Bayside Theatre

38-39 Bell Boulevard,
Bayside, NY 11361

Unfavorite 5 people favorited this theater

Showing 1 - 25 of 40 comments

ridethectrain on June 8, 2021 at 11:08 am

Please update, quad on March 21, 1981 and theatre closed October 11, 2001

robboehm on November 5, 2015 at 11:06 am

Uploaded a picture of the Capitol from Forgotten NY

robboehm on February 17, 2012 at 8:40 am

Link doesn’t work.

timefreeze on February 15, 2012 at 7:38 pm

timefreeze on February 15, 2012 at 7:38 pm

I hope this link works. I uploaded a photo of the Capitol Theater, which became the Bayside. According to the marque, it must have been just prior to it’s opening.

fungible on September 11, 2010 at 4:41 am

Here is a link to a photograph of a lobby card (mentioned above) from Irving M. Lesser’s ‘Capitol Theatre’ in Bayside, New York, for the week of Mon. Dec. 12 through Sun. Dec. 18, 1927.

fungible on July 12, 2010 at 3:03 am

Oh, and by the way, during at least the 1950’s, the corner store, where the Washington Mutual bank is now, used to be Miller’s Pharmacy, a wonderful apothecary run by an older gentleman of the same name, the type of drug store that signified its profession by displaying large glass globes filled with colored water, much the same way barbers used to display their profession via barber poles.

fungible on July 12, 2010 at 2:54 am

Just came across this thread.
I grew up in Bayside in the 1950’s and was one of those youngsters who enjoyed watching movies and buying popcorn and Jujubes at the candy counter at Skouras' Bayside Theater.
I recall being frightened out of my whits and having nightmares after seeing ‘The Blob’ there in the late 1950’s.
Back then the theater featured matrons with uniforms and flashlights, and they’d guide one to seats when the theater was crowded and sternly patrol the aisles to tell noisy kids to be quiet.
From about 1964 til 1968 I worked as an office boy at The Bayside Times when the weekly newspaper was owned by Publisher Christine Allison and was located in a storefront on 41st Avenue a few doors off Bell Blvd. next door to a photography studio.
Since I was on Bell Blvd. a lot as a teenager and at crazy hours day and night, I happened one afternoon or evening (not sure) to stop by The Bayside Theater after a show.
Testing the door, I found it to be unlocked and I entered the lobby and theater and saw that it was being given a rudimentary cleaning in preparation for the next performance.
I recall there was a large high-wattage incandescent bulb on a tall pole stationed in one of the aisles to illuminate the theater and to help the clean-up guy see what was on the floors between the seats.
Saying hi, I probably told the clean-up guy that I worked at The Bayside Times and that the movie theater had always been a part of my growing up in Bayside.
It was my good fortune that day/night that the guy offered me a tour backstage.
I recall seeing a 1920’s-era electrical panel board with all sorts of dials and dimmer switches.
I followed the guy down a stairs to an area beneath the stage and saw massive beams underpinning the entire stage area and was told that the theater had once featured vaudeville acts and that elephants had even performed on that stage.
One of the keepsakes from that theater tour was a wonderful old lobby card which I still have to this day, preserved and framed, hanging on the wall in the family summer home.
It is printed on heavy card stock and proudly proclaims ‘Irving M. Lessers’ Capitol Theater'.
A number of films are advertised as being scheduled for that week, in runs lasting just a few days each.
The card isn’t in front of me right now (I live in the Washington DC metro area) so I’m not sure of the exact month and week of the movie schedule displayed on that card, but I think it’s from sometime late in 1927 and displays the films, their showdates, and times.
The movies leading that week’s bill were ‘What Price Glory’ with Victor McLaglen, Edmund Lowe, and Dolores del Rio (release date: November 23, 1926, according to; and ‘Tell It to Sweeney’ with Chester Conklin and George Bancroft (release date: September 24, 1927, according to IMDB).
This lobby card also displays the theater address and phone number (back then phone numbers were just six digits: ‘BAyside XXXX’).
As soon as I get around to it, I’ll post all the exact details on the card along with a photo of the card.
In a comment above posted 9/22/2006 by Warren G. Harris, he states that the opening date for the theater was October 11, 1927.
Given that ‘Tell It to Sweeney’ was released just three weeks earlier on September 24, 1927, and given that this lobby card appears to be of that same period, it means Bayside Theater was indeed running some first-run movie fare, at least in the theater’s opening months.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 29, 2008 at 8:54 pm

Look at that… More than two years after hashing out the address of this theatre with Warren and Lost Memory, the info up top still needs to be updated! Bryan… If you’re out there… We should change the address for this one to 38-39 Bell Boulevard.

DARCYDT on April 8, 2008 at 7:03 am

That should be Columbus Day October 8.

DARCYDT on April 8, 2008 at 7:02 am

This theater closed Sunday October 14, 2001 the week before I got married. On Columbus Day October 7 I went to see the film Tortilla Soup at an afternoon showing. The theater was closed but they said they would reopen at night. They said they would be open the next weekend but were closed Tuesday thru Thursday, I don ’t know about Friday. Last films there were Zoolander (3rd), Don’t Say a Word (3rd), Tortilla Soup (2nd) and Rush Hour 2 which was there 2 weeks but had previously played Loews Bay Terrace nearby.

First film I ever saw at this theater was “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” Memorial Day weekend 1998.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 12, 2007 at 12:35 pm

The address for this theatre is overdue for a correction to 38-39 Bell Blvd – per discussion in various posts above from September of 2006. The address given above as 39-01 would place the theatre on the wrong corner of the 39th Ave/Bell Blvd intersection (where a Citibank branch is now situated).

