Not-Too-Sticky Queens Skin-Flick Theatre Still Standing

9018astoriablvd Not Too Sticky Queens Skin Flick  Theatre Still Standing

With retro-sexploitation flick Grindhouse coming to theaters next week, Wednesday’s New York Post offers readers a peep inside Queens’ longstanding Fair Theatre–“the closest thing around here to those 42nd Street grindhouses of yore. At least until gentrification hits East Elmherst.”

Cinema buffs have long marveled that the part-mainstream, part-porno moviehouse, built in 1937, “hasn’t been carved up into multiple screens, converted to retail use or torn down like most of its contemporaries.”

The Polk, in nearby Jackson Heights, designed by the same architect as the Fair, closed last year as a porn house and will reportedly be torn down.

What’s it like inside such a now-rare porno palace? Writer Lou Lumenick pays the $15 admission fee so you don’t have to:

The lobby is incredibly dim, but it’s hard not to make out the large signs that say “Prostitution and Lewdness are Prohibited”….

To my surprise, the floors aren’t sticky–whatever is going on at the Fair, it appears to be notably cleaner than the 42nd Street houses I visited in the early ’80’s, and odor-free.

In a pair of alcoves that appear to have been carved from a closed adjoining store, no one is watching either of a couple of Star Wars movies.

There appears to be more activity in neighboring rooms; one was showing straight porno, the other gay porno. The latter, I am told, is equipped with private booths for patrons’ use.

There are some places, it seems, where even the Post‘s intrepid grindhouse vet won’t boldly go.

- Chris Shott