Loew's Valencia Theatre

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Loew's Valencia Theatre
Loews Valencia sunny jeh.jpg
Full nameTabernacle of Prayer
Former namesLoew's Valencia
Location165-11 Jamaica Avenue, Queens, New York
BuiltJune – December 1928
OpenedJanuary 12, 1929
ArchitectJohn Eberson
General contractorThompson-Starrett Company

The Loew's Valencia Theatre was built in 1929 as one of the Loew's Wonder Theatres and is located at 165-11 Jamaica Avenue, Queens, New York. In 1977, the theatre was donated to The Tabernacle of Prayer for All People. It was designated an exterior landmark May 25, 1999 by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.[1]


In 1926–27, builder Ralph Riccardo acquired the site at Jamaica Ave and Merrick Road, selling half of the site to the Famous Players-Lasky Corporation (Paramount) who then sold the property to Loew’s.[2] Construction started in June 1928 by the Thompson-Starrett Company and was completed in December of that year.[3] It was designed by John Eberson, known for his atmospheric theaters.[4] The interior is adorned in Spanish Colonial and pre-Columbian styles.[5] While the facade is made of brick and terra cotta in the Spanish and Mexican style of the Baroque period.[3] The auditorium walls are adorned with statues, parapets and towers, asymmetrically arranged while the ceiling remains unadorned, like a sky above.[4]

The theatre seats 3,500 people and was the first of the five Loew’s Wonder Theatres, opening on January 12, 1929, with Monte Blue and Raquel Torres in “White Shadows in the South Seas” plus vaudeville on stage.[6][7] Along with the other Wonder Theatres, it was equipped with a Robert Morton ‘Wonder’ organ of 4 manuals and 23 ranks.[5] It quickly became an attraction for people in not only Jamaica, but Queens and the greater Long Island area to watch the movies. In 1977, the building was donated to the Tabernacle of Prayer who restored the theatre.[1] The organ moved to the Balboa Theatre in San Diego, California where it was restored and debuted in 2009.[5][8]


  1. ^ a b Macfarquhar, Neil (1999-05-26). "Former Movie Palace Is Named a Landmark". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
  2. ^ "Riccardo Building Leased 100 Percent" (PDF). Long Island Daily Press. January 11, 1929. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Loew' s Valencia Theater" (PDF). Landmarks Preservation Commission. May 25, 1999. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  4. ^ a b Gray, Christopher (1990-04-15). "STREETSCAPES: Jamaica's Valencia Theater; A Success Story Masks A Landmarks Law Quirk". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
  5. ^ a b c "Loew's Valencia Theatre in Jamaica, NY - Cinema Treasures". cinematreasures.org. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
  6. ^ Durgin, Chester (January 12, 1929). "Reflections on the Screen" (PDF). Long Island Daily Press. p. 14. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  7. ^ "W. Saxton Installed as Head of Valencia" (PDF). Long Island Daily Press. January 12, 1929. p. 1. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  8. ^ "ATOS: Balboa Theatre". www.atos.org. Retrieved 2015-09-06.

Coordinates: 40°42′23″N 73°47′41″W / 40.706268°N 73.794625°W / 40.706268; -73.794625