DixonSteele on October 16, 2007 at 5:17 pm

My sister lived around the corner, but the only movie we saw here together was the horrible JADE.

The theater was in bad shape by that time. RIP Bayside.

jpark377 on March 28, 2007 at 4:13 pm

I was a contractor at this theater in the 90’s, and I sent my invoices to 38-39 Bell Blvd. And yes, they got paid; so the address does seem to need an update.
The old “back stage” area was a blast. You had to cut thru one of the downstairs theaters, and it had an old creeky “weighted” steel fire door on the left side, near the screen that led to this area. The lighting was poor, and the ceiling was incredibly high. You had to watch where you walked, because the roof leaked back there forever, and hence the floor boards were rotting in certain sections. The old vaudeville dressing rooms were still back there, though they were in total shambles, and were at this point, just used for storage (light bulbs, seat parts and the like). Just looking around back there, you could almost imagine how great that place had to be back in it’s glory days. Unfortunately, I only had an opportunity to see the theater after many years of disrepair.

mikemorano on November 4, 2006 at 1:35 pm

You are a sick individual fella as others have noticed. There are members on this website that have never added a theatre. Perhaps you would like them all to leave. There is no connection for the ad you posted. It was a bogus post just to inflate your comment counter as are many of your recent comments. You lack honesty and intergrity. How sad.

mikemorano on November 4, 2006 at 12:49 pm

Jealous of a trouble making twerp like you fella. Get a grip on yourself. I asked a question. ‘What does a drive-in ad have to do with this theatre fella?’. As usual you avoid posting an answer. You are the most disliked person on this website. I hope you enjoy that title. Try to stay on topic from here now on.

mikemorano on November 4, 2006 at 8:10 am

This theatre appears to be an indoor multiplex theatre. What does a drive-in ad have to do with this theatre fella? You posted the same comment in the Westbury Drive-In listing. More duplicate comments. Perhaps you should take your own advice and stay on topic. The Bayside Theatre is Not a drive-in theatre fella.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 26, 2006 at 5:36 pm

I’m glad that’s settled. Again.

mikemorano on September 22, 2006 at 12:52 pm

Another incorrect address given fella? Perhaps in the future you should give the street name only. Allow more knowledgeable people to find the correct address for you.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 22, 2006 at 11:23 am

Yes. In Bayside, Long Island, as it was then commonly called. Interestingly, one of the stated reasons for the community effort to block the retail-multiplex project that had been proposed for the old Capitol/Bayside site was because the East Bayside Homeowners Association liked to think of the area as “Small Town, Long Island, not Bayside, New York City”, according to the 1999 Times article posted above.

In any event, we know there is an ad for the theater which cites an address at 38-39 Bell and a C of O for the conversion to 4-plex at the same address, so this Cub Scout thinks it’s safe to go with that. The only thing we cannot know for sure is what the 1920’s address numbering might have been for this theater when it first opened – back when 39th Ave was known as Ashburton Ave and before the Queens street grid was reorganized into sequentially numbered streets intersecting with sequentially numbered avenues.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 22, 2006 at 8:55 am

And I’m sure that delightful evening transpired at 38-39 Bell Blvd, not 39-01. Bryan, if you’re out there, please check the thread above of September 10th. I believe we have a more accurate address for this theater.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 15, 2006 at 2:34 pm

I came across an interesting article in the Times' archives regarding a 1999 proposal to raze the Bayside Theater and replace it with an 8-screen multiplex and chain store mini-mall. I’m not sure if this link will work at all, or for very long if it does, but give it a try.

To summarize, the plan was hatched by a developer by the name of Heskel Elias who thought that the area would be well served by a quality theater and deserved “better than a theater where you have a poor sound system, no elevators and your legs stick to the floor.” Fair point, but a tasteful re-modeling might have been more agreeable. Even though Elias' plan would have resulted in roughly the same number of seats, many residents did not want the additional traffic a sparkling new multiplex and shopping center might have attracted and small business owners feared that the project might lead to higher rents forcing the mom-and-pop stores on Bell off the boulevard. I presume that the owners of the nearby Bay Terrace Shopping Center and the Loew’s Sixplex threw their weight behind the plan’s opponents.

Residents also took a stab at trying to have the Bayside declared a landmark, but those efforts went for naught. According to the president of the Bayside Historical Society, Geraldine Spinella, many of the theater’s historic elements remained including the original stage and theater flooring “under that awful carpeting”.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 10, 2006 at 6:35 pm

Most importantly… Bryan, please correct the address above to 38-39 Bell Blvd. Thanks.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 10, 2006 at 6:33 pm

As you proceed north, the numbered avenues go down… So, a block north of the Bayside theater would be numbered 37-01, 37-03, etc. Actually, the numbers would be running backwards from high to low (37-39, 37-37, 37-35, etc) were you to travel north, but I hang myself up on a technicality. The Citibank in question is directly opposite the Washington Mutual branch you see in my photos, Warren, just across 39th Ave on the same (east) side of Bell.

As I posted above, the address scheme in Queens has all odd numbered buildings on the east or north sides of their block with even numbers on the south or west sides (depending on the direction the block runs). And they always run low-to-high from either the north or the west. This is because the numbering scheme in Queens has the lowest numbered Avenues, Drives and Roads (which run east-west) starting at the north end of the borough and the lowest numbered Streets, Places and Lanes (which run north-south) staring at the west end. That’s what makes Astoria and LIC so damn confusing… Since they are in the north west corner of Queens where the cross streets and avenues are all in the same sequential neighborhood. Thus, due to the intersection of identically numbered thoroughfares, you can have an address of 30-30 30th Ave and another of 30-30 30th Street roughly right around the corner from each other!

Here endeth the lesson…. again! Isn’t this fun?