Hobart Theatre

51-05 31st Avenue,
Woodside, NY 11377

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Fredhadley on July 17, 2015 at 7:57 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.

Contact me at

oxfordblues on February 4, 2014 at 12:50 pm

PS If anyone wants to contact: is my email.

oxfordblues on February 1, 2014 at 3:46 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.

KennethK on April 15, 2012 at 2:19 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.

ED SHEA on April 5, 2011 at 8:54 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!

ED SHEA on April 5, 2011 at 8:50 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

luckypuck on February 23, 2010 at 6:33 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.

luckypuck on February 23, 2010 at 6:24 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.”

robboehm on March 24, 2009 at 10:19 am

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

kencmcintyre on December 15, 2008 at 10:03 am

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.

Patrick Crowley
Patrick Crowley on September 21, 2006 at 5:22 am

It does seem that the majority of evidence suggests that 51-06 is correct, so I’ve updated the address. Should the balance sway towards 51-05, we can always change it back.

Thanks to Ed, Lost Memory, and Warren for putting some serious effort into getting the correct address.

Next time, though, please remember that the right answer can sometimes be fuzzy, and it’s ok to have a difference of opinion about something. ;)

mikemorano on September 20, 2006 at 12:59 pm

We already deciphered the address fella. Your visit to the site gave you an opportunity to inhale some fresh air. It appears that the fresh air had no effect. EdSolero and lostmemory did the difficult work of finding the correct address before you even considered visiting the former Hobart theatre. You enjoy taking the credit fella how about taking the blame for your mistake in the first place.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 20, 2006 at 12:51 pm

Warren… Do you even read the posts that you attack so viciously and – seemingly – with impunity? The whole point that we “Cub Scouts” made in the posts above was to establish a proper address for the Hobart Theater, which, it turns out, is most definitely NOT at 51-05 31st Ave as you seemed to be so vehemently defending. When Lost Memory suggested that the 51-05 address was a city park, you responded with your typical condescension and instigated a good deal of ill-will on this page. The research that Lost and I did (separately but with a common goal) was the first to bear out what your photos and the newspaper clippings you recently posted have verified: that the Hobart was on the south side of 31st Ave at a building whose building lot address is 51-06 31st Avenue on a block bound by 51st and 54th Streets. Why do you persist in being so maddeningly obtuse and offensive? And why do you ridicule anyone else’s efforts to determine some facts here? You yourself have spent plenty of space on this site trying to confirm street addresses and verify that certain theaters never had the word “The” in their names… I mean, really!

Here is an image of the deed for the Hobart building… You can read the property description to verify it discusses the lot between 54th and 51st on the south side of 31st Ave and identifies the “premises being known as 51-06 31st Ave” and you may further note that the “Thirty First Avenue Theater Corp” conveyed the property in 1981. Do I get to graduate to the real Boy Scouts now? Do I get a badge? You know what… don’t even answer. Frankly, starting here and now I’m not going to concern myself further with any of your antagonisms. Except for maybe reporting to Patrick and Ross what a complete ass you are being of late. And if that comment gets me a warning and/or 1 day suspension, I think it would have been well worth it just to make sure for myself that the owners of this site have been made aware of how insidious your comments have become.
And if nothing comes of that? Well, then I guess the lesson for me would be that – just as in other Democracies – justice is not always evenly dispensed on CT.

mikemorano on September 20, 2006 at 11:21 am

The original address that you gave fella was incorrect. Thanks to the Cub Scouts of Cinema Treasures we now have a more accurate address for this former theater. An address that places the building on the correct side of the street. Perhaps you could explain to us Cub Scouts the meaning of ‘descredit’. Could that be a Latin word for wrong?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 20, 2006 at 6:39 am

I think the image in the newspaper article confirms that we have the right building. I guess there was in fact a tunnel entrance under the peak of the facade on 31st which ran back to the auditorium, which was parallel to 31st, but set further back between 51st and 54th Streets. Decorative elements appear to have been removed and/or altered, losing the streamlined art deco look of the original facade. I’ll have to try and photograph the frontage as it exists today for comparison. So… I imagine the lobby ran straight back towards the auditorium allowing folks to enter at the cross aisle between the raised “smoking loge” on the left and the standard orchestra seating on the right. That would mean the screen wall ran at an angle to the outer wall on 51st, which probably created a vestibule for fire exits behind the screen leading to the street.

Fifty-first Street would be the street with the double yellow line on the right side of this view to the south also posted above.

mikemorano on September 20, 2006 at 6:00 am

If the address was 51-05 31st Avenue then the Hobart theatre was razed for the small park shown in the locallive view. Since many of the Google satellite photo’s are at least 4 years of age there could not have been a retail store at 51-05 31st Avenue when this theatre was added. I agree EdSolero that all the evidence leads any rational person to believe the correct address is 51-06 31st Avenue.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 20, 2006 at 4:30 am

Anything-05 would be on the opposite side of 31st Ave. If you look at the first local.live image I posted above, that would be above the triangular Stroppoli Park. If you click and drag the image down, you’ll see that the 54-xx block is actually comprised of a large complex of apartment buildings. If the Hobart had an address on 31st Ave, it was definitely an even numbered one as would be appropriate for the south side of 31st Ave. Lost Memory has alreay found that a company called Thirty First Ave Theater Corp owned the building at 51-06 31st Ave that was later leased to the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company (the parent company of A&P supermarkets) in 1966. We have an image of a building at that address that seems to indicate it was a former movie theater. The theater seems to have closed sometime after 1964 (since I have posted an ad from ‘64) and the building we think was the Hobart looks to be occupied by a supermarket. Further, the block front on 31st Ave we are talking about is bounded by both 51st and 54th Streets, so a location of 31st Avenue and 54th street would be consistent with the 51-06 address.

