Loew's Valencia Theatre

165-11 Jamaica Avenue,
Jamaica, NY 11432

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PKoch on September 20, 2007 at 2:16 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 2:15 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 2:06 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 11:49 am

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 10:53 am

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 9:31 am

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

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 20, 2007 at 9:28 am

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 6:43 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.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on September 19, 2007 at 9:03 am

I notice in the ad that it’s the last day at the Valencia for “Beau James” and “Rumble on the Docks” and that they both would be playing the next day at the Loew’s Triboro in Astoria. So I guess the Triboro was a send-run move-over house, even though it was a pretty opulent place itself. /theaters/1542/

PKoch on September 19, 2007 at 8:35 am

Good idea, Lost Memory ! Now it’s a power supply issue !

Ten billion gigawatts into the flux capacitor! Right from the third rail of the Jamaica el ! And right down that center track !

Lost Memory, that’s good to know about what Google will find for you.

PKoch on September 19, 2007 at 8:26 am

Thanks, saps.

Their good points ? Yes, two each, I would say.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on September 19, 2007 at 8:14 am

>>saps, whose chest do you prefer, King Kong’s or Jayne Mansfield’s ? How about Fay Wray ?

They all have their good points.

PKoch on September 19, 2007 at 8:13 am

“Rodan” was released in the USA in 1957 :


saps, whose chest do you prefer, King Kong’s or Jayne Mansfield’s ? How about Fay Wray ?

Yes, Lost Memory, you may attend a service at the Tabernacle Of Prayer. Now, how do we get you back in time 30 or more years ?

Some creature running amok, Jayne Mansfield ? How about “Attack Of The Fifty Foot Woman” ? She went looking for Harry inside the Valencia, and damaged the El in so doing !

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on September 19, 2007 at 8:13 am

Admission is free, but donation gladly accepted.
How did you cheat? Did you look it up somewhere?

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on September 19, 2007 at 7:54 am

The answer, for when Warren’s link is taken down, is “20 Million Miles to Earth” and “The 27th Day.”

and I was almost right — there WAS a Jayne Mansfield picture playing in Jamaica that date, but not with the ad line “Not Since ‘King Kong’ Has The Screen Seen Anything Like It!” although both pictures had stars with prominent chests.

PKoch on September 19, 2007 at 7:53 am

Interesting, Warren, that it would have been fight FILMS, then, rather than closed-circuit TV coverage of the fight.

PKoch on September 19, 2007 at 7:50 am

Excuse me, “Quatermass And The Pit” was the British title of the 1967 film released as “Five Million Years To Earth” in the USA. The second, 1957 Quatermass film, again with Brian Donlevy in the title role, was titled simply “Quatermass 2”.

There was also a TV series titled “Quatermass And The Pit”.

PKoch on September 19, 2007 at 7:42 am

Thanks, Warren.

Which two films were Columbia releases ?

PKoch on September 19, 2007 at 7:31 am

You’re welcome, Ed. It’s million of years, instead of millions of miles. I saw all three Quatermass films at Film Forum in lower Manhattan in August 1987, my first time to one of their summer sci fi film festivals. The line I remember from “Quatermass And The Pit” was Quatermass saying, “Those pipes are full of human pulp !” and seeing some monstrous bell-shaped thing, like The Addams' Family’s Cousin Itt, sloshing around in dark liquid goo inside of some huge septic tank.

PKoch on September 19, 2007 at 7:26 am

Rodan was released in 1956, “Vertigo” in 1958.

“Vertigo” would have been awesome at the Valencia !

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 18, 2007 at 3:26 pm

Yup. Thanks Pete! I now recall each of those films – just a difference of 15 million years! I never saw “Quatermass and the Pit,” though I am aware of its existence.

PKoch on September 18, 2007 at 3:22 pm

No, Ed, I think you’re confusing it with “Five Million Years To Earth”, about the Martian spaceship found in the Hobbs End subway station in London, the third Quatermass film, the first two being “The Quatermass Experiment”, with Brian Donlevy in the title role and Richard Wordsworth as the hollow-eyed astronaut Victor Carune, who slowly and painfully degenerates into a blob of tentacle-waving goo that must be electrocuted near Westminster Abbey before it reproduces itself and consumes all life on Earth. The American release was titled “The Creeping Unknown”. The rarely seen second film was “Quatermass And The Pit”.

“20 Million Miles To Earth” was the Harryhausen-Charles H. Schneer film about the giant T-Rex-like Ymir from Venus. The Kraken from the 1981 Harryhausen-Charles H. Schneer film “Clash Of The Titans” was very similar to it.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 18, 2007 at 3:14 pm

Never heard of that one either. So what is the first film… “20 Million Miles to Earth?” That’s one of the Quartermass films from Britain, isn’t it?

PKoch on September 18, 2007 at 3:10 pm

Thanks, Lost Memory. I don’t think I’d ever heard or read about this film !