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Floral Park has a link to the golden years of cinema

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What was old has been re-newed again. Although much of original Floral Park has been lost to modernization, some of its original features are still survive.

On Jericho Turnpike you can still see the exterior of two old theaters. The Lily Theater at number 212 is a small 600 seat theater built in the early days of film; it is very modest by today’s standards. The upper section retains its original decoration. Today it is a tire store.


The Floral Theater at number 250 is a catering hall today, but at a glance you can tell that it was once an impressive film palace. The exterior has extensive architectural decoration and the name ‘Floral’ is still boldly chiseled on the façade. The interior is reworked on the lower level; however the main ballroom on the top floor retains its movie palace ceiling.


At 29 Tulip Avenue is the original 1929 Masonic Temple, now Centennial Hall. The Floral Park Museum, which is open by appointment for groups of six or more, is located on the second floor. In addition, on the same level as the museum is a former Masonic meeting room. The theater seats there are purported to be salvaged from the Roxy Theater in Manhattan, which was opened in 1927 and demolished in 1960 and was one of the most impressive and famous of the movie palaces ever built in the US. The seats appear to retain their original paint and fabric. On the side of each row of seats is a large, ornate letter ‘R’ embossed into the metal frame.

Comments

  • gina bechtold 4 years ago

    you know it is very sad, in Flushing another beautiful theatre(s)lights were put out RKO on main and No. blvd... it's such a shame, but for years the town and contractor have been battling in court and to no avail, it has to be at least 10 yrs nothing has become of this jewel of a landmark...so sad!

  • Maria Bell 4 years ago

    Great article - thanks for the info! I was recently looking into a theater on 82nd St and Northern Blvd - The Boulevard - I think that's what it was called. Would love to know what happened to it as well

  • John Ingram 4 years ago

    Gina: Steve and I graduated from that RKO (Keith Albee, right?) in 1968! Last time I was in Flushing (or however you say Flushing in Korean), which I think was 2004, it was still there rotting away. It really is a shame.

    Great article, Steve!

  • steve fontakis 4 years ago

    Maria- The Boulevard Theater on Northern Boulevard, 82-83 streets, still exists. The former lobby is a Spanish/Latin restaurant and the theater portion is geared mostly towards plays for the Hispanic community. The upstairs offices are now a health club.
    Gina- The sad demise of the RKO Keith's started in 1986 with the demolition of a major portion of the interior.

  • Sheila Rowan 4 years ago

    Hi Steve, nice article. Loved going to the Floral Park movie. Don't forget to write about the Floral Park/Bellerose farm on Little Neck Parkway. I won the contest naming the small refreshment bldg. I named it "The Barnyard Cafe". Look forward to reading your future articles.

  • Linda Cicalese 4 years ago

    Reading about these beautiful theaters brought back memories of my favorite, the Mayfair in Asbury Park, NJ. Above the screen was a castle parapet, complete with moving clouds. When my grandmother took me to a movie there, I often found myself watching those clouds drift by instead of the movie! A modern multiplex is a sterile box in comparison to these jewels of yesterday. Thanks for the memories, Steve!