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Yes, while it absolutely was an eyesore for the better of the last 20 years, I too am bittersweet about the whole thing.
I took a close up so you can see the bird sitting on the Plaza sign….the theater has been home to pigeons for at least 15 to 20 years now inside. When they were having the ceremony, one of the politicians said something to the effect of, “Well Ironically I am sure Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” may have played here…..
The original description for this theater is incorrect. The first line says “Located in the Forest Hills section of Queens. After decades as a single screen movie palace, the 1942 built; Midway Theatre (named for the famous Battle of Midway) was sold in June 1997 to the Heskel Group……The theater was closed two months later and completely renovated into a nine-screen multiplex.”
While that is true, it did NOT go from a single screen theater “after decades of being a single screen movie palace” to the 9 screens it has today. From the mid to late 80’s to 1997, it was cut up into a quad, with two movie auditoriums in the old balcony, and two movie auditoriums in the orchestra level. I saw many movies in that theater in the quad set up, particularly in the late 80’s and early 90’s.
The Plaza Theatre’s last morning.
I added the Demolition photos to the photo section of this theater.
Does anyone know how you add a demolition piece to the ‘Demolition" section of the site? I sent in a small write up to the site for the Demolition section of the site, but never heard back, although the listing was updated here to “demolished”. Does this theater not qualify for the “Demolition” section?
Notice the slope of the floor from rear of auditorium
I took some photos of the Plaza this morning, and it’s basically a steel skeleton now, with the exterior masonary brickwork stripped away, and the entire interior of the theater opened to the outside for all to see. I will post some photos of it in the photo section of this theater. One interesting observation I noticed when I was peering into the theater from the sidewalk is that there are two drop ceilings noticed from the right side of the building. I am assuming the higher ceiling was the original, when it was one large theater, and the second, lower drop ceiling was put in when they split the theater in half, and put the sheetrock wall down the middle, the ceiling became a little lower.
All the seating seems to have been stripped out before demolition began, as it’s all gone, and you can just see the floor sloping upwards towards the street. It was very interesting seeing the layout of the theater with the side wall removed. The lobby is right under the sloped floor.
Another observation is that while I have seen the complete shambles the theater was in, and you can see right from the street the thousands of small holes in the roof, the sheetrock wall down the middle, with it’s decorative wall covering stripped away, is really not all that water damaged at all! It was very interesting see the inside of the theater for the first time in 25 years….the last movie I had seen there was either Ghostbusters or Back to the Future, in the left hand theater if facing front.
Tinseltoes, I don’t see any of these green underlined words.
Ed Solero, you are right, that is an odd entrance. Someone else would have to say if that is the original one or not, but doesn’t the Fabian only now the upper balcony part of the theater with a fake ceiling put through the orchestra level? With the orchestra level converted to some other use? That could also mean that those “other use” entrances are from the original theater entrance and the “theater” using the balcony (at least when it was open yet) using a different entrance.
Here’s the photos of the interior of the Plaza from Long Island Oddities. These photos are about 10 years old, so as you can imagine, it only got worse in those 10 years:
Capt Ron, the Plaza Theatre was really almost “20 years too late” with restoring the interior. There were holes in the roof for who knows how many years, and water has flown though the building freely. Pigeons have also lived in the building for almost 20 years, and you can imagine how much droppings were all over the building. Unfortunately, it was an absentee landlord that owned the building, and just used it as a tax write off, and didn’t give a damn about the eyesore it had become, nor the blight it became.
Dalglish, I went to your screening at the Brickhouse Brewery over a year ago when you were plugging the idea for the Plaza Arts Center, and I think it’s a great idea. While the old building couldn’t be saved, I hope you do get to go through with your ideas for a new building on that site. It would be a great thing for the community.
The Demolition began on the right hand corner of the building, and the Plaza didn’t give much of a fight, the front facade began falling down with in seconds of hitting the front facade. The first letter casualty was the “E” in “Theatre”, as debris from the roof began falling down on it. The right third of the front facade of the building went first, followed by the Marquee and lobby, then they began the right side wall, which also didn’t put up much of a fight. I had to leave to get back to work, but that’s how the demolition began, I have photos and will post when I get a chance.
I have been trying to add an entry to the Demolition blog here on the site, but can’t seem to find a link to do that. I even sent an email to the site, but never heard back. In any event, here’s some photos from this morning, the Plaza’s Last morning, the bulldozer is ready for this afternoon’s demolition.
I wish they would save the letters, they held up better than the theater itself, and have become so iconic to East Main St…..
I am going to add the new photos to the photo link above
I have passed that theater for many years on the LIE, and am almost positive it always said Commack Cinemas instead of Multiplex Cinemas like the Brookhaven Multiplex Cinemas did in Medford.
Here’s a photo I took a year or two after the Brookhaven Multiplex closed:
I think it always said Commack Cinemas like it does there.
The Brookhaven Multiplex Cinemas in Medford used to say just “Multiplex Cinemas”, but it’s real name was the Brookhaven Multiplex Cinemas.
Demolition is to commence on Tuesday Sept 13, 2011 at 2:30PM on the Plaza Theatre.
Tonight is the Plaza’s last night….final curtain call.
The “Bushwick Twin” thing has been on the marquee for almost a year, don’t know what it means either….could just be someone who was fooling with the letters they found inside….
Howards moved there about 10-12 years ago when there used to be a Rockbottom Store next to Staples, and it expanded into the space where Howards used to be. Currently, it is a tanning salon, once Rockbottom went out of business. Similarly, about 10 years ago, when Waldbaums expanded, they took over the space where La Strada used to be, and they moved into the theater space next to Howards, and currently is a different Italian restaurant.
Before Howards or the Italian Restaurant occupied the theater site, all three stores combined (the liquor store, Italian Restaurant, and Howards) used to be a Carpet store.
With prices like that, the theater will probably go down with the rest of this mall. The place is like a ghost town.
That is great news. Every time I have walked by the place over the last few years, I felt more and more discouraged that anything would ever come of the place again.
That is great news!
Yes, I remember that too. It’s a good thing they changed it, as otherwise it sounds like a church theater conversion instead of a live theater.
A batting cage is where you can practice hitting a baseball. Balls are shot at you and you try to hit them.
Well, they tore off the whole right side of the theater, which is where the parking lot is now, that was the lobby area, etc, probably about ¼ or 1/3 the building. Also all the stores that were along Fresh Pond Rd are pulled off, which is where those bushes are in front. The auditorium is the only part that still remains and is the CVS. Inside, there’s nothing to remind you it was once a theater…if you didn’t know, you would never realize it was once a theater.
Joe, the Colonial Theater is right where it always was….. I even added a photo of it now!….
The street view needs to be reset to just around the corner, someone clicked “update” on the side instead of the front. The marquee and everything is still there.
It’s still hard to look at this theater after the current owners willfully destroyed so much of it, and so needlessly. It still disgusts me. It was a great place, I remember it was like walking into a timewarp. Ironically, the last movie I saw there was around 1995, and it was very ironically, “A Stranger Among Us”, a movie starring Melanie Griffith who was a cop going under cover in a Hasidic Brooklyn Neighborhood and the culture clash that ensued…. Ironic.