7. Rego Park had two major historical theaters: The Drake and Trylon
Rego Park had a rich theater history defined by the Drake and Trylon Theaters, both of which had quite a few interesting stories. The Drake Theater opened in 1935 with 585 seats and a single screen. Movie bills were changed twice per week at the theater, and it was owned by Murray Schoen, who also owned Woodside‘s Deluxe Theater. The Drake was perhaps most famous for a 1978 riot in which 500 teenagers rioted during a Led Zeppelin concert movie, in which the sound volume did not properly work; this resulted in heavy interior damage. Another important event in the Drake’s history was the exclusive screening of the movie Caligula for a year straight in the early 1980s. The Drake ultimately closed in 1992, after which it was turned into a catering hall.
The Trylon Theater was opened in 1939 and was named for the monumental structure at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. The theater had orchestra and balcony levels and would show popular films every week before being taken over by Interboro Circuit Inc. It was known as the “Theater of Tomorrow” and had marquee showings of The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind. Nearby shops included the aptly named Trylon Soda & Ice Cream, Trylon Realty, Trylon Tailors, and Trylon Liquors. The Art Deco movie house closed just before 2000, after which it was purchased by the Bukharan community for a cultural center. Many of the historical features were destroyed, including the mosaic ticket booth.