Jackson Heights Airdrome

82nd Street and Roosevelt Avenue,
Jackson Heights, NY 11372

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CSWalczak on September 10, 2012 at 2:39 pm

I guess I am still missing the point. Whether spelled ‘airdomes’ or ‘airdromes’, these theaters existed in significant numbers, particularly in the silent era, before the advent of air-conditioning and were often seasonal or short-lived operations. One list I came across lists over twenty in NYC alone, c. 1913). There is some history of airdomes/airdromes here.

Regardless of whether they were temporary or lacked plush or fixed seating, why should they not be listed? They are an important part of film exhibition history (especially in a number of American cities), which is all the more important because they were so ephemeral.

Here on CT there are listed a temporary ‘boat-in’ theater as well as a temporary outdoor theater in Hong Kong with beanbags for seating. The definition of what constitutes a ‘theater’ here on CT appears to be very (and, in my view, justifiably) broad.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 10, 2012 at 5:09 am

CSWalcsak, I agree with you completely on the value of the “nearby theaters” list. It does seem to me, however, that the way the individual theaters are organized in the database is in need of an overhaul. But, this is a free site, and I’m sure coming up with a viable solution is something that requires more than a little bit of money to solve. It would be interesting to hear an update from site administration as to any scheduled or “wish list” enhancements and modifications to the web site. That sort of communication seemed to die down in the months following the major overhaul of the site a couple of years back.

CSWalczak on September 8, 2012 at 1:46 pm

I do not see why it should matter at all that the theaters listed under nearby theaters existed at different times. It seems to me comparable to a person’s writing, say, in a particular theater’s introductory headnote something like this: “The X Theater opened in 1915. It was torn down in 1932 and the Y theater was built on part of the site, and its sister theater, the Z was built two blocks away in 1940.”

The point of the list to help readers to develop an image of an area where multiple theaters existed which I think is highly valuable. I would agree that theaters that were not in near proximity should not appear in the list, but this is a matter, which like any other inaccurate detail, can be corrected. I think the feature is quite valuable and I am sure that, over time, each listing will become more accurate as the method and algorithm of establishing these lists becomes more sophisticated.

MarkieS on July 4, 2010 at 8:20 am

Same problem with The Fair theatre at Astoria Blvd. and 90th St. The theatre itself claims it’s in Jackson Heights, but it’s actually East Elmhurst. And so it goes.

mikemorano on June 26, 2006 at 6:22 am

During the time period these theatres were built airdrome was the correct word to describe them. Airdrome is the european version of airdome. Similar to airplane versus aeroplane. Another example would be theater versus theatre. Since these early theatres were for the most part designed and constructed by european immigrants the term airdrome is correct.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on June 20, 2006 at 10:36 am

I definitely think that commercial interests along the 82nd Street corridor (whether north or sout of Roosevelt) will always refer to themselves as being in Jackson Heights. Everything along that little wedge of blocks between Broadway and Baxter down to 41st Ave is probably fair game for that affiliation (whether technically correct or not). I don’t think I’d go all the way down to the Port Washington LIRR line as Warren suggests (which runs through Elmhurst and Corona below 43rd Ave), but I think the area where the Jackson Theater sits is fair game.

Alto on June 20, 2006 at 8:59 am

I love the comment by “Bway”. This is just getting TOO funny!

If I may DARE to add my two cents regarding the previous “Jackson Heights vs. Elmhurst” debate…

I was born and lived in Elmhurst until I was six years old.
I continue to visit Jackson Heights frequently as an adult (as I have for the last 13 years).

I know of a bar (“Music Box”) located just off the SOUTHwest corner of Roosevelt Ave. and Broadway. It uses Jackson Heights as its location in all of its advertising. If you “search engine” it online, you will find websites listing it in both locations. If you search official NYS corporation records under its former name (“Montana Saloon”), it will be listed as Elmhurst. To save time: here is the link to that entry:
View link

Unless the official boundaries have changed, it could perhaps be argued that Broadway is the dividing line.

However, located just three blocks away (south-east direction) on the NORTH side of Broadway is Elmhurst General Hospital.

Also, a now-defunct nightclub that used to be located a few steps SOUTH of Roosevelt Ave. and four blocks NORTH of Broadway at 82-20 Baxter Ave. (“Llamarada” – now a laundromat) can be found by Internet search engine listed as either a Jackson Heights or Elmhurst location (incidentally, this address is located immediately east of 82nd St.).

Bottom line: many businesses south of Roosevelt Ave. (along or adjacent to) collectively use Jackson Heights because it is a popular, well-known shopping & business district. This is especially true of the bars, nightclubs and restaurants, which comprise the majority of businesses there. For many customers, Jackson Heights is considered a “destination” – Elmhurst is not.

