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Sunnyside Center Cinemas Closes, as It Makes Way For Development


Jan. 5, 2015 By Christian Murray

Sunnyside Center Cinema played its final film last night representing an end of an era.

The theater was in operation since the late 1940s at a time when there were at least three other movie theaters in the neighborhood as well as the Sunnyside Garden Arena, which was once a popular boxing and wrestling venue.

In the 1960s, there was the Bliss Theater on Greenpoint Avenue, which is where the Jehovah’s Witness Hall is located today. Furthermore there was the Sunnyside Theatre, which was located on Roosevelt Avenue and 51st Street (the building has been demolished) and there was also the 43rd Street Theatre, located across the street from the Sunnyside library.

(Source: Forgotten NY)

(Source: Forgotten NY, former Bliss Theater)

The closure of Cinema Cinemas represents a new period for Sunnyside as several older buildings are likely to come down to make way for larger residential buildings. Just two months ago, AB Capstone Development sought permits from the Building Department to demolish the former King Boulevard store—and adjacent stores– on Greenpoint Avenue as it plans to develop the site.

The rezoning of Sunnyside/Woodside in 2011 provided developers with the ability to construct larger buildings on Greenpoint Avenue and Queens Blvd. The rezoning made it economically advantageous for property owners and developers to put up new structures.

Source: Forgotten NY

Source: Forgotten NY (former 43 Street Theater)

Rudy Prashad, the owner of the Center Cinemas, said last night that he was sad to close the theater but he had no choice but to leave.

He said he hopes that John Ciafone, who is developing the site, will stick to his word and discuss reopening the theater when the project is complete.

Prashad said he has until January 10 to move out—from getting his projectors out to taking out all the seats.

While Prashad has three other independent theaters—one in Islip, Baldwin and Kew Gardens—he said the issue is not about how many theaters he has.

“It’s not about whether I have three, four or 10,” Prashad said. “It is about Sunnyside and I love it here.”

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Eric Klein

What the moron who is the Sunnyside post hates me fails to understand, either because he’s too ignorant or because he just does not understand how economics works is that NYC, Sunnyside included, is in the throes of attempting to kill the middle class. It is a city where in 25 years you will have to make close to a million dollars a year just to live here. Speculators are buying out land and property and building and raising prices so that families will eventually be extinct in middle class neighborhoods. Middle class neighborhoods are being pushed further and further out. It is happening every day all around us. It is not progress actually, it is greed. It is being done because people see an opportunity to make money. The only way to deal with it or limit it is to limit development which doesn’t seem to be an option any more because of two republican consecutive republican mayors. It will probably not happen in my lifetime or his but it is coming very soon.


yeah i wa sin manhattan yesterday and wanted to see a movie they wanted $17!!!! outrageous for the hollywood garbage they churn out.

South Side Johnny

Depends on what you see. I would argue that the 2+ hours of Guardians of the Galaxy was worth every penny. It was a great movie, immensely entertaining, and needed to be seen in a QUALITY theater (not like the one that just closed here in Sunnyside.) Be discriminating and don’t spend your money on junk.

Goodbye Center theatre !

I was there the last day that movies were shown……I was also there the first day it opened in the spring of 1942. The first movie that played there was an animated feature called MR. BUGS GOES TO TOWN. This theatre was independent from the Bliss, Sunnyside and 43rd St. theatres which had first run on the films from the major studios….and were part of the Century circuit.
As the Home of Proven Hits, the Center tended to show films in re-release. In the fifties they added foreign movies as well. Time marches on !

Jerry Waters



The Center and the much larger Midway in Forest Hills were the last new cinemas to be built in Queens prior to the end of World War Two. The Midway is still operating as a multiplex, though most of the original building has been replaced.

Michael E.

Those of us who believe in nostalgia may share my memories of P.S.150 school trips to the Center Theater. Two particular films which really rang in my young thoughts were King of Kings (which brought me to tears because of the depiction of man’s inhumanity) and Livingston and Stanley, which provided my first awareness of Spencer Tracey as he played the part of the news reporter who “found” humanitarian Livingston in the African jungle.

Special Ed

I use to work in this theater and it sad to see it go because I use to go and watch movies here when I was young, now that I have a child of my own I would bring her to she enjoyed it and it was nice to share with her even if for just a lil while. :0(

Special Ed

I use to work in this theater and it sad to see it go because I use to go and watch movies here when I was young, now that I have a child of my own I would bring her to she enjoyed it and it was nice to share with her even if for just a lil while.

Julia Asssange

Very sad. Now we are supposed to walk to Astoria and buy an overpriced ticket! Just swell. And I don’t want to hear about “affordable housing”, It is a JOKE.


You don’t have to walk. You can own a car but that would suck just like the parking around here. Can’t win.

Love my bike

I am sad to see it go…. Kind of. But things change. If they didn’t there still would be farm lands here… Not really a bad idea.

Kramden's Delicious Marshall

Luxury condos for the wealthy will always take priority over amenities for the working class.


if you want the same cinema center cinematic experience here’s what you do.

Buy a bootleg
get some bed bugs
piss on your floor the night before

viola! the spirit of Sunnyside Center will be in each and every one of you maniacs fighting to keep this dinosaur of a theater.


This isn’t a popularity contest, I have said the truth and I don’t sugar coat it for you pack of fakes.

Here’s another fact. Most the people who want this terrible theater still open never even go there. They just want their quaint little neighborhood to stay the way it is. I’m the first one to bitch about some new idiotic development in sunnyside to raise rents but I have been complaining about this crappy theater for years.

There was plenty of room to change things, get the theater up to new york standards but it was just perfectly happy milking money from parents looking to save on the next dreamworks film.

and when are you clowns gonna realize there’s no legit shopping done on a boulevard. Sunnyside is a pit stop all that will succeed is food banks and gas, nothing more


Please crawl out of your cave and loosen up a bit. The idea that someone is a ‘fake’ because they might disagree with you is laughable, and most people give up that attitude about the time they end puberty.

As for the theater – Was it an AAA theater? Of course not; but it didn’t need to be. Communities are serviced better by a wide variety of services; if you want every theater everywhere to be an IMAX with 5.1, you’re going to be solely disappointed in this life. You accuse them of milking parents on the occasional dreamworks film (really, if that was their entire business model, they’d have failed quickly). I see them as – in part – having provided a venue where parents can take their kids to see a movie without spending $100, which can be a real hardship for the more economically depressed residents of this neighborhood.

(Also, if you think they were dirty now, you should have seen them before the ‘remodel’ a few years back. Not that it stopped me from going.)

I’ve lived in the area for years, and LOVED that I could go and see movies there that I didn’t want to pay an exorbitant $12-15 for. Or that I could take a 10 minute walk and see a flick on the spur of the moment; many times I’d go, buy a ticket for a flick that didn’t start for an hour or so, and grab a quick burger and beer at PJ Horgan’s next door. The idea that the plot of land there is going to turn into more ‘luxury’ high rise condos, probably continuing the trend of pricing many of the current residents out of the area, is sickening.


Um, it’s not dyslexia.The word you are looking for is “voila” although I’ll admit “viola” is a step up in literacy from “wahla.”

Aoidean NicGabhann

real strong and tough with your comments, so lets here it, who are you or are you afraid to put a face and name to your slander??


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