Lefferts Theatre

122-02 Liberty Avenue,
Richmond Hill, NY 11419

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Showing 1 - 25 of 59 comments

tonydivr1
tonydivr1 on April 7, 2014 at 2:06 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,

tonydivr1
tonydivr1 on April 7, 2014 at 1:57 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!

Bway
Bway on May 18, 2009 at 11:57 am

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

View link

LuisV
LuisV on January 8, 2009 at 6:25 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.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 8, 2009 at 4:41 pm

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

LuisV
LuisV on August 23, 2008 at 2:53 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.

LuisV
LuisV on August 23, 2008 at 2:38 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.

colleenmccormack
colleenmccormack on August 21, 2008 at 1:02 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

AntonyRoma
AntonyRoma on November 15, 2007 at 1:54 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

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 12, 2007 at 9:37 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.

sojac24
sojac24 on November 12, 2007 at 12:43 am

Hello louisA…My roots are mainly from South Ozone Park and I lived vic. of 118 st. & 97 ave. for a few years. Along Liberty Ave. I can recall a Trunz meat market a few doors from Lefferts Blvd on the south side of Liberty Ave. I sure do recall the St John’s restaurant. The owner was a greek fellow and he sponsored bowling teams that I bowled with for quite a few years. The restaurant was next door to Carters German bakery. They made the best stolen (sp?)at Christmas time and many in the neighborhood had their thanksgiving turkey cooked there in their big ovens.
(BTW)…The bowlin alley that I hung out at was the Aquaduct Bowling Center on Rockaway Blvd and about 104 st or thereabouts. Ever been there?? Also, I cannot ever remember an organ at the Lefferts theater and I surely do recall the goldfish pond in the Valencia on Jamaica Ave along with the moving clouds and stars on the ceiling.

patricia1
patricia1 on November 11, 2007 at 9:16 pm

hi gene i am from the 40s and 50s idont remember the organ or fish pond i do remember the chinese restaurant i ate there often the owner was married to a white women gene do you remember neries rest. on124st. crones bakery 120st. prusers ice cream 121st. st. johns rest.118-lefferts hugos ice cream next to st. johns karps was the last to close my store was tonys floor covering at 120-11 liberty ave. next to buster brown shoes louisA

LuisV
LuisV on November 11, 2007 at 5:56 pm

I’ve never come across any interior photos of this theater. Does anyone know of any? I noticed that the theater style noted at the banner is “Art Moderne”. I don’t have any recollection of the theater style at all. What made it Art Moderne?

LuisV
LuisV on November 11, 2007 at 5:51 pm

Wow Gene, I don’t remember the gold fish so my guess is they were long gone by the time I started attending there! The only theater that I clearly remember having a goldfish pond/fountain was at Loew’s Valencia. That was a true palace. I remember the Lefferts being kind of a dump though it might have been something back in the 40’s and 50’s when it supposedly had an organ and apparently, a fish pond!

sojac24
sojac24 on November 11, 2007 at 4:22 pm

Well, you young whippersnapper…lol…i’m talking about the 40’s and 50’s. I guess that the chinese restaurant was history when you frequented that area and the goldfish display in the Lefferts lobby was a marble pool on the left side of the lobby, about 8' across with an operating fountain and about a dozen or so large goldfish that were all around 6-8" long of many varities. Really quite a attractive display. With today’s society, the goldfish would probably be floating on their sides with X’s on their eyes.

LuisV
LuisV on November 11, 2007 at 10:36 am

By the way, I don’t remember any goldfish display. I started going to this theater in 1970. Was it a pond? A bowl?

LuisV
LuisV on November 11, 2007 at 10:33 am

The only restaurant that I clearly remember was Karp’s which was more of a fancy diner than a restaurant or at least what I thought was fancy back then. :–) It was between Lefferts and 120th St on the North Side directly opposite Kresge’s where they had the luncheonette counter with the balloons that you popped if you ordered a banana split. You paid the price in the balloon.

sojac24
sojac24 on November 11, 2007 at 1:31 am

louisA…I also recall a rather small lobby and, if memory serves me correctly, there was a good sized gold fish display with a fountain located just above floor level in the same lobby. The ice cream parlor that you mentioned was also a favorite of mine and my family. They made great malteds and ice cream sodas. Do you happen to recall if there was a Chinese restaurant almost directly across the street (actually Liberty Avenue) from the Lefferts. If so, we spent many a visit there for chow mein. I can still picture the waiter that used to take care of us.

patricia1
patricia1 on November 8, 2007 at 7:56 pm

hi luisV as a young boy iwent to the lefferts every saterday to see 2 full length movies the news and a cartoon i dont remember an organ possibly before 1949 lobby was small compared to todays lobbies you are correct about the balcony they had contests the kids could win prizes louisA

LuisV
LuisV on November 6, 2007 at 5:42 pm

Hi Louis, thanks for your comment above. I’m curious, do you remember the Lefferts having an organ? Was I correct in remembering a samll lobby? Also, I remember the balcony being stadium style, like the Ziegfeld rather than overhanging. Are there any other details that you can share? Thanks!

patricia1
patricia1 on October 31, 2007 at 10:08 pm

hi i lived at 120-11 liberty ave one block from the lefferts theater the entrance was on the corner of 122st rite aid the candy counter was in the middle of two isles on the left side as you walk in the matrons name was millie the lobby was about 25 65 the theater took up the whole block except nicks ice cream parlor on the corner of 123st the theaterwas big 1500seats would be close it wasent fancy or elaborate but it was great i lived atand owned tonys floor covering at 120-11 liberty ave from 1942 to 2005 louisA

LuisV
LuisV on June 29, 2007 at 11:31 am

Thanks Warren. You’re right, the theater business is not one of modesty, but when they say “the most beautiful theater on Long Island” and there’s a theater like the Willard just one neighborhood over, well that takes cajones! I will agree that it was the most beautiful theater in Richmond Hill (at least until the RKO Keith’s was built on 118th St. and Myrtle.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on June 29, 2007 at 9:23 am

Every theatre that I know of claimed to be the most beautiful or most magnificent when it first opened. Movie exhibitors were never known for their modesty. And in 1925, the Lefferts was probably beautiful in comparison to prior cinemas in Richmond Hill and Woodhaven, many of which had been converted from stores or whatever. Its only rival for beauty was Loew’s Willard, which was also larger.

LuisV
LuisV on June 29, 2007 at 8:29 am

Thanks LM for checking. I’m not at all disputing your source. I’m just amazed at this theater’s past. I’m sure the organ was long gone by 1970 when I first started attending this theater.

I also remember this theater as having a very small lobby which also dosen’t make much sense for a theater that claims to have had 1,500 seats but I guess the argument could be made that more seats is more revenue so why waste space with a huge lobby.

LuisV
LuisV on June 28, 2007 at 9:41 pm

Lost Memory posted above that a wurlizer was indeed installed in 1925! Unless it is the same source as Warren that is some corroboration. I still can’t imagine that theater with an organ or for that matter having 1,500 seats. I believe the Ziegfeld has just over 1,100 and my memory of The Lefferts is a significantly smaller theater.