Polk Theater

93-09 37th Avenue,
Jackson Heights, NY 11372

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Showing 151 - 169 of 169 comments

BoxOfficeBill
BoxOfficeBill on September 7, 2005 at 9:01 am

I wonder when the “Polk Ave.” lost that wonderful marquee and became the “Polk”? “Little Miss Roughneck” opened in ‘38, so we know it happened after that. In my neck of the island in B'klyn, several theaters underwent facelifts in the pre-Scope post-war years ca.'48-'52. McCourt’s “Queer Street” captures the Polk of that era (the paragraphs on “Don’t Bother to Knock” are exemplary) without calling the theater “Polk Ave.” or mentioning its elegant marquee. That book goes into some detail about the custodian’s hilarious hanky-panky at the time.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 7, 2005 at 6:09 am

Here are two exterior views that I snapped last weekend. Please compare the current marquee to the original shown in my previous post of July 15, 2005…The blonde in red tanktop and bluejeans standing next to the boxoffice reminded me of a hooker, but turned out to be the cashier (which doesn’t necessarily preclude the other!):
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/137-3791_IMG.jpg
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/137-3793_IMG.jpg

NyTrip
NyTrip on August 24, 2005 at 5:01 am

Hi

We are an English couple visiting New York in October and are looking to find an adult cinema where we can “play” and be watched. Would this be possible in this movie theater and is it clean and safe?

Can anyone recommend any adult movie theaters in Manhattan?

Our email is

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on August 7, 2005 at 10:04 pm

The Brandts' must have had money in that picture – with a few exceptions all the theatres playing it are Brandt!

RobertR
RobertR on August 7, 2005 at 6:00 pm

In 1968 the Polk was part of this adults only showcase
View link

Scholes188
Scholes188 on July 31, 2005 at 2:54 pm

I must have been buzzed if/when I wrote that the Polk was in good condition. The place is okay but it isn’t as well maintained as the Fair Theater on Astoria Blvd. I was able to see the old projectors and the owner offered to sell them to me. But I don’t have the money for that.

Scholes188
Scholes188 on July 31, 2005 at 2:54 pm

I must have been buzzed if/when I wrote that the Polk was in good condition. The place is okay but it isn’t as well maintained as the Fair Theater on Astoria Blvd. I was able to see the old projectors and the owner offered to sell them to me. But I don’t have the money for that.

br91975
br91975 on July 14, 2005 at 5:13 am

The Polk Theater received a mention in this week’s (July 18th) issue of New York magazine, as the second of 50 unique-to-Queens sites to consider checking out before the borough (inevitably) becomes gentrified.

EMarkisch
EMarkisch on November 19, 2004 at 12:53 pm

Cypress….I’m confused. In your 3:42 entry yesterday, you said that the Polk did not have a balcony and that the theater needs a good cleaning. Yet at 5:42 you claim that there is a balcony, which is closed off and that the theater is well maintained. It almost seems that you are talking about two different theaters. Please clarify.

BoxOfficeBill
BoxOfficeBill on November 19, 2004 at 11:54 am

There are some wicked descriptions of teen-age, um, activities at the Polk Theater in the widely praised memoir about pre-Stonewall gay life, James McCourt’s “Queer Street” (Norton, 2003). The author grew up on 94 Street in the 40s-50s.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 19, 2004 at 9:05 am

This never had a real stage. The screen was flat against the back wall of the auditorium…Is this now sub-divided, or is the second “screen” just occupying what used to be lobby space?

Scholes188
Scholes188 on November 18, 2004 at 4:24 pm

Hi Warren. In the main auditorium they show ‘legit’ movies. This Monday they were playing THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW with Dennis Quaid. In the back of the theater is where they show the gay and straight porn. They also have small booths where you can, well you get the picture. I think they change the program every Sunday and Wednesday. But that might be for the porn movies. In the main room they show a lot of old movies. The theater is well maintained and it is a relaxed atmosphere. They have the balcony but that is closed off. I would love to see the projection room. I bet the old projectors are still intact. Do you know if there was a stage?

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 18, 2004 at 4:18 pm

Cypress, you left out some vital information. What’s the policy here? What kind of movies are being shown, and how frequent are the program changes?

Scholes188
Scholes188 on November 18, 2004 at 2:42 pm

I stopped by to see if this theater was still running. It is still open. I went there on 11/15/04. There was this old woman selling ‘tickets’ in the box office. The tickets are threaded through the old ticket machine, but unlike the old days, she doesn’t push a button to dispense them. The place has a musty smell. The small lobby is still intact. It is smaller than most theaters. Once inside I gave the ticket to an ‘usher’. Next to the door on the left is the old ticket collection box. I don’t know what it is actually called. There are still the old concession stand display cases. There are stairs that lead to the restrooms. There is no balcony. There is old paneling on the walls that no doubt hide the original walls. It would be interesting to peel them off. Upstairs is an old phone booth minus the pay phone. The bathrooms are okay. There are also to old scales that don’t work but are probably worth something. The theater looks as if suspended in time. It needs a good cleaning. I once had the opportunity to see the projection room. The projectors are still in place and probably work.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 24, 2004 at 9:41 am

The address is 93-09 37th Avenue. Nearly all Queens addresses are hyphenated. 37th Avenue was known as Polk Avenue at the time this theatre was built.

RobertR
RobertR on February 18, 2004 at 10:17 am

I know the owner of this theatre who has had it since the early 60’s. Except from years of being run down as a porno house, all of its art deco elements are still there. I saw the theatre with the porters cleaning lights on, and if it was painted and had new seats, screen and carpet wold be a mini gem almost as nice as the Loews Trylon. The marquee is so 1940’s it should have landmark status.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 18, 2004 at 10:05 am

The 599-seat theatre was christened as the Polk Avenue (original name of 37th Avenue) and first opened in 1938. Charles Sandblom was the architect, with Jupo Amusement Corp. the owner. The construction cost, including all the equipment but not the underlying land, was $85,000. The auditorium was semi-modern, with draped panels on the side walls, which sort of curved into the proscenium. The screen, covered by curtains that could be controlled from the projection booth, was flat against the back wall, with no room for a stage. The stepped ceiling had a central trough with cove lighting and ducts for the air-conditioning system. The theatre’s most unusual feature was the neon-bordered marquee, which carried only the name “POLK AVE,” also in neon, on all three sides. Mounted under the marquee but halfway back was a triangular attraction board, two sides of which had three rows for changeable letters (black against white glass)…The Polk Avenue was the last theatre built in the vicinity of Corona’s Junction Boulevard shopping precinct and showed late-run mainstream movies for most of its life. Its nearest competition was the Granada Theatre, further east on Polk Avenue, and the Corona Theatre on Junction Boulevard.

RobertR
RobertR on January 9, 2004 at 1:38 pm

The owner of this theatre has had it since the early 60’s. It used to play second run double bills. In the late eightys he attempted to play porno by day and second run at night but never cleaned up the place or gave it a chance.