Jackson Heights Airdrome

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

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Showing 1 - 25 of 44 comments

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.

Tinseltoes on September 10, 2012 at 6:17 am

In this particular case, the venue wasn’t even a theatre. It occupied a vacant plot of land, and had a screen, wooden benches for seats, and a portable projection system. And performances were only held in fair weather and just at night. There is also dispute over whether the actual spelling was “Airdrome” or “Airdome.” Examples of both can be found in press reports of the time.

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.

Tinseltoes on September 8, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Jackson Heights is one of many communities which are listed incorrectly in the address ribbon at the top of each listing. After “New York,” there is no need to have “Jackson Heights” followed by another “Jackson Heights.” The first “Jack Heights,” followed by the name of the theatre, is sufficient.

Tinseltoes on September 8, 2012 at 1:01 pm

This outdoor venue operated for about four weeks in the summer of 1919 and was never heard from again. I don’t think that any of the “Nearby Theaters” even existed at the time! That confusing and inaccurate CT feature should be scrapped until some solution can be found to the problem.

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.

Altoblanco 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…

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on June 20, 2006 at 7:00 am

So is your memory. Perhaps you should change your signature to “Brain Dead.” “Lost Memory” has never made any sense to me. Why would anyone sign themselves thusly unless they were suffering from amnesia, Alzheimer’s, or whatever.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on June 20, 2006 at 6:52 am

Here are two more examples of theaters using the name Airdrome.

“The Airdrome, Grand Prairie, Texas first movie theater, opened about 1920. Since it had no roof, it resembled a "drive-in” theater with seats. The Theater was in operation three nights a week with serial movies being shown on Thursday nights. The shows were advertised by the owner walking the streets blowing a horn to attract the attention of potential customers".

From a History in Lincoln, Illinois:
“With the arrival of moving pictures in Lincoln, about 1910, several theaters were built, including the X-Ray, Family Theater, Star, Empire, Nickelodeon, and Airdrome, which was built by Steve Bennis just east of the present Arcade Building”.

I’m going to end this debate or conversation because I made my point. That point being that you are fallible Warren, just like the rest of us. Your feet do not float above the ground. You are the same as everyone else on this site. You make mistakes like the rest of us but are unable to admit them. At first I found humor in these comments. After reading them again, I realized how sad they actually had become. You have ruined your own credibility and tarnished your reputation on this site just to get “even” with me for adding the name Queens to the addresses of Queens theaters. Its not only childish, its pathetic. This was not a contest and there were no winners. I don’t dislike you Warren, I dislike the superior attitude that you bring to this site. You need to work on that. I’m going to remove the email notification from this theater. If you choose to continue commenting here, you will be replying to yourself. As far as I’m concerned, this is a dead theater and so are the topics contained here.

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!!


Lost Memory
Lost Memory on June 20, 2006 at 4:18 am

Just to make sure that I’m clear on this subject. Your telling me that Airdome is the correct term for an open air theater and Airdrome is a synonym for “airport”. Thats what you posted above, correct?

Did you know that there was an Airdrome theater located in Lynbrook, Long Island in 1915? Yes, Airdrome with an “R”. This is a link to a Newsday article about this Airdrome theater. Before you tell me that the reporter spelled the name wrong, the article includes an ad for the theater. The name in the ad is “Lynbrook Airdrome”. Was this Airdrome a theater for airplanes? You must enjoy the taste of shoe leather since you continue to put your foot in your mouth every chance that you get. Theater God of the Universe, what a joke!

