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Here is a street view of the Triboro. (From the Greater Astoria Historical Society – great website) Judging from the traffic light and the no parking sign, I would guess It was taken later on in the theatre’s life. View link
The opening date for that section of the IRT Flushing line was April 21, 1917. So, it was there before the theatre. I guess the marquee was wrapped around the support of the el as a necessity.
Lost memory, thank you very much for those photos. they brought me back in time for a moment.
I had thought the thread for this theatre was not active, but I see it is. Growing up in Astoria, I always knew this was a “movie house” (as my parents / grand parents described it.) But for me it was “Learners” , a woman’s / little kid’s store (they had a kid’s department as well).. I know I spent alot of time here when I was little! It was a big store inside, without a hint it was a theatre, I guess thanks to plaster board and dropped ceilings. Talking about the white marble facade.. that was not original to the Steinway theatre. I believe that was part of the late fifties change to “Learners”. Up untill Learners closed, the front of the building was very 50’s looking with a smooth white front with a HUGE LEARNERS neon sign on a 45 degree angle running up the front of the building (lit up in pink neon)I am sure, from viewing photos of the Steinway that the front was destroyed in the original make over to retail. (about the interior, I would not know. In my time (70’s) it was all dropped ceiling.) When they re-opened as DR.Jays, It was all open structure inside. IE exposed brick and I beams. but if you were to walk to the back of the store and go up stairs to the second level, you were walking up through the “ Fly space.” You could /can see a ladder bolted to the wall going up to the roof, you could see, in your minds eye (with help from some bricks and beams, where the auditorium ended and the back stage began.
I do not believe that this building (32-62) was ever anything else but retail. It was a toy store named Valco’s from (at least) the 60’s/ early 70’s to 1991 when it closed. I used to work here as a teenager and the first and second floors (second used as storage) appeared original, with old wood plank floors and pressed tin ceilings. Also there were no rear or side fire exits.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iScIfqfCGk This theatre it seems is pretty much intact. This video on youtube.com titled “carbon arc projectors” shows a brief view of the auditorium and then of the old projectors being run.
Peter K. The Astoria’s Marquee did not fall in that snow storm in the 60’s. (I wasnt born yet in the 60’s and I remember it!! lol)To the best of my memory; the marquee fell between – 1982-1984. I remember my mom talking about it after I came home from school and my friend from next doors' mom talking about it (apparently- she was shopping on Steinway at the time. My mom told me (i guess through the extensive network of mom / busy bodies) that she “heard” that there were workers doing some type of work / repairs obove the Marquee at the time of the collape and they probably did something to undermine the supports. Ihave tried online to locate the story using the web pages of the “tribune” and “gazette” but as of yet have had no luck. On another note.. I had always thought I was the only “nerd” (nothing against the worldwide group of this page) that like old movie houses. I used that term because that was what my ex called me and friends as well in the 80’s and 90’s (before the internet became a popular thing) I always thought i was alone in my “hobby”! Iam very glad I had stumbled across this site soon after i purchased my first home computer! lol IF anyone cares go to the Loews Oriental page and you will hear about a young 20 somthing nerd going to the movies with a camera in hand!! lol
Peter. K.– No apologies needed (but thanks) When I made my statement “5 million people remember..” I was not directing my (little bit ) of sarcasm to any body who grew up in Ridgewood ..just on the lack of attention of what I thought was a once great place.
But.. I think I was right in my thoughts that nobody here remembers this movie house. I mentioned that the Marquee fell to steinway street and got no responce. not bad or good but I guess Iam the only guy here who was born/grew up in astoria, and remembers that. It made the local papers (queens gazette / tribune) with photos.!! But myself like a dumb ass threw away a lot I had saved as a child. If I still had those headlines i would show them here (of course!)
Hey Peter K I have been a member here since 2003 and have contributed to this site ..colony, astoria grand, ditmars and the cameo/olimpia.But have been silent… but recently wanted to speak up about MY childhood love the ASTORIA>.. Dont like your sarcasm..
“SOMEONE BESIDES YOURSELF AND WARREN MUST REMEMBER THE ASTORIA” nope dont like your sarcasm one bit. I dont know “Warren” same as I dont know you. I just grew up in astoria and loved the Astoria Theatre. thats it. Do not group me with ANY individual. If you do not like him.. Like I said I dont care. but I can say for certain.. I have been to the astoria one thousand times and there were OTHER people there as well … If “Warren” was one of them I would not know.If YOU never went there that is your loss.
The ONLY REASON Astoria closed was that Regal; which opened a multiplex on 38st and 35aves.(AFEW YEARS BEFORE.) folded- and then UA bought it. Before this the old girl was fighting the competion quite well. Just because UA now owned a multiplex and an old theatre, they gave Astoria the boot. I live in Astoria, couple of blocks away from the movie house.. I can say up till the last it drew crouds / made money. It was just (another) example of corporates making a decision.
