Loew's Hillside Theatre

90-29 Sutphin Boulevard,
Jamaica, NY 11435

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Showing 1 - 25 of 122 comments

paktype on January 16, 2018 at 4:46 pm

This neighborhood is very different now.

Climber59thstbridge on April 2, 2015 at 10:27 pm

Great area! I remember the Robert Hall clothing store. As a kid it took forever to walk past it. Also the sports store, the take-out chinese restaurant, and the Nedicks. My brother and I would go, and for a buck we could pay for admission with enough left over for a box of ice cream bon bons. I saw “The Greatest Show on Earth” there and had dreams for weeks about the train hitting one of the circus cars. Also saw “The Wizard of Oz” there and was at first disappointed when it was in black and white, before it turned to color. Also Mondo Cane and one of those Smell-O-Rama films, where they cut into an orange, and had an Indian funeral pyre. In the 50’s there always seemed to be at least one fight after the rock and roll show. Amazing times!

DonRogers on August 31, 2014 at 11:48 am

When I was a kid growing up on the Island I listened to Murray the “K” and his “Swinging Soiree” with a “blast from the past”

nancy_kessling on August 31, 2014 at 10:26 am

I spent years at this theatre starting in 1955 through early 1960s. I lived two blocks south of the LIRR station in Jamaica NY and my mother was a cashier at the Hillside for many years. I worked as a cashier through 1962 (just as the theatre was going out of business). It was a magnificent place with marble floors, staircases and crystal chandeliers hanging from a mezzanine ceiling that was 50 feet off the ground floor. I wish I had taken pictures, but …

In the late 50s there were many stage shows and because this theatre was located right under the Queens BMT Sutphin Blvd stop, it was very convenient. It was called the “Hillside” but Hillside Avenue was at least ½ mile away (and that’s where the IND E and F trains stopped. The theatre was also a short walk from the LIRR station on Archer Avenue.

Two popular shows were JEWEL BOX REVIEW and the MURRAY- the-K ROCK CONCERTS. Both ran in the late 50s, but I can’t give you specific dates. JEWEL BOX REVIEW was a transsexual show which I watched from the candy counter while I waited for my mother to get off work. This adult show featured male performers who were awesome, talented and mostly very feminine. It ran for a couple of weeks at least two years in a row.

Murray the K was a local disc jockey and hosted the two annual ROCK CONCERTS at the Hillside Theatre which included most of the popular mo-town singers and groups of the 50s. I was in junior high in the 50s but I remember Little Anthony and the Imperials and the Echoes who were my favorites back then. I stayed backstage for these performances and loved every minute.

The theatre itself was a gathering place for my family and friends during those years. There was a children’s section with its own usher and there was a balcony for smokers and there was a marble staircase that went all the way to the top level of the theatre to the projection booth. There was a trap door in the cashiers' booth that took you under the theatre to the back stage – but no one ever used it to my knowledge.

I would love to hear comments from anyone else who spent time at the theatre. Her sister theatre, the VALENCIA, was even more majestic – a mile down Jamaica Avenue around 160th Street. This was all before the elevated trains were demolished. Many, many years ago. Great memories. I

Nicholas Vargelis
Nicholas Vargelis on August 29, 2012 at 5:57 pm

It looks like the part of the building with retail stores was demolished or extensively renovated to accommodate a 4-story addition for commercial office spaces (totally hiding that behind the cheap new façade is an old building). Does anyone know if the auditorium is still intact? Or was that destroyed with the transformation of the street front part of the building …

jimwhite on July 26, 2012 at 2:19 pm

I remember going to a burlesque show at the Hillside Theatre in the early sixties for a bachelor party thing,the comics were funny, so were the women (older). Also, I L O V E D the Nedick’s on the corner and my first fancy restaurant meal was at McGuinesses – I remember my mother ordered lobster (what the hell was lobster?) My First Communion suit was bought at Robert Hall’s across the street from the Hillside. Later on I would go to the DMV for my drivers license. And of course the Court House for Jury duty.

Ed Miller
Ed Miller on March 12, 2012 at 1:19 am

Regarding saps' comment above, does anyone else recall the Hillside being a burlesque theater? I surely don’t!

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on March 10, 2012 at 12:09 pm

I remember passing this theater several times in a car during the late 1960s. I was a boy but I clearly remember that they had a burlesque show running at the time. The word “Follies” was so burned in my brain that a few years later when I saw a friend with a “Mad Follies” magazine, I thought it had to do with strippers and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it and read it in private!

