Arcade Theatre

Steinway Street, near 31st Avenue,
Astoria, NY 11103

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The Arcade was one of Astoria’s earliest cinemas, and the nearest competition to the somewhat older Steinway Theatre. The Arcade also had an airdome that operated in spring/summer and was either adjacent to the 575-seat theatre or on the roof. Neither facility survived past the silent era. The premises were taken over for retail re-development. More information about the Arcade’s history, as well as an exact contemporary address for the site, are needed.

The Arcade’s original address was 325 Steinway Avenue (the Steinway Theatre, originally 345 Steinway Avenue, is now 31-08 Steinway Street for the building’s conversion to retail).

Contributed by Warren G. Harris

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 7, 2006 at 8:29 pm

Warren; The Steinway Theatre is not listed in the American Motion Picture Directory 1914 – 1915. There is however a Casino Garden Theatre listed at 321 Steinway Avenue, Astoria.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on November 8, 2006 at 2:08 pm

This is a pretty handy site for understanding archaic addresses in certain areas of Queens (particularly LIC and Astoria). I’m not saying it is the absolute authority on the matter, but I have no reason to believe that the information is way off base. In any event, if you scroll down to “Steinway,” you’ll find that the old addresses ran in the opposite sequence as the current addresses do. So the higher numbers ran to the north. The Arcade must have been on the other side of 31st (Jamaica) Avenue one block to the north of the Steinway Theater. I would speculate that it was on the west side of the block and roughly 8 or 9 lots from the corner of 31st Avenue (using the Steinway’s old 325 address as a reference point).

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on November 11, 2006 at 6:56 pm

I agree, Warren. All indications so far (the archaic address conversion website; the C/O for a property across from that parking lot with an original 300-304 Steinway Ave address) seem to be that the theater was situated north of 31st. If you count in the 8 or 9 lots that I surmise would approximate the location of the theater’s site, that still leaves you very close to the 31st… most of those building lots are quite narrow.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on November 23, 2006 at 2:23 pm

There are no C/O’s available to view for that address on the NYC Building Department site, but the history of filings does note Alterations as early as 1923 – which would indicate work done to a pre-existing building. The “New Building” filings are not indicated in the online history, so we have nothing conclusive. Does an alteration in 1923 make sense for an approximate time frame for this theater’s demise?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on November 24, 2006 at 1:33 pm

So, the big parcel adjacent on the right of the 345 address would have most likely been the site of the Arcade auditorium.

As per this local.live.com view, there is currently a narrow one-story bulding on the 345 parcel identified in Warren’s map and a Modell’s on the spacy adjacent lot where the auditorium/airdome might have been situated. I guess only an on-site visual inspection of the exterior might determine if any elements of the old theater entrance remain. With all the passing years and history of alterations noted on the NYC site, I expect all traces have probably vanished – if indeed the structure was not at some point entirely replaced.

AlexNYC
AlexNYC on December 14, 2006 at 2:14 am

Warren is right about the parking lot having been P.S. #6, which I remember standing there when I was a kid in the 1960s, and I later recall them tearing it down in the late 1960s. I also recall the large store which is now Modells. It used to be a supermarket in the 1960s (I don’t recall the name), but I remember the unusually tall ceiling, so it can easily have been the theater in question. When a store is unusually large in Astoria, it was either converted from a theater (as the Steinway Theater became Lerner’s), or it was build that way for a chain store such as Woolworth’s and Genovese were on adjacent corner’s of Steinway & 31st Ave.

AlexNYC
AlexNYC on January 1, 2007 at 12:38 pm

Thanks Warren, from the photo it appears to be the exact location of where Modells is today.

AlexNYC
AlexNYC on January 15, 2007 at 1:51 pm

Yep, the Modells store was where the Arcade Theater stood. Thanks Warren. Even as a child when it was a supermarket and later a discount store I didn’t know it used to be a theater. Since it’s so large I’m assuming the structure was altered from a theater for retail purposes, as opposed to being razed.

AlexNYC
AlexNYC on February 7, 2007 at 11:24 pm

Wow Warren, you really went digging for all that, didn’t you? You’re a plethora of information; thanks again.

Bway
Bway on June 20, 2011 at 5:22 pm

This theater should not be listed as “demolished”, as it appears the building still stands.

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