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on June 20, 2006 at 4:04 am

When I can find time to travel to the Long Island Collection at the Queens Public Library in Jamaica, I will have copies made of the clippings and post them here. And if you can’t wait that long, LoMem, you are welcome to do it yourself. You will find them in the folder for Jackson Heights theatres.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on June 20, 2006 at 3:45 am

Common sense, Arrogant One? You probably stayed up all night looking up the meaning of airdrome. Were all open air theaters of this type called airdome? Then why were the Evergreen and Van Cortland theaters in Ridgewood called Airdrome? There is also a former theater listed on C.T. called the Airdrome Theater in Anderson, SC. I guess that those are all spelled wrong also. Only the all knowing Theater God knows the correct names for these theaters. How about you show us some of those “newspaper reports” that call this theater an airdome.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on June 20, 2006 at 3:22 am

Airdome is correct, according to newspaper reports at the time.The name was spelled incorrectly in the book, and the website, using that book as its source, merely repeated that error. And use your common sense, LoMem. “Airdrome” is a synonym for “airport.” Look it up in any dictionary. Outdoor cinemas were often called airdomes because the skies above were the equivalent of a ceiling dome in conventional theatres.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on June 19, 2006 at 3:00 pm

Geez, your like a bad dream that never ends. I offered you a chance to end this gracefully, but I can see that your arrogance won’t allow that. Since I can’t read Dave’s mind, I will have to let him reply to your comment above. I would like to get back on topic for a minute. You made a comment that you believe the correct name for this theater should be Airdome and NOT Airdrome. The website that I linked to above has it spelled as Airdrome. That is source number one. In the book that Dave quoted from, it is also spelled Airdrome. That is source number two. What is your source for changing the name to Airdome? I believe that is a fair question to ask.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on June 19, 2006 at 10:52 am

I believe it was only Dave’s supposition that it was on the north side of Roosevelt Avenue. It could very well have been on the south side, where land was cheaper. 82nd Street between Roosevelt and 37th Avenue was already well developed commercially by 1919. I doubt that a north corner would have even been available for a paltry airdome, which was equivalent to someone showing movies in their backyard with seating on wooden benches.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on June 19, 2006 at 9:55 am

Thats cute Warren. Did you make that up yourself or did someone help you? I’m not getting into the Ridgewood debate since we have covered that many times before. You seem to have the ability to read but your reading comprehension is very low. As Dave-Bronx has already posted “it has to be either the NE or NW corner of Roosevelt and 82nd”. Where are you getting the idea that this theater was located on the south side of Roosevelt Ave? Show me where I wrote that. Everytime you make a mistake, you try to make it look like the other person is wrong. Your smoke and mirror tricks won’t work this time. There is a song by Kenny Rogers called The Gambler. This portion of the song applies to you:

You got to know when to hold ‘em

Know when to fold ‘em

Know when to walk away

You should take that advice before you make yourself look more foolish than you already have.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on June 19, 2006 at 9:41 am

LoMem, can’t you get it through your thick skull that Ridgewood and Flushing do not (and never did) have the same zipcode? And until you come up with an exact address for the Jackson Heights Airdome, how do you know that it was actually in Jackson Heights? If it was on the south side of Roosevelt Avenue, wouldn’t that have been Elmhurst (according to your loony address system)?

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.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on June 19, 2006 at 8:53 am

Thats exactly right Bway. I used to use that zipcode on my return address just before I left Ridgewood. Even though we lived in Ridgewood we are probably wrong because Warren, the “Theater God of the Universe” is never wrong about anything. Or is he? Should I change that to Galaxy or is Universe okay?

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.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on June 19, 2006 at 8:19 am

More double talk. Watch him tap dance his way out of this one.

I’m going show you something and I’m going to do it slowly so there is no confusion. This is the C.T. link to the Jackson Triplex.


Go ahead and click it, I’ll wait. Now, click on the map at the top of the page. Google will show you the address and return a zipcode of 11373. That is an Elmhurst zipcode.

BTW Dave, I doubt that you will get a Christmas card from Warren this year since you are now on his hit list. You committed the cardinal sin of disagreeing with him.

Am I losing my marbles? Since I’m replying to you, I must be losing them. By the same token, are you losing your marbles when you tell people that the 11373 zipcode is in Jackson Heights? We have discussed the Ridgewood-Brooklyn-Flushing zipcodes a number of times in the various Ridgewood theaters. At one time the Ridgewood theater had a zipcode of 11227. That was changed to 11385 which is serviced out of the Flushing post office. Go back and read the comments in the Ridgewood and Madison theaters again. Maybe you will be enlightened.