Loews Cineplex Cinema 5

183-15 Horace Harding Boulevard,
Fresh Meadows, NY 11365

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Cinema 5 Mural

Opened on December 17, 1982 by an independent who also owned the Arion, Surfside Twin and other local houses, he converted a former Bohack supermarket into Cinema City 5. The theatre located on the service road of the Long Island Expressway featured a huge mural on its front of Hollywood legends like Elizabeth Taylor, Charlie Chaplin and Judy Garland. Instead of one marquee there were five small ones each containing the title of the film in that auditorium.

The theatres themselves were not first rate, being long and narrow but the place was an immediate hit. When Cineplex aquired the Century Meadows and announced plans to gut and multiplex it, the owner panicked and put it up for sale. Cineplex not wanting competition bought it. They now had 13 screens in Fresh Meadows between the two.

A few years later they re-modeled Cinema City and renamed it Cinema 5. The whole place was spruced up and given the Cineplex flair with pink neon and marble floors. The mural though had seen better days and instead of replacing it with a big sign or something flashy they painted it black.

The theater closed in 2004 and was demolished in spring of 2005.

Contributed by Robert R

Recent comments (view all 44 comments)

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on March 14, 2013 at 12:44 pm

While the construction fencing is still there along Horace Harding, one can clearly see that a series of attached townhomes have been built on the site. The homes face the side and back streets of the parcel, making backyards out of the former parking lot. The structures look pretty well complete. I imagine that with the weather warming up around here, they will probably finish off the details and landscaping in the coming weeks and months.

robboehm
robboehm on March 14, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Island in Mastic is another. Seaford was a Department Store.

Scott Neff
Scott Neff on March 18, 2013 at 8:04 pm

I know of many many many supermarkets that became a theatre. Was probably more common before stadium seating though.

Ed Baxter
Ed Baxter on March 28, 2013 at 9:12 pm

I worked at this dump of a place for about a year starting in 1988 thru 1989. While I was there we got the worst of the worst as far as movies were concerned. I remember the movie Beaches played almost the whole time I worked there. I did have a great time while I worked there.

VideoGirl84
VideoGirl84 on July 30, 2015 at 4:37 pm

I worked here from 2002 until 2004, when it closed down. Yep, I saw this theater’s last days!

I got hired when I was only 17 years old, so even though this theater was a dump, I had a great time working here. Unlimited free movies, sneaking your friends in, free popcorn, etc. However, it was pretty clear that Loews didn’t care about the theater and let it go to shit. The outside of building, specifically the part that faced the street/highway, was painted a dark brown and had no signs/ marquees that signified that there was an operating theater inside. I was the box office clerk, and I remember that a large part of my job was dealing with angry customers and giving refunds because our projector equipment was so old that movies regularly broke down or went black during screenings. I’m shocked we even got the little business we had. Even the management was shit; the theater director, Darwin, was such a creep. He would routinely hit on all the teenage girls there, and I was his main target. Still, I have very fond memories of working there and I admit I was a bit sad when it was torn down. I truly think that theater could have been saved if Loews had thrown a little more care & money into it.

jamesbond
jamesbond on July 24, 2017 at 2:13 am

I used to go to this theater when I was a child. They showed a lot of animated features, including many Disney classics.

Of course, what made the place so memorable was the painting outside and I still remember all the celebrities. Naively, I thought it would stay there forever, so I never took any photos. If anyone has color photos of it, that would be great.

Johnfromthe80s
Johnfromthe80s on May 26, 2018 at 5:30 pm

I remember this theater very well, saw a lot of good films here, saw Return of the Jedi here, also Transformers the Movie, Star Trek 2, and Dances with Wolves. I remember back before the theater on the other side was renovated, this one as actually the better of the two, good times. Now two hotels are open at the site.

ridethectrain
ridethectrain on November 1, 2019 at 9:35 pm

Please update and correct, the Cinema City 5 opened on December 17, 1982. In the grand opening ad, it said it had 70MM projection. The theatre only had one screen with Dolby, which was theatre 5. This theatre open 6 months before MovieWorld open. I just posted the grand opening ad.

Fredhadley
Fredhadley on September 21, 2020 at 4:07 pm

I was on the inaugural projection crew at its opening and for about a year. There were no 70 mm, or more accurately 35/70 MM projectors in the theatre, despite what the ad said. The opening attraction in the large house, #5, was “The Verdict.”

Subsequently, I worked across the street at the Fresh Meadows Theatre. When I started in ‘83, it was a side-by-side twin with 35 MM projectors.

After Cineplex took over, it was converted to a sevenplex, with 3 basement screens, 3 second-floor screens, one of which had a 35/70 MM projector and one ground floor “presentation house” with one 35/70 MM Simplex X-L machine and a 35/70 MM Potts Platter system. We ran just two 70 MM releases: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Far and Away in the 21 years I was a projectionist there.

Alas, 70 MM faded out and is brought back occasionally for “tent-pole” actioners.

ridethectrain
ridethectrain on September 21, 2020 at 6:07 pm

Question, I believed only theatre 5 which I understand was the smallest auditorium and had Dolby Stereo. The other 4 screens were MONO. Cineplex Odeon would put checks that all 5 were Dolby.

I went their a few times and I had Dolby in 5. Do you recall who owned the theatre prior to Cineplex Odeon

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