The debate continues…

Bway on June 20, 2006 at 4:40 am

Haha, this Jackson Heights Theater is a hostile theater!
Speaking of airplanes…..how about THESE theaters!!


dave-bronx™ on June 19, 2006 at 9:30 am

Bway, Queens was the last of the 4 boros to develop (Staten Island was always considered “over there” by some, even today, and not part of NYC). Prior to the consolidation of 1898 New York City was only Manhattan and part of The Bronx. Brooklyn was a city unto itself, and Queens was considered Long Island and had its own little towns and villages, i.e. Long Island City, Newtown, Flushing, Jamaica. After the consolidation and despite the best efforts of the City of New York and the U.S.Postal Service everyone sticks to the old time names. When I lived in Jackson Heights around 1997 everyone in my neighborhood received a notice from the Post Office declaring that everyone with a 113XX zip code were to use Flushing NY as their address and no more Jackson Hts, Elmhurst, Rego Park, Forest Hills or whatever. Predictably, everyone threw those notices in the wastebasket and ignored them. Old habits die hard.

Here in the Beautiful Bronx is a similar situation, people who live near the Hudson River use Riverdale NY and not Bronx NY as their address.

Bway on June 19, 2006 at 8:28 am

I used to live in Ridgewood, and my mail often came addressed to “Flushing, NY 11385”. I hated that, but it was all the time. Of course, it also came to “Ridgewood, NY 11385” too, but it definitely wasn’t rare for “Flushing, NY”. That was especially true for junk mail.
Even the city’s public records are sometimes searched by “Town=Flushing, Section=Ridgewood” for Ridgewood addresses. That could be because all the mail is sorted through the Flushing post office (and as mentioned Jamaica, etc).

This brings up another strange anormalty that QUeens has. Unlike all the other boroughs, like Brooklyn, etc, in QUeens, you usually still do address by “Section” name as opposed to the county or boroguh name. I don’t know why this is.

For example, for Queens, you would do:
John Smith
123 Any Street
Ridgewood, NY 11385 (or Flushing, NY 11385)

instead of
John Smith
123 Any Street
Queens, NY 11385

However, you would never see:
John Smith
123 Any Street
Park Slope, NY 112XX

as opposed to:
John Smith
123 Any Street
Brooklyn, NY 112XX which is the customary way to do it

or you would never see:
John Smith
123 Any Street
Chelsea, NY 100XX

as opposed to the customary way of:
John Smith
123 Any Street
New York, NY 100XX

I don’t know why in Queens it’s still done by town or section as opposed to County/borough like it’s done in t he rest of the city. I personally like the Queens way better, but it’s strange that it’s done like that there, and no where else in the city.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on June 19, 2006 at 7:58 am

I think the merchants on that stretch of 82nd Street just south of Roosevelt probably unofficially made reference to the block as being “Jackson Heights” in an effort to associate it with the comercial strip on 82nd Street that runs north of Roosevelt to 37th Ave. When my family lived on 41st Ave off Junction Blvd in the early ‘70’s, we always referred to area right around the Jackson Theater as being Jackson Heights, even though it was on the Elmhurst side of Roosevelt.

dave-bronx™ on June 19, 2006 at 7:28 am

The Verizon Yellow Pages online returns 4031 82nd st. Elmhurst 11373 in response to the search terms ‘Jackson Theatre Queens NY’.
They may use Jackson Heights in the advertising because that #7 train station there is called ‘82nd St-Jackson Heights’.

dave-bronx™ on June 19, 2006 at 6:17 am

Addresses on the south side and south of Roosevelt are Elmhurst NY 11373. On the north side and north of Roosevelt are Jackson Heights NY 11372.

According to the previously mentioned book, development the area south of Roosevelt was called Newtown, and re-named Elmhurst in 1906 at the request of the developer of that area. In 1909 The Queensboro Corporation, headed by a man named Edward MacDougall, bought up all the property btwn todays Roosevelt Ave. and Northern Blvd, 70th to 92nd Streets, which then was a collection of small farms and fields called Trains Meadow, and renamed the area Jackson Heights.

dave-bronx™ on June 19, 2006 at 5:24 am

Please stop the controversy – upon reviewing my comment (now that I have had sleep), I find that I mis-spelled the name when copying from the book: ‘Airdrome’ is the way it is spelled in the book. I apologize to CT readers for my poor typing and proof reading skills that have fueled further disagreement among members here. I will try to be more careful.

dave-bronx™ on June 18, 2006 at 9:21 pm

I have the book “Jackson Heights – A Garden in the City” by Daniel Karatzas. It does indeed mention the Airdome, albeit just one paragraph…

“In July 1919, a resident only identified as Mr. McQuade opened the first motion picture theater in Jackson Heights. It was an open-air theater located in a vacant lot at the corner of 82nd Street and Roosevelt Avenue, and called the Jackson Heights Airdome. Two shows were offered each evening, at 8:15 and 9:30. Unfortunately, the opening performance proved to be a disaster: A ‘combination of continued bad weather, disappointment in securing the class of assistants he desired, and lack of opportunity to test out the screen and projecting machines prior to the opening performance were some disappointments’.”

As far as the location is concerned, it has to be either the NE or NW corner of Roosevelt and 82nd, as the south side of Roosevelt is Elmhurst. Having read the entire book previously, it concerns itself only with the development of the area north of Roosevelt. The Jackson Theatre is not mentioned (it’s in Elmhurst). A plot map dated 1919 in the book shows vacant lots on the NE and NW corners, with row houses further into the block.