Loew's Woodside Theatre

58-02 Roosevelt Avenue,
Woodside, NY 11377

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Loew's Woodside

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Loew’s Woodside Theatre was designed by Herbert J. Krapp, with all of its 2,000 seats on the ground floor and a shallow stage suited only for movies. It first opened on the night of September 27, 1926 with a pre-release screening of MGM’s Buster Keaton comedy, “Battling Butler”. The next day, the Woodside Theatre began its regular policy of a feature movie and shorts, changing three times a week. The programs were first-run for the Woodside section of Queens and the adjacent communities of Sunnyside, Jackson Heights, and Elmhurst. With the arrival of talkies, the Woodside Theatre switched to double features.

For several decades, it was on the third tier of the seven Loew’s theatres in Queens. The Valencia Theatre got the programs first, followed a week later by the Triboro Theatre. Then the Woodside Theatre, plus the Prospect Theatre, Plaza Theatre, Hillside Theatre and Willard Theatre. All of those third-tier theatres were eventually divested by Loew’s as part of the Federal anti-trust action against it.

The Woodside Theatre was the first to go, sold in 1952 to St. Sebastian’s Roman Catholic Church, which had outgrown its original chapel. The church demolished the theatre entrance and lobby to build a Romanesque bell tower, but kept the auditorium intact. In 1998, to celebrate the parish’s 100th anniversary, most of the original auditorium decor was beautifully restored, though probably not in the exact same color scheme. That included not only the domed ceiling, but 40 columns along the side walls that were returned to their original marble with gold leaf capitals.

The site is well worth a visit if you’re in the area. Masses are held at 5 and 6PM on Saturdays and on Sunday mornings, as well as at other times. The phone number is 718-429-4442.

Contributed by Warren G. Harris

Recent comments (view all 19 comments)

TLSLOEWS on December 31, 2009 at 4:46 pm

Good to see that the building is still there as a church.Nice history.

RickB on June 15, 2010 at 5:50 pm

Some June 2010 pictures of the former Loew’s Woodside are near the bottom of this page, as Forgotten New York revisits the neighborhood.

TLSLOEWS on June 16, 2010 at 10:07 am

Nice photo of the LOEWS WOODSIDE/CHURCH.RickB.

Tinseltoes on February 25, 2011 at 9:03 am

Here’s a photo of the shuttered Loew’s Woodside before the church started making changes which included the removal of the marquee and entrance portion of the building: View link

johndereszewski on February 25, 2011 at 11:09 am

Thank you so much TT for resurrecting – an apt religous term – this previously lost link that really establishes the connection of the old movie palace to its current religous use. This really represents one of the most successful re-uses of an old movie house than I am aware of.

Tinseltoes on March 12, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Fifty-nine years ago today, Loew’s Woodside opened its final booking— a week’s engagement of MGM’s B&W “Lone Star,” starring Clark Gable and Ava Gardner, and MGM’s B&W “Calling Bulldog Drummond,” with Walter Pidgeon and Margaret Leighton. The Woodside’s closing would leave Loew’s with five theatres in Queens— the Valencia, Triboro, Hillside, Prospect, and Willard. Those last three were also due to be dropped, but would continue to operate under new managements. The Woodside had already been sold to St. Sebastian’s Church.

PapaCat on June 18, 2012 at 5:00 pm

As a long-time Woodside resident, and if my memory serves me correctly, the last movie that played in this theater was “Mr. Roberts.” After it was converted to a church, most of the kids in the neighborhood switched churches and went to mass here, as it was the first, and only church at that time, that had air-conditioning.

Tinseltoes on June 19, 2012 at 6:48 am

“PapaCat,” you obviously didn’t read my posting preceding yours about Loew’s Woodside closing forever as a cinema in March, 1952. “Mister Roberts” wasn’t released until 1955. If you saw it in Woodside, it must have been at the DeLuxe Theatre. Or at the Sunnyside Theatre, which, despite its name, was actually in Woodside.

rivest266 on September 16, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Announcement http://fultonhistory.com/Newspaper%2015/Brooklyn%20NY%20Daily%20Star/Brooklyn%20NY%20Daily%20Star%201926/Brooklyn%20NY%20Daily%20Star%201926%20-%202726.pdf#xml=http://fultonhistory.com/dtSearch/dtisapi6.dll?cmd=getpdfhits&u=ffffffffca235d3c&DocId=4880464&Index=Z%3a%5cIndex%20I%2dE&HitCount=4&hits=1f+20+2a+54+&SearchForm=C%3a%5cinetpub%5cwwwroot%5cFulton%5fNew%5fform%2ehtml&.pdf

CSWalczak on September 16, 2012 at 7:27 pm

Direct link to the announcement in .pdf form.

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