Polk Theater

93-09 37th Avenue,
Jackson Heights, NY 11372

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Showing 1 - 25 of 138 comments

mschiff6 on September 29, 2014 at 5:31 pm

techman707 – I have a question for you on the Gusseins I would like to ask you offline. My email is

techman707 on November 17, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Matthew Prigge – The owner is a friend of mine and I serviced the video projector a few times before it closed. Back in the 60’s I worked there on Wednesdays.

techman707 on October 14, 2012 at 7:42 am

michaelkaplan-I’m SURE that we must have crossed paths at some point.-lol When I worked at the Jackson I ate at the Colony Deli a few doors down from the Jackson. It was owned by a friend of my family. I don’t recognize Jackson Heights today.

michaelkaplan on October 13, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Techman, I watched many movies at the Jackson and Colony as well as the three mentioned. If I recall, I saw both Kiss Me, Kate, and Dial M for Murder in 3D at the Jackson. The Colony screened more ‘art’ fare; I know I saw at least one Ingmar Bergman film there (in a mostly empty room). Used to eat lunch next door at the Woolworth’s.

techman707 on February 6, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Michael Kaplan-I’ve worked as a projectionist at ALL the theatres you’ve mentioned. I used to eat at the Dragon Seed all the time. You didn’t mention the Jackson and Colony theatres on 82nd ST. I was at the Jackson after it was renovated by Skouras in 1965. It was the nicest single in the area….until it was turned into a triplex.

michaelkaplan on February 6, 2012 at 3:54 pm

went to the Polk many times as a kid. They had a good Saturday kid’s matinee, as did the Boulevard and Fair. I think the last time I went to the Polk, it had already been converted into a porn house, the third theater in Jackson Heights so transformed (along with the Earle and Fair). On the next block, also on 37th Avenue, was the fabulous Dragon Seed Restaurant, which had one of the first stereophonic music systems in the city. On Mondays, when the restaurant was closed, the owner opened it to neighborhood audiophiles. Great neighborhood!

techman707 on July 29, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Jeffrey1955- Yes, the Polk Ave was underneath, however, they removed the neon tubing. All the small light bulb sockets were also underneath. I remember when the sequencer broke and the last owner was too cheap to fix it, so he used “random flasher buttons” until he had the underside covered also.

Jeffrey1955 on July 28, 2011 at 11:59 pm

Yes, I’m referring to that original POLK AVE marquee. The first picture on the photo page shows it (apparently in 1938, since Little Miss Roughneck was released in January 1938 and Squadron of Honor in June 1938) and that lettering looks absolutely gorgeous. The more modern block neon was okay, but nowhere near as evocative as what I suspect was hidden under the metal sheathing. Wish I’d been able to find out if it was, indeed, under there when they tore it all down.

techman707 on July 28, 2011 at 5:11 am

I’m not sure what you’re saying about the neon letters on top. Way back in the early 50’s, I recall the Marquee showing the theatre name as POLK AVENUE, however, the neon letters saying POLK have been there since at least 1964 that I recall.

Jeffrey1955 on July 27, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Not only does the status need to be changed to Demolished, the description should be amended. While the name was displayed in “large red-neon block letters” in more recent decades, historical photos posted previously show the original marquee, later hidden beneath that shiny metal covering, had gloriously sleek art deco neon lettering stretched across its entire length.

techman707 on July 27, 2011 at 8:03 am

It’s too bad you went there at the end when they were running video porn.

Willburg145 on July 26, 2011 at 8:12 pm

I went to the Polk a few times before it was closed and it was a disgrace. The bathrooms were disgusting. It’s a shame this old place was demolished. The auditorium was big.

techman707 on June 1, 2011 at 2:28 pm

The last picture I saw just showed the entire lot with plywood around it. I sure that at this point there must be some kind of building there now. This whole city has been turned into real sh!t over the last 20 years. Maybe the carpetbagger, Bloomberg, and “Rudy the 9/11 hero” think it’s better, but I don’t.

techman707 on June 1, 2011 at 9:29 am

Take my word for it, the Polk has been demolished. -R-I-P

techman707 on January 15, 2011 at 6:50 pm

Warren G. Harris – “This was another case of "r” before “e” in the last two letters of the “t” word— Polk Theatre (not Polk Theater). I grew up in Queens, and I don’t recall any cinemas that used the “er” ending. “Theatre” was always used, not “Theater.”"

Warren, You’re correct, movie theatres almost always used “tre” and not “ter”. In the case of the Polk, the owner who’s a friend of mine,(who someone above correctly described as a “little old man in his 80’s”) referred to the theatre on its stationary as the Polk Cinema (Polk Cinema Enterprises). I worked as a projectionist on Wednesdays in the early 60’s. The last owner bought the theatre from Sidney Drier around 1961. The theatre ran second run pictures until about 1969. After running a movie called “Man & Wife”, a softcore sex picture that was considered “main stream” at that time, was the beginning of the end for running regular movies at the Polk. In the mid 70’s, they stopped running 35mm soft core porno and started running 16mm porno and then finally, video projection. If you see old newspaper movie listings for the Polk, it might have been listed under Brandt Theatres, who was the film booker for the Polk.

Michael D. Jackson
Michael D. Jackson on May 4, 2009 at 10:00 am

Sorry that last post is wrong, the photo is from May 3rd.

Michael D. Jackson
Michael D. Jackson on May 3, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Here is a photo of the Polk Theater site today, May 5, 2009. Gone.

Jeffrey1955 on April 15, 2008 at 8:12 am

Nice job supplying him with the photos, Warren! (And, I suspect, giving him the idea for the article…?)

faberfranz on April 11, 2008 at 5:36 pm

He just wanted to emulate the Moses who parted the Red Sea, to part all that mess in the way of New Jersey automobiles seeking the promise of Long Island.

dave-bronx™ on April 3, 2008 at 9:27 pm

…or the projects… considering how many blocks and blocks were leveled for all the projects in all boroughs, I’m sure some theatres went down, not necessarily huge places like the Strand or Capitol, but regular neighborhood theatres.

Robert Moses was a vindictive bastard, answering to no one and out of control: if people made enough of a fuss about an expressway coming through their neighborhood he might be persuaded to relocate it. Later on, though, he blessed that neighborhood with a large project.

Jeffrey1955 on April 3, 2008 at 8:31 pm

Not unless they were directly in the path of one of his highways.

markp on April 3, 2008 at 8:08 pm

I’m glad to see others loved that documentary as well. A quick question. Do any of you think that we lost a lot of those old grand palaces because of Robert Moses?

LuisV on April 3, 2008 at 6:44 pm

Good One Jeffrey!

Jeffrey1955 on April 2, 2008 at 7:42 pm

I know I saw that series, but I can’t remember how long ago it was. I do have Robert Caro’s Moses biography, The Power Broker, which is of course the authoritative work and the basis for much of what was said about him in the film. Fascinating, and deeply flawed, personality — and the ultimate irony is that, though he built all those roads, detested mass transit and was determined to pave over just about everything, he never learned to drive!

Anyway, now back to the Polk’s Red Hot XXX Double Feature, “I Can’t Drive A Stick” and “Rear-Ended Thanks to Robert Moses.” Sorry, all out of popcorn.