Strand Theatre

22-15 Broadway,
Astoria, NY 11106

Unfavorite 1 person favorited this theater

Showing 25 comments

robboehm
robboehm on November 24, 2013 at 10:24 pm

I wonder how much the theater cost to build in the first place compared to the renovation cost.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 24, 2013 at 1:45 pm

The Strand opened on Wednesday, August 27, 1941, according to the August 29 issue of The Film Daily.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 17, 2013 at 3:16 am

Three photos of the renovated Strand Theatre can be seen on this page of the July, 1964, issue of International Projectionist.

doctorb
doctorb on July 9, 2012 at 11:52 pm

Went there many times as a kid. Used to bowl regularly downstairs as well. In fact, I bowled the day the Jets won the Super Bowl. Didn’t watch the game— I was (and remain) a die-hard Giants fan and root vigorously AGAINST the Jets. It’s ok, though, they haven’t won anything since.

My favorite theatre in Astoria though, was definitely the Olympia. XXX before XXX became cool. Saw my first dirty movie there. My grandfather knew some alta kocker who had an usher’s gig and he invited him in for free one day. Grandpa had never seen porn of any sort and he came home ranting about it to my grandma; I believe he was describing some exotic triple-penetration scene when she finally shut him up. Great moment in film history.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on March 29, 2011 at 9:48 pm

A sign for the bowling alley – a vertical sign near the roofline spelling out “BOWL” – was still in evidence, if no longer illuminated, when I took the photos I posted back on May 25th, 2007. The photos themselves were taken in the summer of 2005.

YMike
YMike on March 29, 2011 at 8:40 pm

I never went to this theatre but I did go to the Bowling Alley that was under it. The Alley was still open in the 1990’s but is now closed.

Rickster
Rickster on February 3, 2009 at 9:23 pm

Interesting string to a movie theater that brings back many great memories! I lived on 28th street from 1967 to 70 and went many times to the Strand as a youngster with my dad. As a kid, I was fascinated with motion pictures and wanted to be a projectionist. Here’s what I recall of the Strand: you would enter the theater from behind the ticket booth outside under marquee. Thru the main doors into the lobby on the right were 2 staircases to the balcony with rest rooms in between. Directly in front was the concession stand with the manager’s office to the extreme right. On the left was a long wall with 2 sets of swinging doors to the main level of the theater. Inside the theater up on the walls were 4 large red oval shaped lights, (2 on each side). They had round black dots in the center, which is actually where the red bulbs were, which reflected a dim red in the circle, but were darkened when the feature was running. It was a very original looking light setup. Seeing it, you knew you were in the Strand. I also recall sitting way up in the balcony just below the 4 small windows for the projectors watching the changeovers take place. The beams would instantly jump from left to right and back at each changeover. The booth also had a large window to the extreme left which was large enough for the projectionist to physically lean his head out of. One Saturday, my dad got permission from the Strand’s manager to take me into the projection booth for a tour. I remember seeing what looked like Peerless lamp houses, and I believe the projectionist said the projectors were Super Simplex machines from when the theater first opened in the 40’s. The movie playing at the time of my tour was “The Good, The Bad And The Ugly” with Clint Eastwood. I also remember seeing Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid and Hang Em High at the Strand. Oh, and my first introduction to watching the 3 Stooges on the big screen happened at the Strand. That was incredible! Rickster

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 19, 2009 at 9:49 am

A recent view of the Strand’s conversion to retail space can be seen midway through this new article about the lengthy Queens street known as Broadway: View link

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on December 4, 2008 at 10:28 pm

Listed at 25-15 Broadway in the 1959 yellow pages. Phone number was YElowstne 2-4499.

cquane
cquane on September 27, 2008 at 7:16 pm

I often went to this theater as a child in the late 50’s and early 60’s. I dont recall that it was ever an Xrated theater. That dubious distinction went to the Olympia at the north end of Steinway. the Strand had “B” movies, often double features, and catered to kids.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 25, 2008 at 12:40 pm

Here are new direct links to images of the marquee on opening night and in 1976:
View link
View link

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 20, 2007 at 9:56 am

This is listed as a twin in the 12/11/1980 edition of the NY Post movie clock. You can find a clipping here with the Strand Twin listed about half way down the first column. The Daily News version of the movie timetable sorted theaters by neighborhood. The films listed are not porn, but a mix of mainstream films and action double features in late runs.

By March of 1982, the theatre is no longer listed in the movie clock of either the Post or the Daily News nor in the Post’s Neighborhood Movie Guide section (where many XXX houses advertised). That is not sufficient evidence to refute that the Strand ever operated as a porno house, but it does tell us the theatre was twinned towards the end and may have been shuttered by 1982.

