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Growing up in North New Hyde Park in the fifties and sixties, I went to the Alan Theater many times. Generally we took our bikes to their Saturday matinees. Cowboy movies, comedies, science fiction. I definitely remember seeing “This Island Earth” there. Losing community theaters such as this one has made our society all the poorer for it.
The intersection of Lakeville Road and Hillside Avenue (the next major east-west route north of Jericho) was probably only a quarter mile west of the Nassau-Queens line. Down at Jericho, Lakeville was probably a little further from the city (the roads not running straight north-south), but I can’t remember for sure.
I grew up on Stewart Avenue (the one that began north of Hillside) in New Hyde Park in the fifties, and the back fence of our yard was the Nassau-Queens line. The kid who lived in that adjacent house went to Van Buren High School, while we were in the Great Neck school system.
I lived in SF in the eighties, and occasionally went to a theater on Haight Street that a bunch of old sofas instead of seats. I’d thought it was called the “Haight”, or maybe the “Haight Street Theater”, but I honestly can’t remember. It was a repetory theater, of course, and had the best concession stand around. You could buy homemade sandwiches, pastries, brownies, etc. All in all, a pretty cool place that could only exist where it did. Anybody remember this theater, and know it’s name?
I remember attending a silent comedy festival at the Surf, probably in 1980. It was about a week-long event, and my girlfriend and I went to at least two of the performances. I remember crying while watching Chaplin in City Lights, and laughing out loud, nearly continuously, during many Buster Keaton shorts.
Those old silent comedies are just not the same when viewed at home on DVD. In a theatre such as the Surf, once a handful of people start laughing, it’s catching, and soon the whole audience is part of the show.
I remember the Hillside (just north of Jamaica, actually on Supthin), and I’m pretty sure that we saw some films there. If my memory is correct (and I’m going to take a peek at the Hillside Theatre page), at one point it became sort of a burlesque house. Was this in the early sixties? Guess I’ll find out soon.
My grandfather just didn’t think the Alden was up to the standards of the Valencia, or that the films were as good. I’m sure that we did go there, but rarely.
I was born in Jamaica, N.Y. in 1947, and lived in my grandfather’s house on 139th Street north of Hillside Avenue until 1952. After moving away, I still often spent weekends with him (until he passed away in 1956), and we went to the Valencia quite alot.
We always walked along Supthin Boulevard down to Jamaica Avenue. At that point, I’d whine enough to get him to take me on the El. It couldn’t have been more than a station or two down to the Valencia, and he always tried to get me to walk instead, but I’d have none of it. I loved riding the subway, and the El was even better, as you could actually see where you were going. I always stood at the front window, playing engineer.
At the Valencia (never the Alden, he looked down on it), we’d sit in the balcony, where my grandfather would smoke two cigars, one for each feature.