Queens Theatre

219-36 Jamaica Avenue,
Queens Village, NY 11428

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Showing 126 - 150 of 179 comments

zasu
zasu on September 27, 2006 at 3:01 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 2:38 pm

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.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 27, 2006 at 9:12 am

Further to my post of 2/3/04 above, here are two images copied from microfilm of the Long Island Press. The feature movie was, of course, silent, but was later re-made at least twice as a “talkie”:
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/queens01.jpg
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/queens02.jpg

gregwalsh
gregwalsh on September 5, 2006 at 8:41 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 8:14 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 12:04 pm

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 12:43 pm

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 7:19 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 12:52 pm

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 9:00 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 7:15 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 6:00 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 5:56 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.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 16, 2005 at 4:42 pm

Portions of the Queens Theatre’s exterior can be seen in the background of two color photos in the new article about Long Island Rail Road stations at www.forgotten-ny.com The two photos are in the section devoted to the LIRR’s Queens Village station.

zasu
zasu on April 17, 2005 at 5:09 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 6:24 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 3:14 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 2:45 pm

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

gregwalsh
gregwalsh on February 8, 2005 at 12:25 pm

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 11:55 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 11:04 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).

ahkashmir
ahkashmir on February 8, 2005 at 10:16 am

Hey, everyone! I’m Dorothy’s friend, Annie, from Queens Village, and I still live there! However, from 1971-73,I worked as a candy girl at the Community Theater on Jamaica and 215th. I now live on 215th Place, right down the block from the theater. We had an awful matron, Mrs. Bossert, at the Community. Poor thing was hard of hearing and I remember one patron complaining that when he asked her where the bathroom was, Mrs. B replied, “last nine rows!” Of course, that was the smoking section. We had a lot of laughs over that one. I still hear about some of the people who worked at the Community, like Judy Burns, whose husband Tom was assistant manager at the Queens. There’s also Larry O'Gara, a Nassau County cop, and Lindi (I can’t remember her last name). One of our other matrons was a nice lady named Mrs. Jorgenson, I think. And, of course, our favorite candy lady was my old next door neighbor, Eleanor Schwarz, who passed away several years ago. I do remember hanging out at the Queens Theater, after hours, with some of the gang. We had so much fun, and it was great getting the free movie passes, to any of the Century theaters! Now both the Queens and Community theaters are churches, which I pass almost everyday. QV isn’t what it used to be, but it’s certainly home for me.

gregwalsh
gregwalsh on February 8, 2005 at 8:07 am

Ken,

Wagnerian? Hammersteinian? More likely Frankensteinian!!

I didn’t remember her name, but you’ve accurately described her. Immortal? Naah! Formaldehyde ran in her veins, which accounts for the grey skin (think of the corpses at Stutzmann’s). She had been resuscitated by Dr. Josef Mengele.

You might possibly have known my brother George; although (I think) he graduated in ‘59. Steve and Tim followed a few years later.

My wife and I were married there September 3rd, 1960. I literally married “the girl next door (89-11)!”

KenF
KenF on February 8, 2005 at 12:31 am

Greg — your Wagnerian [or Hammersteinian] nightmare of a matron sounds just like barrel-shaped old Mrs. Frey with grey skin and a Bloody Mary bun atop her head, who was Commandant of Kiddies during my tenure. Perhaps she’s immortal. I hear her speaking (barking, really) with a German accent, though this may be an unreliable traumatized memory.

I graduated from St Greg’s in 1960. Might I have known any of your siblings? Check out queenspix.com for interesting shots of the old nabe, including PS 133 standing alone like a monolith amid many empty lots and unpaved streets.

gregwalsh
gregwalsh on February 7, 2005 at 11:35 pm

During matinees, the right third was the Children’s section; complete, of course, with the ugliest matrons in the world, with dispositions to match!! One was a spitting – excuse me, barfing – image of Bloody Mary in South Pacific.

If you qualified for a children’s ticket, and was unaccompanied by an adult, you had to sit in that section, and be out of the theater by 7:00 PM! Maybe the rules, or the age limit, changed when you were there.

If the cops later migrated to the balcony, perhaps it was to watch Dorothy “make out…”

Where on 249th? 89-09, second house behind the frozen custard stand on Jamaica Avenue. As my deceased mother’s executor, I sold the house just 18 months ago. It’s been completely rebuilt by the new owners.

I spent my first 3 ½ school years (K-3A) in PS 133. Living south of the Creedmoor track, we were then “zoned out” of 133, and had to travel to 33. By September, 1950, the east wing of PS 133 was open. With but one year to go (i.e., 8th grade), I was allowed to choose between 33 and 133. I chose to stay at 33. Two of my brothers were forced to return to 133. My youngest siblings all went to St. Greg’s.

My wife still has a cousin living around the corner from where you had lived: 85-40 247th!