Kew Gardens Cinemas
81-05 Lefferts Boulevard,
18 people favorited this theater
Kew Gardens Cinemas (Official)
Previously operated by: Rugoff & Becker
Architects: Charles A. Sandblom
Styles: Art Deco
Previous Names: Austin Theatre
News About This Theater
Built in 1935, this neighborhood house originally opened as the 600-seat Austin Theatre and has had ‘more faces than Eve’. Spent years as a second run double feature house, until being taken over by Rugoff & Becker by 1943. They were still the operators in 1950. Art films were played for a few years catering to the affluent area and nearby Forest Hills.
For a few years it played mostly move-overs and booking midnight shows every Friday and Saturday night. It became a XXX house and was extremely profitable. The owner even played the midnight shows of regular movies for awhile. It then went all porno, later being taken over by the same owner of the Polk Theatre until it was shut down by the city (a story in itself).
The story has a happy ending:New owners bought the place, stripped it down to its minor Art Deco style origins and made a mini version of the Angelika, reopening as a 5-plex on April 24, 1999. The huge lobby has a concession stand where you can get coffee and fresh cookies. Two theatres were made in the old loge and restroom area on the second floor. Downstairs are three screens, number 3 keeping the original mini stage and arch. The other four auditoriums are tiny, but have top notch sound and projection and rocking chair seats stadium style. On July 20, 2007 a sixth screen was added, formed out of an adjacent dry-cleaners store.
The Kew Gardens Cinemas is a total delight to attend, here’s hoping it survives forever.
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