Center Cinemas

42-17 Queens Boulevard,
Sunnyside, NY 11104

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Center Cinemas

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Small neighborhood house has withstood the test of time. Originally 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.

Contributed by RobertR

Recent comments (view all 30 comments)

Tinseltoes on July 30, 2012 at 9:49 am

In the ribbon address at the top of the listing, there is no need for “Sunnyside” followed by “Sunny Side.” It should end at “Sunnyside.” The name of the neighborhood has always been one word, not two.

Tinseltoes on July 31, 2012 at 8:34 am

“Nearby theatres” should include the Bliss, Sunnyside, and Loew’s Woodside. The Monroe is across the East River in Manhattan, and the Rainbow in Brooklyn.

cmbussmann on September 18, 2012 at 12:01 pm

If you miss the charms of the classic grindhouse aesthetic of the 70’s & 80’s, this place is for you: dim, cramped interior with sticky floors and broken seats. Projection that continually blurs with an image-ratio that rarely fits the screen (though this may have been solved with them recently going digital). Bathrooms that are straight out of a horror movie and concessions I would never venture to eat. Add in an indifferent staff, sagging marquee, cheap ticket prices, and a quarrelsome audience and you get a recipe for a fun night out — provided you don’t care too much about what you’re seeing there. For films like 28 Weeks Later, Taken, & Resident Evil: Extinction this place is perfect. Seeing Quentin Tarantino & Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse double-feature was heaven — I felt like I would walk right out of the theater and into another era. I’ve missed this place since switching from Queens to Brooklyn.

bpmckenna on September 22, 2012 at 1:10 pm

ENDANGERED! The building the theater is housed in is up for sale:

All part of an extremely ill advised rezoning (upzoning) of Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside where the theater is located because various political figures wanted to preserve the residential side streets (but not the small-scale commercial district with many charms of its own).

Tinseltoes on February 14, 2013 at 6:55 am

Activated link to the previous posting: sunnysidepost

LuisV on February 15, 2013 at 8:24 am

Sunnyside Center Cinemas is likely to be demolished in the coming years, since the Queens Boulevard-facing plot of land on which it sits was sold to an Astoria developer back in December for $6.675 million. The Sunnyside Post reports that the developer hasn’t yet decided what to do with the site—which includes a Dime Savings Bank, set to close this summer, and Irish pub P.J. Horgan’s, which has been operating for 40 years and has a lease till 2018—but guesses that it’s likely to be razed in the name of a presumably more lucrative residential project.

fred1 on February 15, 2013 at 11:21 am

Always a pleasure to see the Center cinemas while passing it from the 7 train

zoetmb on March 2, 2014 at 1:08 pm

@LuisV: Well, it’s a year later and it’s still there, but almost all theaters are endangered, because from a real-estate perspective, theaters are a lousy business. They’re in use only part of the day, they take up a lot of space, there’s slow turnover, and in the early weeks of a movie (and today there are only early weeks to a movie), the distributor takes 90% of the money. Digital projection or not, theaters have to do a better job than what people can obtain at home, otherwise they’re not going to get any business. NYC has lost 80 screens in the last 13 years.

There are rumors that the Cinema 1,2,3 and the Union Square 14 are next on the chopping block, although those rumors have been around for a while.

mhvbear on March 2, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Doubt very much the Union Square would close. It is probably the only theater complex on the East side that does any significant business.

RobertR on July 14, 2014 at 9:16 am

Any theatre no matter how much business it does is in danger if the landlord has someone willing to pay more then a theatre can. The Pacific-City Cinemas people DROOL over the money to be made for Cinema 1-2-3 it will happen as soon as the right offer comes along.

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