Garden Theatre

130-35 Merrick Boulevard,
Springfield Gardens, NY 11434

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This small, late-run theatre in the Springfield Gardens section of Queens first opened in November, 1925, under “indie” ownership, but eventually became part of the Interboro Circuit.

It was demolished in the 1950’s in conjunction with a Long Island Rail Road grade crossing elimination project.

Contributed by Warren G. Harris

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 18, 2006 at 3:38 pm

AliKaplan… Any idea which direction off that intersection the theater stood? There is a large Western Beef (I believe) on the north east corner of the intersection. I plan on getting out to southern Queens and western Nassau soon with my camera to photograph current and former theater buildings and sites – just waiting for some nice weather and a calendar free of plans! I never made it to this theater, but I lived in Laurelton during the ‘70’s and early '80’s and frequented a number of theaters near the Queens/Nassau border. Anyway, I’d like to expand my photographic coverage from my old haunts to include the former theaters of Springfield Gardens, Cambria Heights and Saint Albans.

AliKaplan48
AliKaplan48 on January 18, 2006 at 7:08 pm

Hi Ed…It would be on Merrick just west of Farmers. Just to get it straight, it would be from Farmers in the direction towards Jamaica. I grew up in Springfield Gardens and Rosedale so of course went to all the theaters that were open during the mid to late 50s thru the early 70s when I moved out East to the Smithtown area. Spent many afternoons and Friday nights at the Laurelton but as most, my avorite was the Valenecia!

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 18, 2006 at 8:06 pm

Thanks, Ali… Heading in that direction, is it on the left side or right side of the road?

AliKaplan48
AliKaplan48 on January 18, 2006 at 9:03 pm

If you are driving from Jamaica, it would have been on the left side of the road. I am sure there has been a lot of new developement going on there since I was last in the area. When I grew up there, we had no movie theater in Springfield Gardens. I had been in touch with a girl whose father owned the roller rink but not sure when he sold it. Would love to see some pictures. I do have one of the Laurelton taken in 2000 with the cross visible as it is a church as is the Cambria and Community Theater off the Cross Island. Do you recall Community Gardens?

bobby1361
bobby1361 on March 22, 2006 at 6:48 pm

It is now a Western Beef supermarket but like was said I remember when it was a TSS store in the 70’s and 80’s. I am only 41 and never knew it was once a movie theatre. Does anyone remember when the drive in Burger joint was on the corner of Merrick and Farmers. The name escapes me, but I do believe at one point it used to be a Jack In the Box?

Shelbyben
Shelbyben on January 5, 2008 at 6:15 am

I think that area used to be the Springfield Gardens Roller Rink. I used to skate there as a young girl in the early 50s….

PattyJennings
PattyJennings on June 12, 2008 at 3:18 am

I was recently informed that my grandfather, Frederick Huebner, once owned the Garden Theater and later bought the Electra Theater in Brooklyn and also built the Dyker Theater in Brooklyn. Thanks for all the info you’ve provided.

AliKaplan48
AliKaplan48 on June 13, 2008 at 3:20 pm

There was a skating rink in this same building in the early 50s. I was in contact wit the girl whose father operated the place some time ago. After that it became TSS and whatever after that I am not sure till it became Western Beef. There has been an enrance on the Farmers Boulevard side, I recall a parking lot in the rear and an entrance to TSS on Farmers Boulevard with th main entrance being on Merrick Boulevard, that would explain two addresses. As for the hamberger place across the street, if I recall it was a Burger and Shake when it first opened. They had built another on Sunrise Highway ust before the county line and the Sunrise Drive-in. I believe it opened either in late 50s or early 60s, but those are the years I remember it being there and know it turned into something else later on. Are here any graduaed from PS 52 out there?

Ed Miller
Ed Miller on May 27, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Here’s the final word on the Garden, folks. My parents both grew up in Springfield Gardens in the 20s and 30s, and my father worked as an usher at the Garden Theater, which was known as “The Itch”. The building can’t be found because it was torn down in the late 50s, when the LIRR tracks were raised. It was just north of the grade crossing at Farmers Blvd. when the trackes were at street level. The huge building at Farmers and Merrick was indeed a roller rink, and NEVER a theater. It was converted into a TSS in the 50s, and the building still stands, now operated as a meat market.

robboehm
robboehm on May 9, 2011 at 2:21 am

Always found it interesting that the Garden wasn’t Prudential since everything in the surrounding towns was: Cambria (Cambria Heights), St. Albans, Hollis, Island (Hollis), Bellaire, Laurelton, Carlton (Jamaica). Then when you got to Queens Village the majority of the theatres to the East in Nassau County were Century. Prudential then had Suffolk pretty much tied up.

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