photo: Christina Wilkinson

With the shuttering and razing of the Scobee Diner, the recent closing of the Little Neck Inn and of Patrick’s Pub about ten years ago, Little Neck leaches out a bit more of its character year by year. Even the Staples and the local Subway sandwich shop have closed. The Shaffer Funeral Home, about as immune from downturns as a business can be, remains.

The former Little Neck Theater, 254-18 Northern Blvd., opened January 7, 1929. It was built on Van Nostrand property, one of the longstanding families in Little Neck; the house that formerly stood here had been owned by William Van Nostrand from 1905 to the late 20s was moved one block to Pembroke Avenue and 254th Street, where, altered greatly since 1929, it stands today. The house was built in the mid-1800s; before it was in the Van Nostrand family it had been owned by Capt. Valentine Peters, who ran a general store from part of the property. When Peters owned it the house was called “Old Oaks” as it was surrounded by large oak trees.

The theater closed down in the 1980s after its air conditioning failed. Presently, a variety of businesses lease space there.

A view of the interior can be seen here.


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  1. Danny S. says:

    If the theater opened in 1929, how could “the house that formerly stood here” have been owned by anyone up through 1930?

  2. vintagejames says:

    Something is wrong here. If even Staples throws in the towel, there must be a problem. Area must have changed badly.

  3. Alan Gregg Cohen says:

    Atleast they retained the marquee of the former Little Neck Theater, albeit altered by the names of the businesses that replaced the old theater. Unfortunately one screen theaters (as I assume this was) are a thing of history befelled by economics. It’s nice to see though that atleast a fair portion of the 1920s two story turreted commercial buildings are still extant eastward from the theater to Glenwood Street and the Nassau County line, helping to maintain some semblence of character to this section of Northern Boulevard.

  4. NY2AZ says:

    Weight Watchers was born in the office space near the former theater.

    P.S. Acording to the web site there is still a staples on Northern Blvd near Springfield Blvd.

  5. Don Yuszkiewicz says:

    Enjoyed your article as it brought back a flood or memories. Not necessarily in order:

    we lived above the Little Neck Inn from about 1940 to 1957
    My three brothers and a sister all went to PS94 with my two older brother and me going to Bayside High

    My cousin Laura was a long time waitress at the Little Neck dinner (which became Scobie)

    My dad and uncle owned the bowling alley.

    I was an usher at the theater, a stock boy and both the Virginia Variety and the old A&P

    My dad and uncle both drove the Q12 and 12a for many years (I hated it when my dad was the Q12 school bus driver to Bayside High)

    I remember the Christmas gathering on the hill across from the Little Neck Inn – Santa gave out presents.

    During WWII my dad sold black market foods out of the back of Siderbart’s (sp) dry cleaning truck. Also, the Little Neck Inn had a fishing club and on Sundays at the Inn they would cover the backroom floor with newspaper and dumps pounds and pounds of fish which we free for anyone that needed it.

    We drank at the bar in Sweeny’s (later Patricks Pub) at 15. Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford could be found drinking at the Siboney(sp). We played baseball at Gables field and football at Pirates field.

    Well that’s a little of my Little Neck memories – I could go on and on……(PS I now live in Georgia)
    Again, thanks for the memories

    • Bob Larkin says:

      Don, My family lived in Little Neck at the corner of Thebes Ave. & Zion St. up the street from Johnny Johnson’s on Northern Blvd. (the cooks would give us Cokes at the back door). I too worked at Virginia Variety with Mario & for the owner Dick in 1968-1969. Many,many afternoons were spent playing pool at “The Pool Hall” next to the Little Neck Inn ( spent more time than I should have in the INN too !!) after High School, It had been a ‘Duck Pin’ bowling alley when my Dad took us five when we were little as well as ‘Kiddie City’. Remember shopping at the A&P and Boudinoffs’ with my Ma. I went to St. Anastasia with Whitey Ford’s daughter, she was a classmate. I rode the Q12 thousands of times & spent countless hours in the Movies too ( snuck in alot). Pastries at Dolls (spelling) Bakery & Shackter’s 5&!0 next to the Library. I have my baby shoes from the shoe store there still. My cousins the Keeley’s, Killen’s & Smyth’s lived there too. Thank you so much for rekindling those very fond memories …I could go on…. It was a MAGICAL childhood …

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