Strand Theatre

22-15 Broadway,
Astoria, NY 11106

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Showing 1 - 25 of 27 comments

SingleScreen on July 11, 2017 at 1:49 pm

I lived in that neighborhood for years. I used to go to that store all the time, and I had no clue it had once been a movie theater. Wow!

robboehm on June 14, 2017 at 7:29 pm

Strand started life as a single screen.

The Arena was at the corner of Steinway Street and Northern Boulevard.

The Olympia, which started life as the Cameo, was on Steinway diagonally across from the Triboro. It was a lovely, modern space. I suspect the name was changed to the Olympia because of the large Greek population.

gipnyc on June 14, 2017 at 3:05 pm

A few of comments here:

To the question of alignment, the entrance on Broadway and marquee/box office lead into the lobby/concessions. The screen(s) were to the left, parallel to Crescent Street. A turn to the right led to stairs to the bathrooms and balcony, which was sealed off in the final years, perhaps due to safety.

Strand closed as a duplex, but that may have been a later modification, it may have originally been a single screen.

I cannot imagine this theater served XXX in its final years, that would be the Olympia (noted also as Arena) on Steinway St. I remember the Strand closing fairly precipitously, it would be divided into a Gothic Cabinet Craft furniture store, and sound stages. See the video for “Your Love” by Outfield shot inside the Strand stages in 1985. The girl exits and turns up to Broadway towards the front of the theater around minute 3:40 in the video.

joe1751 on March 9, 2016 at 8:28 pm

Thanks for the map suggestion. It all makes sense.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 7, 2016 at 10:55 pm

joe1751: The bartender at the Smokehouse was mistaken. Look at Google’s satellite view of the block and you can see the roof of the auditorium extending toward Crescent Street, to the left of the theater entrance. The Smokehouse is in what appears to be former retail space. Its building’s roof is much lower than the theater’s roof was.

joe1751 on March 7, 2016 at 9:27 pm

So based on Rickstar’s comments, if I understood correctly, the theater itself was to the left after entering the lobby? I recently went to The Strand Smokehouse, located three doors to the right of the theater entrance. The bartender was confident that the restaurant space was the theater location. It is a huge space. Great meats by the way. Any comments? Thanks.

DavidZornig on February 8, 2015 at 12:50 am

Oh, sorry. I have Shorpy on Facebook, and it just popped up.

ed90631 on February 8, 2015 at 12:46 am

You beat me to it Dave.

DavidZornig on February 8, 2015 at 12:33 am

Added to Photos Section a 1949 photo credit John M. Fox, via the Shorpy Photo Archive.

The original link also has a View Full Size feature. Copy & Paste to view link.

robboehm on November 25, 2013 at 3:24 am

I wonder how much the theater cost to build in the first place compared to the renovation cost.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 24, 2013 at 6:45 pm

The Strand opened on Wednesday, August 27, 1941, according to the August 29 issue of The Film Daily.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 17, 2013 at 8:16 am

Three photos of the renovated Strand Theatre can be seen on this page of the July, 1964, issue of International Projectionist.

doctorb on July 10, 2012 at 4:52 am

Went there many times as a kid. Used to bowl regularly downstairs as well. In fact, I bowled the day the Jets won the Super Bowl. Didn’t watch the game— I was (and remain) a die-hard Giants fan and root vigorously AGAINST the Jets. It’s ok, though, they haven’t won anything since.

My favorite theatre in Astoria though, was definitely the Olympia. XXX before XXX became cool. Saw my first dirty movie there. My grandfather knew some alta kocker who had an usher’s gig and he invited him in for free one day. Grandpa had never seen porn of any sort and he came home ranting about it to my grandma; I believe he was describing some exotic triple-penetration scene when she finally shut him up. Great moment in film history.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on March 30, 2011 at 2:48 am

A sign for the bowling alley – a vertical sign near the roofline spelling out “BOWL” – was still in evidence, if no longer illuminated, when I took the photos I posted back on May 25th, 2007. The photos themselves were taken in the summer of 2005.

YMike on March 30, 2011 at 1:40 am

I never went to this theatre but I did go to the Bowling Alley that was under it. The Alley was still open in the 1990’s but is now closed.