Larry083
Larry083 on December 20, 2007 at 1:04 am

I don’t remember the Strand turning to XXX films. I remember my last movie there was Cheech and Chongs Next Movie or Peter Sellers Fiendish Plot of Dr Fumanchu. About 10 yrs ago they were using the Strand as a studio to film music videos. My friend worked in the pharmacy and I mett the people.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 25, 2007 at 10:44 am

When the Strand had its grand opening in August, 1941, these were the programs advertised at other cinemas in Astoria: Loew’s Triboro (first-run for Astoria), “Caught in the Draft” & “Adventure in Washington”; Skouras Astoria (first-run for Astoria), “Tom, Dick and Harry” & “Lady Scarface”; Skouras Grand (second-run for Astoria), “Moon Over Miami” & “Highway West”; Skouras Broadway and Skouras Steinway (both second-run for Astoria), “Manpower” & “A Very Young Lady; Skouras Crescent (third-run for Astoria), "Knock Out” & “Back in the Saddle,” Ditmars (fourth-run for Astoria), “Out of the Fog” & “Shining Victory.” Astoria had two more cinemas, the Cameo and Meridan, both fifth-runs for Astoria, but they rarely advertised and I can’t say what was playing there at the time. The Strand joined them as a fifth-run, but gradually rose to a third-run for Astoria as the result of arbitration with film distributors. With this total of ten theatres, I believe that Astoria had more cinemas at that time than any other district in Queens, including Jamaica, which was the borough’s #1 shopping hub.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 25, 2007 at 9:23 am

The Strand first opened under Kleig lights on the night of August 27th, 1941, with two movies that were at the very end of their neighborhood runs in Queens. A report in the next day’s LI Star-Journal said that “All of the theatre’s 1,250 seats were filled and there were at least 100 standees when the show got under way. Several hundred more were turned away…Harry Rose, Broadway comedian, opened the program and put the audience in a happy frame of mind. In a brief talk, Jacques Horn, the Strand’s manager, said that he would welcome criticisms and suggestions. He also introduced the theatre’s owner, Charles Moses, executives from some of the Hollywood studios. and a delegation from the Friars Club…Exiting patrons expressed their approval of the theatre’s seats, a new type made of sponge rubber and designed especially for the Strand. Air-conditioning, indirect lighting, and tasteful furnishings also drew favorable comments."
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/strand.jpg
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/strandopener.jpg

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 10, 2006 at 8:28 pm

Great find, Warren. When I reorganized my photobucket account some time back, I broke all the links posted above. Here are the images again, which I shot back in August of 2005:

Former Strand facade
Strand roofline down Broadway
Side wall and alley from rear
Rear screen wall

In the first photo – as well as in a photo on the page ForgottenFan posted – you can still see the Broadway Bowling Center entance and narrow carved stone facade as well as a vertical “BOWL” sign.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on December 10, 2006 at 7:00 am

In 1976, the Strand was alternating between Greek and Italian programming. To the right of the theatre in this view was the narrow entrance to the Broadway Bowling Center, which may be the reason for the ball carved in stone above it:
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/strand1976.jpg

ForgottenFan
ForgottenFan on December 9, 2006 at 7:20 pm

I grew up a few blocks from this theater but can’t recall a theater being there. My earliest memory of this location is a furniture store. As a kid, I recall running around in the back of the furniture store and finding what looked to be an old theater. The next store I recall being in that location was a Fast Break convenience store, which closed after a year or two and moved across the street. The next store I recall there was the clothing store that is in one of the pics linked to above. Can someone else fill in the gaps as to what other stores were in this location? Does anyone have any pics of this theater from the 1970s or 1980s? I would love to see those. Interestingly, the pharmacy on the corner of Crescent and Broadway is called the Strand Pharmacy:
View link

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 16, 2005 at 9:17 am

I don’t know that the Strand ever really could have been called a “movie palace” davebazooka, but I’m sure there a plenty of little single screen neighborhood theaters hidden behind discount store, drug store and supermarket facades all around the 5 boroughs and on Long Island. Most of them are probably listed here on this site.

bazookadave
bazookadave on December 15, 2005 at 12:45 pm

Thanks for the pics EdSolero, I have seen many similar retail buildings throughout NYC and next time I see one I’ll wonder if it was originally a movie palace.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 7, 2005 at 11:07 am

The site is currently occupied by a discount clothing store. Here are some photos I snapped a couple of weekends back:

View link

This one is from up the block on Broadway looking somewhat downhill at the former theater’s roof line:
View link

These two are taken around the corner and seemed to be the rear of building but I’m not so sure now. You can see where the theater roof ends, but I’m not entirely sure if the brick face we see here is newer construction or conversion of part of the Strand’s former space:
View link

View link

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on March 2, 2005 at 7:22 pm

The admission price on the ticket is $3.50, and the theater name is Strand Twin.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on March 2, 2005 at 7:19 pm

I recently went to the Oceanside, LI theater and I got a ticket stub from this theater, only the address is listed on the ticket as 25-15 Broadway. Small world.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on October 26, 2004 at 11:03 am

The Strand was designed by Charles Sandblom, and may have been the architect’s last commission. He died in 1944 at age 68. During his early tenure with Thomas Lamb, he was involved in the building of three of Broadway’s first movie palaces, the Rialto, Rivoli, and Strand. Sandblom was born in Stockholm, Sweden, studied architecture in Paris, France, and settled in New York City in 1894.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on August 10, 2004 at 10:45 am

A stunning photograph of the Strand’s exterior on opening night in 1941 can be found at www.queenshistory.lagcc.cuny.edu/queenshistory
You need to search for photo 03.008.0001