Steinway Theatre

31-08 Steinway Street,
Astoria, NY 11103

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Steinway Theatre

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Except for two concert halls in New York City, the Steinway Theatre may be the only theatre to ever carry the name of the legendary piano manufacturer, though it had no corporate connection. Located in the Astoria section of Queens, the theatre was the first one to be built on Astoria’s main shopping road, which was named in honor of the Steinway piano factory at its north end on the East River. Built around 1914-15, the Steinway Theatre was designed by the architectural firm of E.C. Horn & Sons for plays and vaudeville, and had about 900 seats.

By the time that the much larger Astoria Theatre and Triboro Theatre were built on Steinway Street, the Steinway Theatre was relegated to playing late-run double features for the rest of its theatrical life, which lasted into the 1950’s, when the interior was converted into retail space. The current tenant, Dr. Jay’s Urban Clothing, has covered the beautiful white marble facade with a modern metallic shield.

Contributed by Warren G. Harris

Recent comments (view all 41 comments)

deleted user
[Deleted] on September 6, 2009 at 9:03 pm

The building is still sitting vacant with a “For Rent” sign displayed. The “false front” used by the last tenant remains. Whether any of the original facade exists behind it is unknown. I’ll try contacting the realtor for information.

robboehm on September 7, 2009 at 12:56 am

I was a teenager when the closed theatre was converted to retail space – I believe it was Lerner’s. I tried to see what remained of the old theatre through the construction. If my recollection is correct the entire facade of the building was removed. Also, in later years I remember standing on Steinway Street and looking back at the building reinforcing my theory that there was a whole new facade. But that was 50 years ago.

Tinseltoes on June 30, 2010 at 9:59 pm

Construction is currently going on inside, with scaffolding over the sidewalk and a hoist on the roof. Work permits on display suggest that the interior is being gutted and divided into space for at least two stores.

robboehm on July 1, 2010 at 1:46 am

Tinseltoes can you tell if any of the old theatre facade is still there? I think it was removed when Lerner’s moved in some 50 years ago.

Tinseltoes on July 1, 2010 at 2:10 pm

The “modernistic” facade used as recently as Dr. Jays remains unchanged. I don’t know if the original facade is hidden behind it, or was destroyed. Some of the work that I saw being done yesterday was by Jerrrick Associates, which proved to be a waterproofing firm when I checked it out on the internet.

johndereszewski on February 14, 2011 at 3:35 am

Well, my wife and I passed by the old Steinway yesterday evening and found that the “modernistic” facade has been removed and that the old white marble frontage now appears to have burst from its “iron mask”. While a remnant of the “Dr. Jays” logo remains etched in the surface, this can probably be corrected – or, perhaps one could say, exorcized.

Since it was dark when we visited the site, I can’t definitively verify this development. What I CAN say is that my wife, who was not previously aware of the site’s specific history, made an unprompted comment that “this looks like an old theater” when she saw it. This comment could not have been made while the awful Dr. Jays facade defiled the exterior.

I hope that other commentators will visit the site, take pictures and either verify or contradict my observations. If I am correct here, this facade could very easily support the development of a classy business, such as a bank or a good restaurant. In any event, let’s take a close look of this very promising recent development.

Tinseltoes on February 27, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Sorry to disappoint, John, but I visited the site this afternoon, and the frontage looks nearly the way it did when Dr. Jays left. The only difference that I noticed since my post above of 6/30/10 is that the sidewalk entrance now has Mac Hudson Group of Long Island City listed as doing the renovation job. According to NYC permits posted, the work is all Alterations Type 2 and 3, which classify as “minor.” Two permits have already passed their expiration dates, but another is valid until May 31st. I suspect that once refurbished, the site will return to retail as soon as a tenant can be found.

Tinseltoes on June 10, 2011 at 5:30 pm

This is finally close to re-opening as part of the Conway chain of clothing/housewares stores. Front facade will remain the same except for the new Conway sign. Since previous tenants removed all interior traces of the theatre, I don’t expect any surprises in the new Conway.

Tinseltoes on June 19, 2011 at 9:16 pm

Conway has opened its doors, with its name in large pink letters above the entrance on the facade used by Dr. Jay. Three sales floors, including the basement. False ceilings and modern lighting fixtures throughout.

Tinseltoes on July 26, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Within a year or two, S&S was taken over by William Fox, which made the Steinway part of the Fox circuit. When Fox went bankrupt early in the Depression, the Steinway became part of Skouras Theatres, one of the new circuits created to take over the Fox holdings in the Greater New York area. The Steinway remained under Skouras management until its final closure as a cinema.

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