Hobart Theatre

51-05 31st Avenue,
Woodside, NY 11377

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Poor quality 1941 NYC Tax photo:

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The Hobart Theatre was part of a group of small, modern theatres that were built near the end of the Depression in Queens neighborhoods that had new houses or apartment developments.

The Hobart Theatre was opened in 1938, on the borderline between Astoria and Woodside sections of Queens, an area that already had numerous theatres, so it had to settle for never being more than a late-run house. Closed in 1963/1964, the building was converted to retail use.

Contributed by Warren G. Harris

Recent comments (view all 26 comments)

kencmcintyre on December 15, 2008 at 12:03 pm

Here is an item from Boxoffice magazine, January 1963:

NEW YORK-Arthur Marks, assistant manager of the Plaza Theater, Manhattan art house playing “David and Lisa”, has leased the 600-seat Hobart Theater, Woodside, L.I. (sic) starting January 6. The theater will continue a policy of playing art and foreign films.

robboehm on March 24, 2009 at 12:19 pm

Not being from Queens I never visited the theatre . But my cousin did all the time and that is where he contracted ringworm.

luckypuck on February 23, 2010 at 8:24 pm

I went to PS 151 just down the block from the Hobart Theater. I lived on 48th St between Northern Blvd and Broadway. To get to the theater I went past my high school, Wm. C. Bryant HS (“Out the door in ‘54”), then past 151.
Cardboard posters were in almost every store window in the area with logos and stars names and movie titles and dates adorning them, along with the Hobart Theater’s summertime motto, “Beat the heat in a Hobart seat” because it was one of the first to have air-conditioning. We tough kids used to parody the motto as, “Beat your meat in a Hobart seat.”

luckypuck on February 23, 2010 at 8:33 pm

I remember when “Stagecoach” was playing at the Hobart and my mother MADE me take my two much younger brothers with me (Oh, the humiliation!) I needed another nickle for admission, so I had to agree. Unfortunately, both my brothers got so antsy and noisy the theater’s matron (white dress, gloves, cap and a flashlight) made me take them out. I didn’t get to see the end of “Stagecoach” until several years later.
We use to see 2 features, a action serial, one or sometimes 2 shorts, Movietone News and a couple of cartoons. All for 15 cents admission.

ED SHEA on April 5, 2011 at 10:50 am

jack the giant killer and dr. no
wow, the movie-going experience of my young life!
i am seven years-old and my dear sister, mary shea took me to see this double-feature and i was stunned by the colors that were dripping off the screen~gorgeous hues of red,purple and blue,ect.. when the flying witc attacked the viking ship,i remember the daylight sky turning black as night, not like the reddish color seen on the

laser disk or dvd printsas

ED SHEA on April 5, 2011 at 10:54 am

cont…laser disc and dvd prints and i rode that fear out by grasping onto the arms of the seat and dug my heels into the floor!
i know now that this was a ripp-off of ray harryhausen’s “7th voyage of sinbad with some of the same lead actors and inferior stop-motion animation models but it holds a special place in my heart to this day!
another great day at the hobart theatre!

KennethK on April 15, 2012 at 4:19 am

I lived in the Woodside Houses 1954-1986. Hobart was a great little theatre. Frances ran the candy counter and a mother/daughter duo were the matrons. I remember the rest rooms upstairs had a big wide hallway. Films I remember there were ‘The Last Voyage’ and ‘Peyton Place.’ People walked up the avenue to the pizza place opposite Bryant High School…juke box was cool. They even gave out free dishes! There was a luncheonette on one corner and a bar on the other..also a jewerly store and vegetable store. Charlotte Pollock dance studio shared a space on an upper level of the bldg…a dentist too.

oxfordblues on February 1, 2014 at 5:46 pm

I guess I probably know more about this than anyone. I lived in the Hobart Theatre Building. My father is the dentist referred to in one of the blogs. The building had two entrances, one: 31-12 54th Street and the other was a back door ( usually locked) on thirty first avenue. The tenants upstairs were: My father Dr. Irwin M Yarry, Dr. Wile, MD, A dental lab and the dance studio. On the ground floor was a hardware store, a barbershop, and a dry cleaner. On the corner was a restaurant, referred to as “ the greeks”, then the movie entrance and a liquor store. This was as late as 1958. I worked as an usher after school, had free movie tickets all my childhood. It was a beautiful theatre. The building now looks terrible. Our apartment was three bedrooms, one bath, my fathers office which had a separate door next to the apartment. Would love to hear from anyone in the old neighborhood. I went to PS 151, Junior HS 10 and Bryant H.S.

oxfordblues on February 4, 2014 at 2:50 pm

PS If anyone wants to contact: is my email.

Fredhadley on July 17, 2015 at 9:57 am

I worked at the Hobart from 1963-1964, its closing year. I used to go-fer coffee for the staff from the White Tower on Broadway. I started hanging out in the projection booth with the operators, Eddie Pearle, Nat Brody, Irwin “Smitty” Smith and others. The booth had 2 Motiograph 35MM projectors with Brenkert Enarc carbon arc lamphouses and RCA soundheads. I would run the show while the operators snoozed.

The address is definitely 51-06 as it was on the even side of the street and 60 feet from 51st St. (In Queens the number after the dash times 10 equals the approximate distance from the cross street. (So called “Philadelphia” system and, for my money the best of all the boroughs for ease of locating addresses). Note that Bryant HS, on the same side of the avenue as the Hobart is at 48-10 31Ave.

I recently looked at Wikipedia’s year by year list of movies in order to pinpoint when the Hobart closed. It would be 1964 as I remember Goldfinger played there. None of the 1965 movies were shown, so it closed in late 1964. At the time it was managed by Stanley Borushik, the step-son of mini-chain owner Philip Steinberg. Before Stanley took over, Steinberg’s right hand man, Eddie Bigelper(?), “Mr. B” ran it. Steinberg owned several other dumps, the Olympia on Steinway Street and a few in Brooklyn, including the Boro Park. I ran into Steinberg at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY at Frank Zappa Concer in 1970. Apparently he had a piece of that.

Steinberg would come every night to pick up the day’s receipts after box-office closing at 10 PM. He would park his big white Caddy right in front of the marquee (illegally).

The entrance was definitely a “tunnel” consisting of an outer lobby, inner lobby with concession and stairway to the 2nd floor toilets. As noted by a previous poster, the entrance was to the crosswalk separately the stadium-style balcony from the orchestra. There were just under 600 seats, a threshhold set by the Projectionist Union, Local 306, which I joined in 1969 after turning 21 and passing a fairly stringent NYC Dept. of Water Supply, Gas and Electricity written and 3-part practical exam in the sub-basement of the Treasury Building in which a mock booth with one working projector was set up.

After the Hobart closed, it was gutted so that the sloping floor could be repoured as a flat one in preparation for the Associated Supermarket that took over the space. Its entrance was on 51st St. Where the two exit doors that straddled the screen was. After watching a matinee, some kids would crash out through theses doors which would flood the theatre with ugly daylight until the matron closed it.

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