Center Cinemas

42-17 Queens Boulevard,
Sunnyside, NY 11104

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Center Cinemas

Small neighborhood house has withstood the test of time. Originally opened as the Center Theater in 1940, it was twinned down the middle in the 1980’s. Then one of the sides was cut in half to make it a triplex. Then space was created in the basement for cinemas 4-5-6. The theatres are small but the great Queens Boulevard location gives it plenty of exposure. Once upon a time it played second run double features but now its all first run.

The Center Cinemas was closed in February 2015.

Contributed by RobertR

Recent comments (view all 39 comments)

RobertR on February 5, 2015 at 2:18 pm

I was wondering why they were letting the marquee fall apart and go dark and leave graffiti all over the building, now I know. With this closing the nearby Jackson 3 might be worth reopening.

artpf on March 17, 2015 at 5:17 pm

This movie theatre CLOSED last month. The landlord is looking for someone to buy the air rights to build a big building on top of this, but says teh restaurant next door will remain. The current movie tenant said he was blind sided by his lease not being renewed.

BTW, the capacity listed above says 750 seats and 6 screens. I know for sure teh original configuration was 2013 seats.. It’s hard to believe they’d go from one screen and 2013 seats to 6 and 750. The rent on this property was around $15K a month! Please correct the header above that says it’s open.

robboehm on March 18, 2015 at 11:07 am

I think artpf may be thinking about either of the two large theaters in Sunnyside, the Bliss or the Sunnyside, which were in the 2,000 seating range. According to the 1944 FDYB the capacity of the Center was 600.

dallasmovietheaters on October 17, 2015 at 9:02 am

Opened by the Squire-Queens Circuit in 1940 in a 20,000 square foot plot, the 600-seat theatre had a fantastic 75-year run.

Willburg145 on November 22, 2015 at 11:19 pm

Wow, I was thinking last night that I wanted to pass by and see a movie before….well, too late.

Gabi Gonzalez
Gabi Gonzalez on March 27, 2017 at 1:20 pm

Hello fellow movie theater lovers,

I’m doing a project for my photojournalism class at NYU about closed down independent movie theaters in New York. I hope to gain information about people’s past experiences at these movie theaters, recollections of favorite memories or not so great experiences, perhaps economical insight, contacts with owners/managers, etc. On a larger level, I hope my project is able to show the significance of the role that these establishments play in our city and the importance of keeping them afloat.

If anyone would be willing to answer a few questions via email about your personal memories at the theater, please let me know! It could be as simple as recounting a favorite movie you remember seeing back when it was open. I would greatly appreciate your insight.

You can contact me at:


cmbussmann on March 27, 2017 at 2:42 pm

Walked by here yesterday. Sad to see it just sitting empty. If they weren’t going to repurpose or demolish the building, why void the lease? They could still be showing movies!

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on March 27, 2017 at 8:09 pm

I think this was the theater where I first saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I went in completely unprepared and needless to say it knocked my socks off…!

Willburg145 on August 12, 2017 at 1:47 pm

To those of us who love movie theatres, we don’t care about the business model. That said, I agree with other posters that any owner of a movie theatre can not pass up millions of dollars for their property.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on August 11, 2018 at 11:20 am

A new Regal multiplex is coming to Queens Boulevard on the Sunnyside/Long Island City border, and under the shadow of the #7 elevated subway line. Sketch and details here

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