Loew's Valencia Theatre

165-11 Jamaica Avenue,
Jamaica, NY 11432

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kong1911
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!

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 20, 2007 at 1:43 pm

The Gertz department store is still there, but sub-divided into a “shopping mall.” I would not describe Gertz as a second-rate Macy’s, except that Gertz’s premises dated back to the 1920s and Macy’s occupied a modern store built in the 1950s. The Macy’s store suffered the same fate as Gertz and is now also sub-divided into a “mall.” I would’t call them that, since they’re more like arcades, with merchants selling from stalls and counters instead of actual stores like you would find in a mall.

PKoch
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
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
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.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 20, 2007 at 6:59 am

I don’t recall a Gimbel’s in Jamaica, but there was a Macy’s on 165th Street opposite the bus terminal. I think that the Gertz department store was always known as Gertz. It certainly was when it closed in 1980, at which time Gertz stores in other areas (including Flushing and Douglaston) switched to the Stern’s banner. Gertz had been a division of Allied Stores, which also owned Stern’s.

twhiteside
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.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 19, 2007 at 9:30 am

Loew’s Triboro was first-run for Astoria, but second-run for Queens overall, until the introduction of saturation bookings in the 1960s. In the days when the Triboro followed the Valencia by a week, the Triboro’s programs were exclusive for that week and not shown elsewhere in Queens. After a week at the Triboro, the programs moved on simultaneously to the remaining Loew’s theatres in Queens— the Woodside, Plaza, Prospect, Hillside, and Willard. After they had finished their Loew’s runs, the movies would start turning up at other Queens theatres.

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/

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 19, 2007 at 8:43 am

This pre-opening ad gives more details about the two Columbia releases. It’s possible that the Patterson-Rademacher fight was shown on closed-circuit TV in theatres on the night that it took place, but you’d need to check the newspapers of the time to find out; www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/val957a.jpg

PKoch
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
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
PKoch on September 19, 2007 at 8:13 am

“Rodan” was released in the USA in 1957 :

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0049782/

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
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.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 19, 2007 at 7:51 am

P.S. Though it’s not mentioned in the ad, Loew’s Valencia was also showing “blow-by-blow” film coverage of the recent Patterson-Rademacher heavyweight match. On 9/14/57, which happened to be a Saturday, the last complete program started at 10:23 PM with the fight films, followed by the second feature at 10:44 and the main at 12:03 AM. Exit time would have been in the vicinity of 1:30 AM.

PKoch
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
PKoch on September 19, 2007 at 7:42 am

Thanks, Warren.

Which two films were Columbia releases ?

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 19, 2007 at 7:37 am

Both were Columbia releases. Also showing in Jamaica on 9/14/57 were revivals of “The Thing” & “Mighty Joe Young” at the RKO Alden; “Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?” & “The Third Key” at the Skouras Merrick; “Sweet Smell of Success” & “The Ride Back” at the Hillside (no longer Loew’s); and a triple bill of “Escape to Burma” & “The Americano” & “Creature With the Atom Brain” at the Savoy: www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/val957.jpg

PKoch
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.