5 million people grew up in ridgewood to talk about the ridgewood and madision.. but no one remembers the Astoria?
Oh One more thing I forgot to add… the marquee you see today is NOT the original. the original came crashing to the ground in the early 80’s If you look in the photo posted above you will see a typical sqaure marquee.. this fell and was replaced with the triangular one that exists to today. One more thing the Astoria had a SECOND marquee on 30 ave. (flat like paradise in the bronx) THis was not original but was added sometime in my life time. (70’s/80’s)R.I.P astoria – 1920 – 2001
This was my local childhood theatre that after a while got me interested in the arcitecture and the whole “mystic” of movie houses.I remember the Triboro a block over but more so this theatre. The Triboro was atmospheric.. while the Astoria was a coat of flat black paint!..but it was huge inside and always packed (in the 70’s) I remember going to a show as a kid and having to line up around the block(30th ave) sometimes on 38st.(behind the theatre.) while I remember this theatre as a single screen.. my memory is clearer as a “quad.” If you were viewing a film downstairs (theatres 1 +2) you would look up and see plaster details (you were below the former balcony) that would end-a change in the ceiling kinda close to the screen. (where the original balcony ended) If you were seeing a film in # 3 or 4 you were in the balcony. More plaster details to be seen in the ceiling (but hard- like I said everything flat black) I remember when they made this into a “sixplex” what they did was use the stage/back stage areas. (would love to have gone back tehre before this!!)This is what they did.. made a new hallway (wall off the right side aisle if you are looking toward the screen. (making downstairs theatre 2 a little smaller.) You would be in the lobby and go to your right and walk down a very long hallway painted mauve? (spelled correctly? ugly 80’s color) till you were in back of the building. now you had 3 choices. continue sraight which would be the original fire door to 38 st. or go left into theatre “5” or go up a flight of stairs to theatre “6”. This whole area of course was the original “backstage” area of the building. It waspretty interesting the way they did the conversion. when you entered you entered close to the screen and had to walk back to your seat. (this would be sideways..screen was facing north. The original theatre the screeen was west projection booth east(steinway street side.)What is very interesting is.. one time I was seeing a movie at the end of the night and the ushers opened the back “emergency"exits of these theatres.. (which faced SOUTH 30th ave) When I went out the door of this modern screening room i was faced with a very old green painted halllway with cast iron stairs that brought you to the 30 ave outdoor fire escapes. Apparently when they gutted the back stage dressing rooms they left the old back stage hallways intact to use again. Does anyone out there have any interior photos of the once "grand” Astoria? I think I would die happy if I could see those!(just kidding)
Would like to share my one and only experience with this fine theatre. Back in the yearly/ mid 90’s I convinced my girlfriend at the time to take a ride with me down to Brooklyn to see a film here. I was never there before, but had passed it on the street and knew right away it was something special. So, armed with my trusty pocket 35mm and girl (who had no interest in theaters, but was cooperative) went to see a movie. When i entered i was instantly reminded of the RKO keiths. Even though it looked different inside you knew it was of the same era of opulance. (I remember being a “little” disapointed at the time because i was hoping this was an atmospheric theatre, like the Triboro or keiths.) Never the less I clicked away the whole 36 exposure roll of the auditorium, upstairs hallway and lobby. Very happy, I went home wanting to develope the film the next day, to show to my older brother who also loves old movie houses. Now, Iam sorry to say fans i will not be posting these pictures here because i never had them! The next day,(and you have to remember this was the early 90’s when coke/crack heads were still running around in my area-Astoria. The next day i go out to my car and the door is wide open, my radio is gone and so is the camera. No big loss-fairly cheap camera, cheap radio but the film inside!! I closed my door and looked down the side walk and there in the bright daylight was my fully exposed roll of film!! I told myself i would go back again but procrastinated and soon after learned the theatre closed.
The listed address of this theatre is incorrect. It should be 25-15 Steinway St.(with a zip code of 11103)– 22-15 Steinway is north of Astoria Blvd. This theatre is south of Astoria Blvd. It is located between 25th Ave and 28th Ave on the east side of Steinway St. It was gutted around the late 80’s / early 90’s (don’t remember exactly when) and became an electronics importer / exporter store. I remember being inside and one could not tell it used to be a theatre – When this store closed down it sad empty for a long time, then appeared to totaly rebuilt again to its current configuration as a medical center on the first floor and I believe more offices above.
It stood on the East side of 82nd St. between Roosevelt Ave and 37th Ave. It was built at same time as the other buildings on this commercial street ( all in English Tudor style) to cater to the occupants of the garden apartments that were build in this area in the late 1920s. It closed in the early 1990s and is now a retail clothing store.