Loew's Willard Theatre

96-01 Jamaica Avenue,
Woodhaven, NY 11421

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Located in the Woodhaven section of Queens. Another Jamaica Avenue theater, the Loew’s Willard Theatre opened on November 26, 1924. After closing in the 1950’s it served as a banquet hall for many years. The catering hall closed in late summer 2007 and the theatre was converted into retail and office use. In mid-2013, it had re-opened as a banquet hall.

Contributed by SteveSmith

Recent comments (view all 115 comments)

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on December 21, 2009 at 9:42 pm

Given its rather isolated location at the periphery of the Woodhaven and Richmond Hills communities, it is a little surprising that the Willard was the first Loews theater to open in Queens. One would have expected a more central location. This might have had something to do with its rather early cinematic demise.

Anyhow, while the Willard was history when I first discovered the site, I knew the Cordon Bleu very well and went to a number of functions there over the years. Since it always appeared to be busy, I’m surprised it closed.

While the catering hall made ample use of the Willard’s considerable space, I recall no remnants of a movie theater being retained in its interior.

One event I remember attending was a banquet sponsored by the Bushwick Salvation Army. (Many Brooklyn based groups held their events here.) While it was a very nice affair, the Army, unfortunately, rigidly enforced its “no alcohol” rule, making it a very long two and a half hours. Fortunately, a few good bars were – and still are – situated in the immediate vicinity.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on December 26, 2009 at 9:25 pm

Tisloews,not to show disrespect to our yankee friends,but I was told from another CT member that alot of guys just like to bitch up there.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on June 25, 2010 at 7:29 pm

By the way, I have been informed that the old Cordon Bleu catering hall has, in fact, reopened at this location, though it now only occupies a smaller portion of the building.

WoodhavenFrank
WoodhavenFrank on September 1, 2010 at 7:20 pm

In regards to Warren’s post of Dec 2006 (yeah, yeah, I know but better late than never, I just found this site)
“I found yet another early Woodhaven cinema called the Parkway Motion Picture Theatre, which in 1916 was advertised as being at 1163 Jamaica Avenue, near Yarmouth Street. The building number is extinct, but Yarmouth is now called 85th Street. I wonder if the Parkway might be listed here under a later name and a "modern” number for 1163?
posted by Warren G. Harris on Dec 8, 2006 at 5:14am

I wonder if that might have been what I knew growing up as The Haven Theatre. The Haven was located at 80-19 on the south side of Jamaica Ave. one a very long block that had 80th St on the west and 85th St to the east. On the north side of the Ave, it was intersected by Forest Parkway (hence the name Parkway Motion Picture Theatre??) and The Haven was right at that intersection or within a few feet at least.

There were three movie houses in the neighborhood when I grew up. The Willard, later Le Cordon Bleu as we know. The Roosevelt at the corner of 88th St, later to become “the auditorium” and subsequently named Msgr. Mulz Hall, part of St Thomas the Apostle RC Church and The Haven near Forest Parkway. Basically we had a movie house at each end of the town and one in the middle. Saw many movies in all of them as a kid.
Cheers.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on October 27, 2010 at 11:40 am

On this night in 1942 (which happened to be a Tuesday), comedian Joey Adams hosted a “Stars of Tomorrow” revue with 10 acts on the stage of Loew’s Willard. On screen were two “B” programmers, “Enemy Agents Meet Ellery Queen” and “All American Co-Ed.”

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on December 8, 2010 at 7:53 pm

Pretty good history except for the TOR JOHNSON non-sense.

Willburg145
Willburg145 on June 3, 2011 at 2:10 am

Was the auditorium gutted prior to becoming a catering hall?

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on October 2, 2013 at 11:10 am

The catering hall has returned to life as Woodhaven Manor. Some interior views can be glimpsed here: Eventective

robboehm
robboehm on October 2, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Stairs are probably the original.

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