Fair Theatre

90-18 Astoria Boulevard,
East Elmhurst, NY 11369

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Fair Theatre (Official)

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Brandt Theaters

Architects: Charles A. Sandblom

Functions: Movies (Adult), Movies (Foreign)

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 718.429.0040

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News About This Theater

Fair Theatre

Not too far from the Shea Stadium (now demolished and Citi Field built on the site in 2009) and LaGuardia Airport on Astoria Boulevard in the East Elmhurst section of Queens. The 599-seat Fair Theatre opened in 1939 and was named after the World Fair which was held on Flushing Meadows.

After years of being a neighborhood theatre, it went over to screening XXX adult porn movies for many years. In around 2006, these were dropped in favour of screening Bollywood film productions. By 2009, Kung Fu type movies were also being screened in the main auditoriu, with adult movies movies screening the four small auditoriums created out of former retails spaces and other spaces in the building.

Contributed by SteveSmith

Recent comments (view all 348 comments)

Alto
Alto on January 5, 2016 at 8:29 am

There have been rumors over the years about this place closing. A brief review of this theatre’s history (and its neighbors') reveals the struggle to stay in business.

In February 2006, when the Polk Theater in Jackson Heights closed for good, the Fair Theatre was the only remaining cinema in Queens offering XXX movies. Despite its “monopoly”, the future did not look bright for adult-oriented cinemas.

Back in April 2007, when Indian movies were being promoted and shown on its big screen, many feared the Fair was abandoning adult movies and going “Bollywood” – just like the Mayfair/Bombay Theater in Fresh Meadows and Earle/Eagle Theater in Jackson Heights had done several years earlier.

Fast forward to 2009, and the Indian movies were quietly discontinued – this may have been partially due to a major movie studio strike in Mumbai which crippled distribution of Indian films worldwide (that year, the Eagle Theater closed for good). The Fair carried on, as it had previously, with Asian martial arts movies and other “grindhouse”-type programming for awhile, then heavily curtailed that as well.

In 2011, the Fair “celebrated” its 40th anniversary as an adult venue by offering complimentary snacks, refreshments and other perks as a “thank you” to its loyal, long-time customers (for many years, the place was also known as the “Adult Fair”).

The Indian movie posters still hang all over the lobby and entrance, there is still signage touting “international films”, and the recently redesigned website still promotes movies not currently being shown, but the Fair’s primary business is still the same as it was since 1971. It remains – despite zoning laws, business regulation, legal actions, harassment from the neighboring evangelical church…not to mention a recent economic recession, adult home video and Internet sites.

Some of us are not particularly thrilled about the Fair as it currently functions and would have preferred a more desirable use for it. However, given the limited options for a theatre of this type, and the fate of its contemporaries, we should at least be happy that the building still exists (with its original features mostly intact). This place is truly a survivor!

ChocolateXxx2016
ChocolateXxx2016 on September 16, 2016 at 10:16 am

Was thinking about checking out the cinema but a little reluctant.Do they still play adult fims there?

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on September 16, 2016 at 4:01 pm

Neely O'Hara says, Art films? Nudies! That’s all they are. Nudies.

theatrelvr
theatrelvr on March 19, 2017 at 12:11 pm

There is a doc on vimeo about this theater called “Been Too Long at the Fair.” It’s free to see the trailer and only a buck to rent. I’m watching it now. Short film, interesting.

robboehm
robboehm on March 19, 2017 at 5:00 pm

Mike- Remember when strippers were “exotics”?

Willburg145
Willburg145 on April 19, 2017 at 1:05 pm

Anywhere know where the box office was located back in the day?

dbronx
dbronx on December 6, 2017 at 9:58 pm

An update is needed here. There are actually five screens. The main auditorium has not been divided and is mostly in its original condition except for the addition of silver tinsel curtains and the stage being enlarged.Double feature last run, kung-foo, and classics are shown here with program changes every Sunday and Thursday. They also show special events like awards shows and sporting events. Most of the seating in the orchestra level was reupholstered about 10 years ago when new carpet was installed. The seating in the balcony was reupholstered as well but looks like it was taken from a much older theater. The next screen is located behind the lobby in a room with seating for seven with a similar program as the main auditorium. The other three screens are in spaces that used to be shoppes to the right of the lobby. One has a small standing room only balcony. The next one has video booths behind the screen, and the last one has video booths in the back. Adult double features are shown in those auditoriums.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on November 15, 2021 at 8:43 am

Comment added under photo of “Bad Seed/Tea and Sympathy” ad

nycman
nycman on December 1, 2021 at 12:10 am

Is there another theatre similar to the Fair in the NYC, Long Island, New Jersey area?

nycman
nycman on December 1, 2021 at 8:11 pm

I do miss the Fair Theatre. Wish I could return.

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