Fixer3 on December 20, 2011 at 8:47 am


DonRogers on August 19, 2011 at 8:57 am

Rafael, Glad you liked the photo and that it brought back good memories. My Mom and Dad grew up in the Brooklyn/Jamaica area(1910 thru 1945) My Dad took this photo in 1941….the area must have had some importance to him. They lived at 141-33 84th Dr. thru the 2nd World War and then we moved out on the Island to Oakdale. Both my sister and I were born at Kew Gardens General Hospital but have no recollection of the area. My Dad also took a picture of a Citgo service station somewhere in the area, but I don’t want to post it here. I can send you a copy of it. It may bring back additional memories and maybe you can identify the location. Let me know. Regards, Don Rogers

Ed Miller
Ed Miller on August 19, 2011 at 3:08 am

Please take note on Don’s beautiful photo: you can see how Sutphin Boulevard was paved in brick, a childhood memory of mine that I’d nearly lost, until seeing this picture.

Ed Miller
Ed Miller on August 19, 2011 at 3:05 am

Wonderful photo, Don, and let me add my welcome to this site.

robboehm on August 18, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Well, the RKO Jefferson became the Jefferson. Most of the Century Long Island theatres on CT are not identified as such, but some are. Fortunately, the new logic makes it easier to find things. If we really want to go into some questionable logic why are theatres on military bases listed? They’re not really for the public. Some of the mental hospitals had theatres, which are well documented, should they be on?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 18, 2011 at 10:02 am

Hmmm. Tinseltoes, you remind me of another fellow that used to post here a while back and split similar hairs. Of course, you are correct that I misstated an intention that must have been obvious to anyone who read the comment, but the only place to list other names for any given theater on CT is under “previous names.” I only meant to suggest that Hillside (sans the Loew’s) should be included as an alternate name for this theater. Is that better? I know the convention on this website is to list theaters by the name under which they last operated – although there are exceptions. So, perhaps the listing should be changed to Hillside Theatre, with Loew’s Hillside as a previous name.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 17, 2011 at 11:03 am

The titles on the marquee in that nycsubway photo are listed as having NYC release dates in November, 1960, and January, 1961, respectively. With the snow on the ground, January of 1961 is a good bet. There should be a previous name of just Hillside Theatre for this listing.

EMarkisch on August 16, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Thank you Don R for the splendid color photo of the Hillside. Now does anyone have any photos of the interior to post? While I frequented the Hillside quite often in the 50’s, my memory of what the interior looked like has started to fade.

DonRogers on August 14, 2011 at 8:53 am

Ed, I enlarged the photo some more and it appears that the amateur nite sign is over some outside movie poster cases similar to those closer to the theater entrance.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 13, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Nice catch, Don. Looks like the advertising is over a set of exit doors for the theater.

DonRogers on August 13, 2011 at 8:45 am

Tinseltoes mentioned in a previous posting about Loew’s Hillside having an Amateur Nite to boost attendence. If you look closely at the enlargement that I just posted, you will see the Amateur Nite being promoted. Its between the Locksmith and the Bakery(?)

TLSLOEWS on August 12, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Thanks again Don for the photo,and welcome to Cinema Treasures.The best website about theatres out there.

DonRogers on August 12, 2011 at 2:47 pm

The photo was taken from a color slide that my dad had. It was in the same batch that included photos of my dad’s NEW 1941 Ford. There is also a picture of the car being serviced at an outdoor Citgo Service station. I wonder if the service station was near the theater. The building wall behind was still advertising the World’s Fair.

TLSLOEWS on August 12, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Yes Don that is a nice photo I have already posted it on my profile page.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 12, 2011 at 12:25 pm

The Blondie title on the marquee opened in October of 1940, per imdb.com. And while “The Great Dictator” is noted as having premiered in NYC on October 15, 1940, a USA release of March 7, 1941, is also listed. I presume that would be the general release after an exclusive Broadway engagement. If the Hillside ran a couple of weeks behind the Valencia, I’d say early spring of ‘41 is a safe bet.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 12, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Thanks for posting the photo, Don. It’s great. I hope the administrators here swap it out for the crummy photo I took from the LIRR! Or if enough people view it, I think it will automatically become the default image.

DonRogers on August 11, 2011 at 8:36 pm

I have an old color photo of what I believe to be the Loew’s Hillside theater taken in 1940 or 1941. How would I post this image for comments