Lefferts Theatre

122-02 Liberty Avenue,
Richmond Hill, NY 11419

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Lefferts Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

For many years this was a first run United Artists house. In the 1970’s it became an independent showing first run movies with a second feature. To say the owner ran it into the ground is an understatement. In the winter it would be freezing, they would turn the heat on just as they opened the doors so customers would hear the radiators clanking and then turn it off again.

It was like walking into a 42nd Street theater and very often played grind double bills direct from there. After a fire it was triplexed but only limped a long for a few years before being sold and turned into a Genovese and other retail stores.

Contributed by RobertR

Recent comments (view all 59 comments)

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 12, 2007 at 8:37 am

The Lefferts first opened in 1925, and I doubt very much that it was in “art moderne” style. But it probably went through at least one “modernization” in subsequent years.

AntonyRoma
AntonyRoma on November 15, 2007 at 12:54 am

I remember Neri’s and several other places mentioned above. My grandparents lived on 120 St off Jerome Ave. I grew up in Glendale, and moved to 96-11 95 ave Ozone Park in the 50’s.

Carter’s German Bakery? They had to be related. Thee was the old man and his son who ran Carter’s jewelry on Jerome Ave near 96 St. Another brother, Stan ??, had a dental practice across the street.

Shalom, ciao, and excelsior

colleenmccormack
colleenmccormack on August 21, 2008 at 12:02 am

Louis A and Gene R: Now Im the whippersnapper! I moved to RH in 1972 (I was 2 yrs old); I went to PS 100 for kindergarten and OLPH from 1st to 8th grade. I got married in OLPH and funny enough; moved to Lindenhurst’s OLPH parish. I lived on 123rd street; right around the corner from the Lefferts Theater; and my parents still live there. I ate dinner at Neris with my parents; saw many Disney movies at the Lefferts Theater, followed by a treat at Nicks; which was on the way home. I don’t remember the fish; but I did hear many stories from my next-door neighbors growing up. I had hot dog lunches at Karps and got all my shoes at Buster Brown. Louis; FYI: the circus animal floor my parents bought at your store for my bedroom 36 yrs ago is still down, and looks better than the floor in my own kitchen LOL. Although I remember Trunz as Karl Ehmer, and Crone’s as Lucky 9 Discounts; my mom, who happens to be here with me, does remember her mother shopping at those 2 stores. We spent many a day running errands on the Avenue, at Kresges, the A & P, and First National City Bank. In between viewings at Leo F. Kearns, we would go to St. John’s for something to eat, and the men in the family would toast the departed at the Green Shade across the street. The Chinese Restaurant that was mentioned was owned by a wonderful family that lived across the street from us. Unfortunately; they had to sell their business after a family tragedy and moved to Texas. I worked in the Pathmark Drug Store that opened where the Lefferts Theater used to be. What started out as a summer job ended up lasting 10 yrs. Any time I go to Richmond Hill; which is quite often to visit my parents; I still visualize all the old stores that used to be there when I was a kid and life was so much easier. Hermans deli, Sukons, Glendale Bakery, Goodys Mens Shop; Mayfair, Thriftland; etc. Now, it has changed SO much that my children will never know it the way I did. It is so nice to see there are people who have such wonderful memories of the old neighborhood. Thanks for sharing yours!! Colleen

LuisV
LuisV on August 23, 2008 at 1:38 pm

Hi Colmack, Welcome to CT! I moved to South Ozone Park in 1970 (when I was 11) and I too went to PS 100 but just for the 6th grade. OLPH was my parish until I was old enough for my parents to be unable to force me to keep going to mass. :–) And I graduated from John Adams High School in 1977 before going on to college in Manhattan.

I loved growing up in South Ozone Park. (117th St. and 111th Avenue). In the 70’s New York was falling apart, crime was out of control and many neighborhoods in the Bronx and Brooklyn were burning. I remember being fearful of even going to Jamaica. But in our neighborhood, it was totally safe, many people didn’t lock their doors. It was a great place to raise a family and I feel grateful for the experience.

