Arcade Theatre

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

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Roger Katz
Roger Katz on January 31, 2015 at 5:41 am

This theatre was demolished in the 1920’s to make way for retail. It was originally Horak’s Opera House.

Bway on June 20, 2011 at 9:22 am

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

AlexNYC on February 7, 2007 at 3:24 pm

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

AlexNYC on January 15, 2007 at 5:51 am

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 on January 1, 2007 at 4:38 am

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

AlexNYC on December 13, 2006 at 6:14 pm

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.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on November 24, 2006 at 5:33 am

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 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.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on November 23, 2006 at 6:23 am

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 11, 2006 at 10:56 am

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 8, 2006 at 6:08 am

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).

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 7, 2006 at 12:29 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 7, 2006 at 10:24 am

We may be on the wrong track with how those old directions ran. I just searched the NYC Building Department records for those two buildings referenced above in the image and found that one of them – located at 31-27 Steinway Street – was originally known as #300-304 Steinway Avenue as per a 1921 C/O for “store & tenements.” If the lower even numbers ran across the street and south of the Steinway Theater (originally 325 Steinway Ave), then the Arcade’s address of 345-347 Steinway Ave should be north of 31st Avenue and on the west side of the block.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on November 7, 2006 at 9:17 am

Unfortunately, there is also a fairly large parking lot on the west side of Steinway several lots to the south of the old Steinway Theater. I’m not sure how old addresses ran, but assuming lot numbers alternated on either side of the street, the parking lot is in the vicinity of where the 345 Steinway parcel would have been located. There is also a 2-story building on a double lot across the street from the parking lot that would also fall in the same address number vicinity – I assume this is one of the buildings that Warren found to be suggestive of former theatrical use.

Here’s a view looking at the east side of the block, just south of the Steinway Theater, looking down at the parking lot on the west side of the block and the 2-story mixed use building across the street (with purple awnings on both floors). There’s also a building a couple of doors to the left of this one with a sort of bluish-grey facade and a stepped design feature that might be worth investigating.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 7, 2006 at 3:06 am

The Arcade Theatre is listed in the American Motion Picture Directory 1914- 1915 at 347 Steinway Avenue, Astoria, NY.

The 1930 edition of Film Daily Yearbook has it listed as (Closed).