Going to movies was certainly the most popular form of entertainment for those who grew up in the boroughs, and theaters like the RKO Keith and the Loew's Valencia, with their large screens and enormous auditoriums hold a special place in the hearts of many. Disappointingly, this poll received a very lukewarm response compared to that from the Bronx and Brooklyn. In the days before the multiplexes, before the micro-screens and the thundering Dolby stereo sound, there were the single-screened, second-run local movie houses. For Queensfolk, the movie experience was apparently more of an outing than an escape from the hot and dreary tenements. Thanks to everyone who participated.
The total number of unique, usable responses was 94.
When you lived in Queens, how frequently did you go to the movies?
|Rarely (less than once/month)||13||14%|
|Regularly (once or twice/month)||61||65%|
|Often (once/week or more)||20||21%|
Where was the theater that you usually went to?
|Right around the corner||4||4%|
|In the neighborhood||51||54%|
|A short ride away||27||29%|
|On the other side of Queens||8||9%|
|In another borough||2||2%|
|Out of town||2||2%|
What was the name of the movie theater in Queens that you most frequently attended?
We received a fair number of different responses for this question, so rather than provide counts, I'll just list the theater names. I can't verify that all of these theaters existed or were located in Queens, so forgive me if any don't belong here.
|Cross Bay||Fresh Meadows||Glen Oaks||Haven|
|RKO Alden||RKO Keith||RKO Jamaica||RKO Strand|
What was the name of your favorite Queens movie theater?
Unlike the responses from the other boroughs (The Paradise for the Bronx, and The King for Brooklyn) Queens did not seem to have one significantly preferred theater. More than half of the responses were spread across six theaters, which I'll list here:
Did you typically go to a specific movie theater because a particular movie was playing, or did you simply go and see whatever was playing?
|Went because a particular movie was playing||45||48%|
|Went "just to go" and see whatever was playing||35||37%|
|Sometimes one, sometimes the other||12||13%|
Did you typically find out the schedule and arrive for a complete show, or more often arrive "in the middle"?
|Usually went according to the schedule||61||65%|
|Usually went at whatever time was convenient||31||33%|
What features of your favorite Queens movie theater made you like it so much?
(Multiple answers were allowed, so the sum of percentages will exceed 100.)
|Price of admission||40||43%|
|Ambience and atmosphere||52||55%|
|Variety of movies, shorts, cartoons, etc.||54||57%|
|Proximity to home||76||81%|
|Matrons and Ushers||3||3%|
|Sitting in the balcony||60||64%|
|Comfort of the seats||22||23%|
|Opulence of the interior||32||34%|
Here's a sampling of some "other" favorite attributes:
Do you think local Queens movie theaters were different from local theaters anywhere?
Here's a few reasons that accompanied the "Yes" responses:
And here's a comment that perhaps sums up the "No" responses:
If it were available today, do you think you could sit through two features, coming attractions, shorts, catroons, and a newsreel?
|Responses||Percentage (of responses)|
It seems that Queens moviegoers were punctual, but didn't have a strong neighborhood affiliation with their theaters. They travelled further to get to the movies, and there were fewer theaters than in the Bronx and Brooklyn. This supports the obvious notion of Queens as a suburban area rather than an inner city enclave.
Finally, someone mentioned the fact that in days of yore you could see the movies over again if you wanted to. That's where the phrase "This is where we came in" originated, isn't it? I wonder what would happen now if I hung out after the end of Men In Black and told the guy with the Jimmy Fund can that "I missed the first five minutes and I'm waiting for the next show to start"...
Thanks again for participating. Our next survey topic will be Street Games.