…and just look at the insane designwork below: Another fascinating feature – about one fifth of the lobby has been sectioned off by these elaborate columns: Guessing here, but perhaps this was the designated exit?
The Valencia was the first of the five to open on January 12, 1929.
Last week, I was scouting on Jamaica Ave when I noticed a movie-theater-turned-church up the block.
This is pretty common in New York, where are a LOT of once great theaters have been gutted and repurposed, most often into churches, pharmacies and gyms.
What a gloriously stunning facade: The entire front is dripping with swirls of ornamentation, a whimsical blend of Spanish and Mexican baroque design – with an aquatic emphasis? Or was this another case of a beautiful facade masking a lifeless interior?
I tried to go inside, but the church was closed until Sunday. In the meantime, I did a bit of research and was surprised to learn that this was once the Loew’s Valencia movie palace, one of five flagship Wonder Theaters opened by the Loew’s chain in and around New York in the late 1920’s (a time when an elevated subway used to run along Jamaica Ave).
The Valencia is largely considered to be the most elaborate of all his New York theaters.