Thursday, May 18, 2006

Polk Theatre closes: Last of a dying breed

I wouldn't necessarily say that I am among those that miss the old seedy, dirty, druggy, burlesque version of 42nd Street in Manhattan but this week the Village Voice has an article on the closing of a Queens institution: The Polk Theatre.

The place, which must have been a sight to behold in its Art Deco splendor back in the '30's and '40's, had since become a porn house and fallen into squalor and disrepair.

Those of us who live in the neighborhood might have wanted the place to be renovated and afforded the landmark status that its architecture deserves. Unfortunately, it appears the new owners will probably tear it down to make way for some apartment buildings (a fate that another former Jackson Heights porn house, the Earle, escaped when it became a first-run Indian movie house and was re-named The Eagle, even though it too is in dire need of renovations).

For those who have never been to New York City (or Queens for that matter), the money quote from this week's Voice article is this:
In fact, by early 2006, [the Polk] was one of only three big theaters left where people could watch porn on the big screen in the city.
For a city that is known for its sometimes ribald and racy image, particularly in movies that are set in New York but shot elsewhere ("Phone Booth," et al.), this might come as a surprise to some.

The times, they have'a'changed!

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