Loew's Willard Theatre

96-01 Jamaica Avenue,
Woodhaven, NY 11421

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Showing 101 - 113 of 113 comments

PKoch on June 13, 2006 at 4:44 am

Thanks, Warren and klass, for your input. Yes, klass, those numbered streets used to be all named streets : 104th St. : Oxford Avenue, 111th Street : Greenwood Avenue, names preserved for awhile in the names of the Liberty Avenue (Lefferts A train) el stations.

KathyLass on June 11, 2006 at 2:06 pm

The Loew’s Willard Theatre, on Jamaica Avenue and 96th Street (formerly Willard Street) opened on November 24, 1924 as a vaudeville and motion picture house with a capacity of 2500. I got this info from a book called “The Story of Woodhaven and Ozone Park”.

fmgrana on June 25, 2005 at 11:28 am

The Queens Chronicle dated June 23, 2005 has an article and picture of the Garden Theater in Richmond Hill taken in 1937. They mention the Willard Theater in the article.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 28, 2004 at 3:41 pm

The Willard was the very first theatre that Loew’s built in Queens, so it was considered quite luxurious for the time. People flocked there from all over Queens to see the first-run movies and accompanying vaudeville. Along with Loew’s Astoria, which the circuit acquired after it had been running for two years, the Willard was one of the top theatres in Queens until Loew’s opened others in Queens, starting with the Hillside and Woodside in 1926. Eventually, the Willard and all other Loew’s theatres in Queens were reduced to playing sub-run to the Valencia, which opened in January, 1929 and became an exclusive first-run for the borough. But Loew’s always did a good job of maintenance on the Willard and it remained the pride of the Woodhaven-Richmond Hill area, rivaled only by the RKO Keith’s Richmond Hill, which was built two years later. Loew’s finally disposed of the Willard to comply with the federal anti-trust decree against the company. The theatre became an “indie” for a time before being converted to a catering hall.

RobertR on September 28, 2004 at 1:51 pm

How nice was this theatre? Did anyone ever see movies here? I remember someone telling me once they went 4 days in a row to the Willard to see “Seven Brides For Seven Brothers”. A few months later she did the same when the Haven got it. The name is pretty rotten though.

PeterKoch on April 23, 2004 at 2:36 pm

There are nine images of the Woodhaven Blvd. station of the BMT Jamaica line at : www.nycsubway.org All but the most recent of them, dated January 30, 1983, face east, show the tracks curving to the right, and show the Cordon Bleu, ex-Willard near the vanishing point. It appears as a pink brick building with dark grey sloped roof.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 23, 2004 at 1:46 pm

Yes, Cordon Bleu is the ex-Willard. I took some digital photographs of the exterior last year, and will post them if that ever becomes possible. I wanted to go inside, but the manager wouldn’t permit me. He did say, however, that the interior was totally gutted and that nothing remains from the Willard days. From what I could see, he was probably correct. The decor reminds of a 1960s motel. The Jamaica Avenue facade has been covered over with false windows and imitation tiles.

PeterKoch on April 23, 2004 at 1:20 pm

I think the Willard Theater is now the Cordon Bleu Catering Hall in Woodhaven, Queens. If you go to www.nycsubway.org, BMT Lines, BMT Jamaica Line, Woodhaven Blvd. station images, you can catch a glimpse of the once Willard, now Cordon Bleu, in the images that face east, with the power towers of the abandoned LIRR Rockaway Line in the distance, just beyond the Willard.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 15, 2004 at 6:31 am

The address for this theatre is incorrect, making the map also incorrect. The Willard (now a catering hall) is located at 96-01 Jamaica Avenue, Woodhaven, NY 11421. Woodhaven borders on Richmond Hill, but is a separate community. Both are in the borough of Queens, which is part of New York City.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 18, 2004 at 11:56 am

The Willard Theatre first opened on November 26, 1924, and was the first theatre that the Loew’s circuit actually built in Queens. Its only other theatre in Queens at that time was the Astoria, which Loew’s purchased from its original owners, Ward & Glynne, in 1923. The Astoria first opened in 1920…The shell of the Willard still stands, but the interior was completely gutted in the 1950s for a catering hall that remains in business to this day.

William on November 15, 2003 at 10:34 am

The Loew’s Willard Theatre was located at 9601 Jamaica Ave in Richmond Hill area.