Square Theatre

21-20 Newtown Avenue,
Astoria, NY 11102

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Square Theatre

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The Meriden Theatre opened in 1910 and was one of the first movie houses built in Astoria, Queens, which is just across the East River from Manhattan. In the 1920’s, the theatre was renovated and re-named the New Meriden Theatre and eventually the Square Theatre to denote its proximity to Astoria Square, which is at the junction of Newtown Avenue, Astoria Boulevard, and 21st Street.

Never more than a late-run nabe, the Square Theatre closed in the 1950’s and was soon converted into an auto repair garage. Some of the original decor is still visible in the interior.

Contributed by Warren G. Harris

Recent comments (view all 31 comments)

dominiquepc
dominiquepc on February 24, 2006 at 3:10 am

was there ever a theater across Mt Carmel on Newtown?? We called this building the “Institute” and lots of school functions were held there. Building still stands. Any info or memories would be appreciated. Thanks so much

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 22, 2007 at 6:58 am

The Meriden opened even earlier than 1910. This ad appeared in the Daily Star’s issue of August 24th, 1909. The Meriden was apparently Astoria’s first purpose-built cinema, but I’m sure that movies were shown in Astoria before that in other types of venues such as playhouses and beer gardens:
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/meriden82409.jpg

dipy
dipy on December 12, 2009 at 12:06 am

Hi All, I just found this site and I lived at 21-26 Newtown Ave from 1951 – 1972 and went to that theatre all the time as a kid and the most I can remember was it was tiny but the ceilings were high. It was called the Square at that time or the rat hole or roach trap but it was so wonderful to have.

dipy
dipy on December 12, 2009 at 12:06 am

Hi All, I just found this site and I lived at 21-26 Newtown Ave from 1951 – 1972 and went to that theatre all the time as a kid and the most I can remember was it was tiny but the ceilings were high. It was called the Square at that time or the rat hole or roach trap but it was so wonderful to have.

TOMBOCHI
TOMBOCHI on September 7, 2011 at 3:08 pm

The theater had to have been where the auto repair shop is today. Why else would there yet be remnants of the theater’s past in its interior?

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on September 7, 2011 at 6:49 pm

A very interesting thread about a very historic theater …. I look forward to visiting this place when I have the opportunity … Newtown Avenue was, in its day, one of the most important roads in this vicinity, and the Square Theatre was certainly situated in what, at one time, had been the center of a newly developing commuity …. Thanks TOMBOCHI for re-starting this thread … if it had not been for your comment, I would not have known that this theater ever existed … I hope the Site Administrator will add the 11102 zip code to the title, since it would make this page far more accessible … Just a hint.

robboehm
robboehm on September 7, 2011 at 7:54 pm

John, unless you specifically ask them to update they usually don’t do so from comments posted.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on September 8, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Actually, I have found the Site Administrators to be quite responsive to the requests I had previously made in the comment section – particularly with regard to providing a street address, zip code or the name of the architect. I guess it just depends on how you ask them. So, along these lines, Site Administrator, please add the 11102 zip code.

robboehm
robboehm on September 8, 2011 at 10:02 pm

I don’t think they monitor the comments. You actually have to go to “about” in the heading and then “contact” on the next prompt. Then you choose whether it’s an update or site problem.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on September 10, 2011 at 9:33 am

Thanks again site manager for adding the zip code. I was getting a little worried for a second or two, but I knew you would come through …. I think the only areas where you need to obtain more direct contact concern such things as adding or changig a picture at the intro or reconfigurating the google map.

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