Queens Theatre

219-36 Jamaica Avenue,
Queens Village, NY 11428

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Showing 101 - 125 of 153 comments

zasu
zasu on September 27, 2006 at 7:23 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
gregwalsh on September 27, 2006 at 5:43 pm

Michael,

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
zasu on September 27, 2006 at 5:28 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
gregwalsh on September 27, 2006 at 5:13 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
zasu on September 27, 2006 at 4:39 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
gregwalsh on September 27, 2006 at 2:07 pm

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)!

zasu
zasu on September 27, 2006 at 12:01 pm

Thank you for sharing this photo of the Queens Theatre. This is one of the three Century Theates my mom worked in during the 50’s behind the candy counter. I spent many a weekend there as a kid watching films over and over again. When I was a teenager I also went to that theatre regularly with my Jr. High and neighbourhood buds. I always found the balcony a fascinating area to explore. You would be amazed what went on up there.

I wonder if anyone has any inside photos of this theatre to share with us.

Michael

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 27, 2006 at 11:38 am

Didn’t one of those “talkie” remakes involve the Ritz Brothers? The caricatures in that ad feature expressions similar to those in just about every Ritz Brothers publicity still I’ve ever seen! I guess to have them in the remake was a natural. And taken from a stage play, no less.

The original facade was pretty subdued, judging from that newspaper photo. Of course, we don’t have the advantage of a vintage color photograph… but here is an image from 1993 (which I previoulsy posted) with the ornamentation appearing to be largely intact. I’ll try to take some current day photos as soon as I get a chance. From driving by, I know the marquee has been spruced up – if not replaced – since ‘93.

gregwalsh
gregwalsh on September 5, 2006 at 5:41 am

Ed,

I remember – from my days as Head Usher – the occasional wad of gum on seats, missed by the cleaners.

Your Newsday ads evoke an interesting question: During the porn days, were the seats even more sticky??

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 5, 2006 at 5:14 am

I have a number of local newspapers from the 1980’s, saved for various reasons (the murder of John Lennon, the death of John Belushi, the Challenger tragedy, etc.) and I’ve posted a number of ads on this site from those papers. One thing I noticed from perusing those yellowing pages is that advertising for XXX theaters seemed to prosper in the NY Post and Daily News, particularly in the early part of the decade. The Times stopped allowing such advertising in the late 1970’s (after the chic had worn off). I never noticed any ads or listings for porn houses in Newsday until I came across these small ads from the fall of 1985:

Little Oval Annie – Newsday 9/23/85
Call Girls and Superstar Ladies – Newsday 10/5/85

JimHyland
JimHyland on July 1, 2006 at 9:04 am

Our favorite thing about the Queens Theater was, after seeing the movie, sneeking up to the balcony “living room” area and turning off all the lights. We would then hide and make the ushers find us. I was small enough to fit in space that was part of large chair. Sorry Greg W but if it wasn’t for us what would you ushers do? I wrote a book about growing up in QV in the fifties and there is a chapter on how to sneek into the Queens never the Community. It also covers Winter’s and Mueller’s Ice Cream Parlors,OLL,PS33 and Braddock Park.There is also a plan for getting a kiss while not getting slapped.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 25, 2006 at 9:43 am

Here’s a small ad for the Queens (as well as the Austin and Olympia Theaters) from its XXX porn days:

Prisoners of Paradise

I assume the three theaters (all in various parts of Queens) fell under the same ownership during the time. The ad appeared in the 12/9/80 edition of the Daily News grouped in a lower corner of the page with an ad for a Kung Fu grind feature and some local “short stay” Motels.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 24, 2006 at 4:19 pm

I snapped the photo below in 1993 when the theater was vacant and about to be taken over by the church that presently occupies the building:

Coming Soon: New York Deliverance Gospel Tempel

I haven’t driven by the place in a while, but I do know that the word “Queens” has been removed from all sides of the current marquee.

gregwalsh
gregwalsh on March 26, 2006 at 9:52 am

KFP,

Frankly, I think we’re getting too far off the subject (the Queens Theatre) for this venue.

My e-mail address should be available for registered members.