I ate many a meal at St. Johns. It was open 24 hours and served great diner food. The waiters were wonderful. Across the street was a Stop & Shop (kind of a drug store/small appliance store) where I got my first part time job delivering circulars. There were two supermarkets on Liberty Avenue between 117th and 118th Street. One was an A&P and the other was an independent with an Italian name that I can’t think of right now. Between the two markets was a Carter’s store which sold Children’s clothing.

I remember the big Richmond Hill Savings Bank Building on Lefferts next to the Bank of New York. In the era before ATM’s, if you wanted cash for the weekend, you had to physically go to the bank and stand on long lines to get cash from an actual teller. And you had to go early because the banks usually closed by 1PM. I also remember most of the retail stores were closed on Sundays due to the blue laws still in effect in the early 70’s.

Liberty Avenue has changed alot since I grew up there. Very few of the old stores remain. I think Karps is now a McDonalds, The Lefferts is a Drug Store, The Casino is some other kind of retail.

Nonetheless, it appears to still be a thriving lower middle class area offering an entry level into the American Dream as it was for us way back when. We’ve moved on up and out, but I will always cherish the life and lifestyle that Richmond Hill/South Ozone Park gave to me and my family.

LuisV
LuisV on August 23, 2008 at 1:53 pm

Almost three years ago I posted above that Rockaway Blvd would have been a terrible location for a movie theater in reponse to a query about a possible theater located at Lefferts and Rockaway.

Now that I have been exposed to CT and have done immersed myself into many of the theaters posted, I have come to realize how much a part of the fabric movie theaters were in past generations. In the era before televisions and certainly before air conditioning was available in homes, theaters represented a wonderful night out, the perfect date and there certainly wasn’t much competition for the entertainment dollar.

As a result, areas like Rockaway Blvd, which had no main retail strip and no Subway access could still support not just one, but three movie theaters during the first half of the 20th century.

If you wanted to splurge, you went to the palaces and you had you choice of scores of them, I would almost say hundreds in New York City when they were at their height of popularity.

Truth be told, one multiplex isn’t usually much different than any other, but back in the day you could go from the Art Deco Speldor of Radio City to the Spanish Roxy, to the Italian Paradise, the Mexican Keiths, the Asian Loews 175th Street, and so on.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 8, 2009 at 3:41 pm

An historical article and 1936 photo can be found here: View link

LuisV
LuisV on January 8, 2009 at 5:25 pm

Warren, as always, great work. Thanks for posting this phot. I never knew that the Lefferts had such a prominent Blade! I always thought that the Lefferts best feature was its distinctive marquee with the quick blinking yellow letters lit in cursive script. I thought it was beautiful. I wonder when the blade was removed.

Bway
Bway on May 18, 2009 at 10:57 am

Here’s a current street view of the theater as the drug store:

View link

tonydivr1
tonydivr1 on April 7, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Tony responding to Patricia 1 I read your comments and wanted to add, Neri’s. On the corner, next block from Lefferts. New the owners and without a doubt, the best Pizza I’ve ever eaten in my 70 years. I lived on 113th st between 107 &109th avenues from 1947-1964 PS 108, then John Adams. Winters ice cream parlor on 111th st & liberty, Greenwood bakery across the street Richmond hill savings 115 th on liberty, Dadsons, Blues, Levensons, A&P, Trunz, St. John’s restaurant, Carlos Pizza, lofts candy shop, Casino movie, Karps on Lefferts, Prusers a few blocks down, Jubilee Furniture, Chinese restaurant 115th liberty, joes candy store 113 liberty, thom mcann, father & son shoes, Vims appliances, woolworths, Five & Ten, Kresges on liberty & block after lefferts blvd, on and on, some of the best days of my life……..nice to go down memory lane, oops, forgot to mention Forest Park, great place to enjoy submarine watching! Good times!

tonydivr1
tonydivr1 on April 7, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Tony again, the picture of the Chevy is a picture of my 58 chev impala. Loved that car, memories attached to it were great! And the bakery next to St. John’s was Carvers not carters and had great spice cake bars! Forget, Alexander’s, friends pizza,

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