I’d say we have what the judicial system would recognize as a preponderance of evidence supporting the argument that building identified above in the aerial shot at 51-06 31st Avenue is in fact the former Hobart Theater. Unless it is in one’s nature to be a kne-jerk gainsayer, I would presume that most reasonable people would agree with that assessment.

mikemorano on September 19, 2006 at 11:19 am

EdSolero you are the man of the hour. I am very impressed. 51-05 31st Avenue appears to be a park on the locallive view. Someone must have erred on the initial address.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 19, 2006 at 8:59 am

I believe the address above is incorrect. The odd number 51-05 places the lot on the north side of 31st Ave to the east of 51st Street, which is in fact a wedge-shaped parcel called Strippoli Park.

If you follow this link to local.live you should see an east facing view of the sort of X-shaped intersection of 31st Ave (running from top-middle to lower-left with a bend in the road) and 51st Street (running from top-left to lower-right). Strippoli Park is easily identifiable as the triangular wedge on the left side of 31st. If you scan down 51st Street to the right, I think the former Hobart is the structure with the white facade to the right of the attached building with the green roof and to the left of the apartment building. Open the local.live window to its maximum size and close the welcome pane at the left of the screen to get the best overview.

Here’s a view to the south where it is easier to pick up the theater’s profile. It looks as though there could have been a tunnel entrance under the green roof where the facade peaks on 31st Ave, but unless someone has a definite recollection, I wouldn’t run with that thought. I think the entrance was probably along the angled frontage along 51st Street where there now appears to be a supermarket.

A check on oasisnyc.com shows that the theater building and attached commercial structures are on a single lot with the address 51-06 31st Avenue. Unless there was a tunnel entrance to 31st, the Hobart most likely had an odd numbered street address like 31-06 51st Street. From the oasisnyc site, I was able to link to the building department site and find that among the various C of O’s issued for this big lot is one for a supermarket dated 1966 pursuant to an alteration permit issued in 1965. I think it’s a more than decent bet that this refers to the Hobart structure.

Perhaps Lost can provide further research to lock down the address and any other details pertaining to the theater? I can’t link to the oasisnyc site without screwing up the layout of this page, for some reason, but the block# is 1131 and the lot# is 22.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 19, 2006 at 6:56 am

To get back on track, here are some ads from the early ‘60’s when nabe programs changed every 3 or 4 days (usually Wednesdays and Saturdays):
The Condemned of Altona – LI Star Journal 11/23/63
Battle of the Titans – LI Star Journal 11/25/63
Rampage – LI Star Journal 11/30/63
55 Days at Peking – LI Star Journal 5/18/64

Any idea when the Hobart closed?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 19, 2006 at 4:54 am

Thanks, Ross. Sometimes our passions get the best of us. I’m actually quite pleased to know that some of these comments are being closely monitored, for I feel that there are definite instigators on this site who seem particularly skilled in the art of subtle agitation. While I agree that we should all turn the other cheek (and I shall endeavor to do so in the future), I only hope that those who are guilty of casting first stones are being properly warned by CT management to play nice.

Ross Melnick
Ross Melnick on September 19, 2006 at 1:21 am

While I always love the passion this site generates, can I please ask for a little calm and generosity of spirit? I know there are some long standing issues here, but the needling is really unnecessary.

Remember, we’re not trying to save the world here, but we are trying to save a few theaters. Next time someone says something unpleasant or even rude, please try and ignore it. I know it’s hard, but these posts go on for ever.

Thanks for your passion for these theaters and the site, but let’s keep the discussion civil, if at all possible. Thanks guys.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 18, 2006 at 5:58 pm

Warren… there is absolutely no reason for you to be as snide and obnoxious as you are coming across in your last few posts on this page. Why are you trying to provoke an argument between yourself and Lost Memory? Or am I the only person who thinks this is what’s going on? It seems to me that a reasonably intelligent person such as yourself would understand that when Lost states “NYC shows a park at this address” it is obviously not meant to be taken so literally. A proclamation indeed! You know precisely what Lost meant, but you choose to go on the offensive and needle him instead! By starting this pointless thread with your post of 10:23am on Septmeber 17th, you have now crowded this page with the very sort of off topic gibberish you’ve been railing against on the Ridgewood and Willard pages. Give it a rest, please! If you’ve nothing intelligent or constructive to add to the conversation, why not do us all a favor and log off?!?

mikemorano on September 17, 2006 at 12:35 pm

Perhaps Warren doesn’t understand the question. I will phrase the question very simply. Is a retail store located at 51-05 31st Avenue, Woodside, NY? Could this be another of the numerous inaccurate claims you have been making on Cinema Treasures? Perhaps you made a mistake or never knew the correct answer to begin with. Which is it fella?

mikemorano on September 17, 2006 at 9:28 am

A legitimate inquiry was made. It appears that Warren is back to his usual nastiness and sarcasm when he replies to people. I hope the webmaster is monitoring these posts. Warren has been plagued by a number of inaccuracies and inconsistent claims lately. Perhaps one more inaccuracy is of little consequence to him. A detail such as a building being razed or not is an insignificant issue to him.