AMC Loews Fresh Meadows 7

190-02 Horace Harding Boulevard,
Fresh Meadows, NY 11365

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Meadows Theatre original exterior

Viewing: Photo | Street View

This large theater, which sits along the Long Island Expressway, began its life on November 23, 1949. It was a giant 2,184-seat suburban movie palace serving a 3,000-family, middle income housing project in Fresh Meadows, Queens, New York.

It was constructed by the firm of Voorhies, Walker, Foley & Smith and was built for Century Theaters which had the automobile in mind when it constructed an adjoining parking lot with space for 1,000 cars.

The theater itself contained an enormous auditorium with a balcony, a large lobby and foyer, and a lounge in the theater’s mezzanine.

The modern opulence of the Meadows, and its late-1940’s stylings, have been lost over the years as the former Century Theatres movie house has slowly morphed into a seven-screen multiplex.

Now operated by AMC Theatres, the ghost of its former operators, Cineplex Odeon, can still be seen in the theater’s marquee.

The AMC Loews Fresh Meadows 7, as it is now known, was located near a five-screen Loews theater on the other side of the Long Island Expressway that recently closed.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 154 comments)

DARCYDT
DARCYDT on June 4, 2014 at 1:00 am

I seem to write this every few months now. A year ao I was shocked at prices here and I posted in January that the prices had gone up again. Here we are 5 months later and now the pre 11:50 am showings have risen to $8, the matinees till 3:50 have gone up another dollar to $13.25 and after 4 or so it’s now $15, $19 for 3D. Is this the priciest theater in New York City for regular showings at night?

CenturyBill
CenturyBill on August 8, 2014 at 4:37 am

My first job was as an usher here in May 1972. We wore tuxedos and Mr. Bernard Decatsky was the manager. John Vess a was Chief of Staff with his brother Mike, Larry Ackerman and Ed Monahagn. Ed Bernhardt was managing the Prospect in Flushing and Mr Jackson was the DM. I became Mr. D’S Asst Mgr and we moved to the Prospect when it became a duplex. Eventually left and went to the Navy. Great times at this theater and at the Horn & Harare which became a Bagel Nosh. Sorry to hear that it’s down on it’s luck.

DARCYDT
DARCYDT on October 22, 2014 at 9:07 pm

Back on June 3rd I made comments about the price rises and how frequent they were. Today I went to “Fury” here and before 11:55 AM the prices are $8.99. Not even a rounded up dollar. The evening showings are now $15.99, $19.99 with 3D. The theater is crowded too at these prices as opposed to say the one in Glen Cove, recently renovated and only $6 till 5 PM. That theater hardly as anyone there, biggest recent crowd I saw was 11 for the Equalizer opening week. Flushing Main Street charges $5 for the first show and it never really has many people. The girl taking the tickets told the couple in front of me that there was no more senior discount either.

DARCYDT
DARCYDT on October 22, 2014 at 10:31 pm

According to Fandango there are senior rates still and lower rates for kids. Kids rate at night is $13.29.

NYer
NYer on November 2, 2014 at 6:13 pm

Charlton Heston & Co-Star Tina Chen made a live personal appearance on opening night of “The Hawaiians”, a sequel to “Hawaii” on July 17, 1970. Opening night add in Photo section.

CenturyBill
CenturyBill on November 2, 2014 at 10:23 pm

I remember Charlton Heston and going to that movie with my father. JHS 74 had our graduation there when they were showing Ryans Daughter. Thinking back I didn’t know that my first job would be there and be such a part of my life!

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on April 4, 2015 at 9:21 pm

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/furious-7-demand-prompts-new-786414

hdtv267
hdtv267 on April 4, 2015 at 9:32 pm

Thanks for the link- but the point of the story above is that due to demand, the complex has been staying open 24/7 due to customer demand for Furious 7

Fredhadley
Fredhadley on July 19, 2015 at 2:11 pm

Meadows 2

I first saw the “Mighty Meadows” in 1965 at a special Sneak Preview of “A Thousand Clowns.” I was 17 and worked at Century’s Prospect in Flushing. Whenever the Meadows had a big event, they would borrow ushers from the Prospect to augment their staff. This was in the days of single-screens, so two thousand + patrons would come pouring out at once.

The Prospect manager was Walter Leyendecker, who had replaced Mr. Mc Eachern or “Mac,” formerly of the Meadows. The first thing I noticed, was that the auditorium exit signs, instead of glowing red, glowed a sexy violet.

When I became 21, I became a projectionist with NYC Local 306 IATSE. Because of low seniority, I took a job at RKO Alden on Jamaica Avenue in the mid ‘70s. It was in decline in a dangerous neighborhood. In 1978, the Alden was converted from one screen to a quad. My pay went from $13 to $22 per hour as I had to run all 4 screens.

In 1983 after the Alden Quad closed because of poor business, I became eligible for “circuit seniority” and claimed the Meadows and got it over other older projectionists because I had lost my job through no fault of my own. The manager was Ed Bernhardt who was allowed to keep a small dog, named Charlie in the manager’s office. Charlie never barked and knew never to venture out into the lobby.

The Meadows was a twin by that point with the huge original auditorium divided longitudinally by a wall and serviced from the original booth in the upper rear of the building. This booth was amazing! Very large with picture windows that had louvers beneath to get fresh air. The view was of the LIE, just yards away. There was a dumbwaiter at the north end for hoisting the heavy film shipping cases.

The old “preview magazines” that enabled double-system “work prints” to be screened for audience testing had been removed and were stored near the dumbwaiter. The equipment was 4 35 MM Simplex X-L with Ashcraft carbon arc lamphouses that had been retrofitted for Xenon bulbs. The soundheads were RCA. We spliced three 18-minute reels together and ran 6,000 foot hour-long reels with one changeover in the middle of the movie.

In the 90’s the Meadows was acquired by Cineplex Odeon and its CEO, Garth Drabinsky (he put real butter back on the popcorn) decided to make a sevenplex. Platters were brought in (see photos), and two new booths that ran the long way (east-west) were built. Six 35 MM and one 35/70 MM Simplexes were put in. Three cinemas (1,2&3) had small screens in the basement mounted along the long south wall.

Three medium screens were in Cinemas 5,6&7 on the upper level and Cinema 4, the “presentation” house with 35/70 was in the basement with a large screen near where the original 1949 screen was along the east wall.

In 2003 the union started allowing the managers to run the projectors on Mon, Tue & Weds, so I left the Meadows and “bid” for Regal’s Sheepshead Bay 14-plex, still 100% union. I retired in 2008. My final shift was the first day of a new cutback. The projectionist would go home after starting the last shows and the manager would shut down. I clocked out at 10:30 PM for the last time. I had just turned 60 and was eligible for early retirement, so I went to Boca Raton, FL.

Two years later, the Sheepshead Bay went digital and the projectionists were replaced by manager/projectionists. Now there are but a handful of theatres, mostly repertory, still union. Sad.

Contact:

theatrefan
theatrefan on July 19, 2015 at 7:58 pm

That’s a great story Fred, Thank You. Reel Film (pardon the pun) almost has an organic quality to it that just can’t be easily replicated with a bunch of bits & bytes from a DCP version, in the same way vinyl records had a warmth and texture to them that no CD ever matched. I also to make it a point to check the program of any repertory film house program to make sure it;s being shown in 35mm or 70mm format, when this type of film presentation is done well, nothing else can even come close.

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