Rickster on February 4, 2009 at 2:23 am

Interesting string to a movie theater that brings back many great memories! I lived on 28th street from 1967 to 70 and went many times to the Strand as a youngster with my dad. As a kid, I was fascinated with motion pictures and wanted to be a projectionist. Here’s what I recall of the Strand: you would enter the theater from behind the ticket booth outside under marquee. Thru the main doors into the lobby on the right were 2 staircases to the balcony with rest rooms in between. Directly in front was the concession stand with the manager’s office to the extreme right. On the left was a long wall with 2 sets of swinging doors to the main level of the theater. Inside the theater up on the walls were 4 large red oval shaped lights, (2 on each side). They had round black dots in the center, which is actually where the red bulbs were, which reflected a dim red in the circle, but were darkened when the feature was running. It was a very original looking light setup. Seeing it, you knew you were in the Strand. I also recall sitting way up in the balcony just below the 4 small windows for the projectors watching the changeovers take place. The beams would instantly jump from left to right and back at each changeover. The booth also had a large window to the extreme left which was large enough for the projectionist to physically lean his head out of. One Saturday, my dad got permission from the Strand’s manager to take me into the projection booth for a tour. I remember seeing what looked like Peerless lamp houses, and I believe the projectionist said the projectors were Super Simplex machines from when the theater first opened in the 40’s. The movie playing at the time of my tour was “The Good, The Bad And The Ugly” with Clint Eastwood. I also remember seeing Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid and Hang Em High at the Strand. Oh, and my first introduction to watching the 3 Stooges on the big screen happened at the Strand. That was incredible! Rickster

kencmcintyre on December 5, 2008 at 3:28 am

Listed at 25-15 Broadway in the 1959 yellow pages. Phone number was YElowstne 2-4499.

cquane on September 28, 2008 at 12:16 am

I often went to this theater as a child in the late 50’s and early 60’s. I dont recall that it was ever an Xrated theater. That dubious distinction went to the Olympia at the north end of Steinway. the Strand had “B” movies, often double features, and catered to kids.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 20, 2007 at 2:56 pm

This is listed as a twin in the 12/11/1980 edition of the NY Post movie clock. You can find a clipping here with the Strand Twin listed about half way down the first column. The Daily News version of the movie timetable sorted theaters by neighborhood. The films listed are not porn, but a mix of mainstream films and action double features in late runs.

By March of 1982, the theatre is no longer listed in the movie clock of either the Post or the Daily News nor in the Post’s Neighborhood Movie Guide section (where many XXX houses advertised). That is not sufficient evidence to refute that the Strand ever operated as a porno house, but it does tell us the theatre was twinned towards the end and may have been shuttered by 1982.

Larry083 on December 20, 2007 at 6:04 am

I don’t remember the Strand turning to XXX films. I remember my last movie there was Cheech and Chongs Next Movie or Peter Sellers Fiendish Plot of Dr Fumanchu. About 10 yrs ago they were using the Strand as a studio to film music videos. My friend worked in the pharmacy and I mett the people.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 11, 2006 at 1:28 am

Great find, Warren. When I reorganized my photobucket account some time back, I broke all the links posted above. Here are the images again, which I shot back in August of 2005:

Former Strand facade
Strand roofline down Broadway
Side wall and alley from rear
Rear screen wall

In the first photo – as well as in a photo on the page ForgottenFan posted – you can still see the Broadway Bowling Center entance and narrow carved stone facade as well as a vertical “BOWL” sign.

ForgottenFan on December 10, 2006 at 12:20 am

I grew up a few blocks from this theater but can’t recall a theater being there. My earliest memory of this location is a furniture store. As a kid, I recall running around in the back of the furniture store and finding what looked to be an old theater. The next store I recall being in that location was a Fast Break convenience store, which closed after a year or two and moved across the street. The next store I recall there was the clothing store that is in one of the pics linked to above. Can someone else fill in the gaps as to what other stores were in this location? Does anyone have any pics of this theater from the 1970s or 1980s? I would love to see those. Interestingly, the pharmacy on the corner of Crescent and Broadway is called the Strand Pharmacy:
View link

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 16, 2005 at 2:17 pm

I don’t know that the Strand ever really could have been called a “movie palace” davebazooka, but I’m sure there a plenty of little single screen neighborhood theaters hidden behind discount store, drug store and supermarket facades all around the 5 boroughs and on Long Island. Most of them are probably listed here on this site.

bazookadave on December 15, 2005 at 5:45 pm

Thanks for the pics EdSolero, I have seen many similar retail buildings throughout NYC and next time I see one I’ll wonder if it was originally a movie palace.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 7, 2005 at 4:07 pm

The site is currently occupied by a discount clothing store. Here are some photos I snapped a couple of weekends back:

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This one is from up the block on Broadway looking somewhat downhill at the former theater’s roof line:
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These two are taken around the corner and seemed to be the rear of building but I’m not so sure now. You can see where the theater roof ends, but I’m not entirely sure if the brick face we see here is newer construction or conversion of part of the Strand’s former space:
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