos that you posted. Thank you for sharing them with us! I am a preservationist who has high hopes for a number of these properties. I would like to correspond with you via e-mail, since I have a few questions to ask. Please e-mail me at Thanks! – Michael

youngnyer1 on January 18, 2007 at 7:22 am

This photo was taken in 1941 when the theater had a double feature showing “Love Crazy,” starring Myrna Loy and William Powell, and “Underground,” starring Jeffrey Lynn and Philip Dorn. Note the banner advertising the “cool” air conditioned theater. Also note the young couple walking to the theater.

This photo is from the NYC Municipal Archives. This is one of 700,000 photos taken of NYC buildings between 1939 to 1941 for tax purposes.

View link

Please look at my other comments to see more photos from this


Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 8, 2007 at 2:41 am

On reflection, I believe that the “pitch” was an attempt to show only the top “A” features from the double bills that originated on the Loew’s and RKO circuits, thus eliminating the lesser “B” product.
In the ad, for example, “Brother Rat and a Baby” had been the main feature to “Swiss Family Robinson” on the RKO circuit, and “Raffles” had played the Loew’s circuit, with “Congo Maisie” as the supporting feature. In those days, the Queens was not a first-run theatre. It played the movies at least a week after they had finished their runs at all the Loew’s and RKO theatres in the borough.

gregwalsh on January 7, 2007 at 6:50 am

Warren & JKane,

Back in the pre-TV heydays, a REAL “top hit’s” first run was always as a single on Broadway (or Hollywood Boulevard); often including some vaudeville acts. So-called “first run” showings in suburban theaters followed several weeks later. At this point, a second film was normally added to replace the vaudeville; especially since the “feature” averaged only 90-100 minutes in length to begin with.

However, to call the second film a “hit” was pure hokum. It was extremely rare when a “co-feature” film outshone the feature. The Ernest Borgnine classic, “Marty,” was an especially outstanding example. The Queens, Floral, and Meadows theaters were packed for two solid weeks!

JKane on January 7, 2007 at 4:53 am

Thanks for posting that ad. That is a bizarre pitch, since the theaters listed below (including the Community about 3 blocks away, also a good-sized venue as I recall) all advertise double features as well.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 7, 2007 at 4:29 am

A rare individual ad for the Queens Theatre from 1940. Since most neighborhood theatres in the Greater New York area ran double features by that time, I don’t understand the logic behind “You can always see 2 top hits for the price of one at the Queens & save the difference.” Wouldn’t that have been true of all theatres showing double features, not just the Queens? I don’t know of any theatre that charged a separate admission for each movie, at least not in that era: www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/queens1940.jpg

JKane on December 8, 2006 at 4:26 pm

Attended many double features here in the early and mid-60s (‘Portrait of a Mobster’/‘Fever in the Blood’ comes to mind for some reason); it was by far the largest venue in the area, though I never realized it had that many seats; somehow can’t picture a theater that size flourishing as an XXX house, though it probably afforded patrons ample ‘breathing’ room.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 8, 2006 at 3:35 pm

GregW… like it or not, it is a part of this theater’s history. Warren… did you notice that below the marquee and above the entrance doors it appears that the sign might read “Queens Village Theater?”

And Micheal D. Fein… I’ll never tell. The innocent must be protected!

zasu on December 8, 2006 at 9:32 am

EdSolereo, I gotta know. What happened at the Jamaica High School Senior Day in June of 1982?

gregwalsh on December 8, 2006 at 6:01 am

Warren, I hate to say it, but I enjoyed your earlier pictures much more… Yuk!

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 2, 2006 at 2:16 pm

Ha. Sex in Cunningham Park. Why am I reminded of the evening of Jamaica High School Senior Day in June of 1982???

zasu on October 2, 2006 at 10:51 am

Well KenF and GregW, I’m delighted to know there were such responsible and alert officials guarding the Queens balcony from such audacious behaviour. I always felt we should get sex out of the bedrooms and theatres, and into the bathrooms and Cunningham Park where it belongs. :–)

KenF on October 2, 2006 at 10:41 am

Gay hanky-panky in the upper reaches of the Queens? Not while I guarded the purple carpet and enforced the “Balcony Closed” sign in the mid-60s. And certainly not while my dad was among the gendarmie from the 105 who kept the back of the balcony safe for democracy (and the occasional nap).

zasu on September 27, 2006 at 4:23 pm

You might very well by correct Greg. As I said, I was no longer in the area at the time, so I have no idea who was actually running the theatre. I just was told that the Queens Theatre had become a real “hot” zone for this kind of activity, but my sources did not mention whether or not the theatre had been sold or whatever.

gregwalsh on September 27, 2006 at 2:43 pm


You might well be speaking of the theater’s later life as a porn house. There was absolutely nothing like that under Century Theaters management.

zasu on September 27, 2006 at 2:28 pm

There was a time, before the theatre was completely out of business, that there was quite a bit of gay sexual activity in the balcony. By this time I no longer lived in the neighbourhood, but this was conveyed to me by several friends who would most definitely be in “the Know.” :–)

gregwalsh on September 27, 2006 at 2:13 pm

Michael – If your mom was there during that timeframe, I’m sure I knew her. Unfortunately, her name doesn’t ring a bell. But then we’re talking 50 years ago…

For a discussion of the popcorn and mice, check out the posts of 12/22/04 (above).

Re “alternate living,” you’re losing me. What do you mean?

zasu on September 27, 2006 at 1:39 pm

Hello GregW,

Yes, it is very possible my mom worked in the Queens Theatre in the 1955 – August 1957 period. I believe she worked for the theatres until about 1958 or 59. Most of her time was spent at the Queens, but she also did time at the Fresh Meadows, The Alan, The Community and the Bellerose. Her name was Sylvia Fein.

Someone earlier mentioned the possiblity of mice in the popcorn bags or something like that. One day, when my mom was scooping out popcorn from that huge tank, she once took out the scoop and rather than popcorn, she found a rat.

The activity in the baclony was not quite the making out that most people described. It was far more “alternative living” kind of stuff.

gregwalsh on September 27, 2006 at 11:07 am

Warren – Those are fantastic finds from the LIP archives.

Ed – Your 1993 photo of the marquee is as it existed in the mid-‘50s. But in the mid-'50s, the vertical still existed.

In the ‘20s, all marquee and vertical lighting was incandescent. But by the mid-'50s only clockwise “traveling” lights around the perimeters remained with incandescent lamps; all other lighting was neon or back-lighted florescent.

Michael – In your earlier post, you weren’t precise on your mother’s tenure at the Queens. Might 1955 through August ‘57 be included?

As for “what went on” in the balcony, read Dorothy’s post of 12/22/04. For over two years it was my (unfortunate) responsibility to STOP that stuff (chuckle)!