Sorry,

KathieP
KathieP on March 26, 2006 at 6:00 am

Yes, I am sure of the #s,they still live there and the mail gets to them….Do you recall Hughes family, John Lydon,Armstrongs, Patty Kelly, Ann Sullivan,Dan Casey…all in the area…hard to remember names :)…You say you have siblings who went to St Greg’s..What are their names and when did they graduate?

gregwalsh
gregwalsh on March 22, 2006 at 4:15 pm

KFP,

I knew quite a few people on 250th Street; and the Magera name is vaguely familiar, but I can’t place the faces. There were a lot of cops living in Bellerose – on virtually every street! In those days you couldn’t work for the NYPD if you didn’t live within NYC limits.

At the age of 12 (1949), I delivered the Long Island Press to the entire area, from Commonwealth Blvd. to 250th Street (251st didn’t then exist south of the track), and Jamaica Avenue to 88th Road, inclusive.

Are you sure of that house number? I thought 250th Street was all in the 88-XX series, since 89th Avenue ends at 249th Street.

I lived there from May, 1944 until I got married in September, 1960. My mother was there until she died in November, 2002.

Re, “St. Greg’s,” if you mean the church, yes – and I was very active there. But the school was not yet built. See my post of 2/7/05 (above) for more details.

KathieP
KathieP on March 22, 2006 at 3:00 pm

Greg,I see you lived at 89-09 249th street….Did you know the Magera family @ 89-27 250th?Pat, Mickey…Dad was a cop but I don’t know where…house right next to Bellerose Bowl(now gone)..What years did you live there….did you go to St.Greg’s?

KenF
KenF on May 16, 2005 at 2:56 pm

The right photo shows one of the oddest features of the Queens — the fire-door-to-nowhere, which can be seen just under the water towers. I discovered this unnerving nook on a self-conducted off-duty tour of backstage. Pushing open a fire-door, I found myself eight stories up, on a tiny, distinctly rusty iron slat platform rather tentatively bolted to the wall and connected to nothing else. I discovered the true meaning of ‘acrophobia,’ and hightailed it back inside. I’m amazed it’s still there after 40 years.

zasu
zasu on April 17, 2005 at 2:09 pm

Hi Everyone,

I grew up on 249th Street and 81st Avenue in Bellerose. In the 50’s my mother, Sylvia Fein, worked in various Century Theatres as manager of the candy counter. Her longest tenure was at the Queens Theatre. I loved that place. Often, on Saturdays I would go with her, and spend the afternoon exploring the lodge and the balcony areas. I saw the first Cinemascope movie there over 20 times, The Robe!! To this day I cannot look at that film.

I had many other experiences at that theatre which I will reserve for another posting. :–)

Michael

Dorothy
Dorothy on February 10, 2005 at 3:24 am

Good Memory Annie.. better than mine! Thanks for posting it!

Ken F… I sent the photo to the email on this site and I realize the photo section is closed but I did it anyway. (hmmm.. it is possible too that it could be the candy stand of the Community as opposed to the Queens).. but had to be either of the two that’s for sure.

I attended P.S. 34.

gregwalsh
gregwalsh on February 8, 2005 at 12:14 pm

As I wrote my earlier response, I had a somewhat opposite thought:

I wondered if he got dour because I dumped his stepdaughter…

KenF
KenF on February 8, 2005 at 11:45 am

He probably got dour after I went to work there. I have that effect on employers.

gregwalsh
gregwalsh on February 8, 2005 at 9:25 am

Ken, most likely, the same guy! Tall and slim – yes! But dour-looking? He didn’t strike me as such.

Anyway, Bud was a very good, efficient, manager; and as Century’s HQ was in the Community building, I viewed his eventual promotion to a larger, high profile, theater – such as the Queens, the Meadows, or the Kingsway – as a given.

When I knew him (and later, his stepdaughter Linda), he was living in Brooklyn (Carroll Gardens) on Butler Street – directly across the street from St. Francis College (which I attended from ‘55 to '57, before transferring to Pace at night).

KenF
KenF on February 8, 2005 at 8:55 am

Greg, could that have been the same Mr. Hansen who managed the Queens (and hired me) in ‘63? Tall slim dour-looking fellow. Smiled when he was unhappy.

gregwalsh
gregwalsh on February 8, 2005 at 8:04 am

Annie,

By chance, do you remember the name of the Community’s manager when you were there?

About the time I left Century (Summer ‘57), I was also breaking up with the stepdaughter of Bud Hansen, the Community’s manager. I’ve often wondered whatever happened to him (and her).