While the Valencia Movie Palace in Queens is no longer a functioning movie theater, with the Tabernacle of Prayer church now housed inside of the old structure, the space is just as gorgeous as when it opened in the 1920s. It helps that it was landmarked in 1999—at the time, the NY Times explained: "The landmark status, which protects the outside of the building, the former Valencia theater, at 165-11 Jamaica Avenue against alteration without the panel's permission, is actually conferred only on the exterior because the legal tradition separating church and state bars the commission from designating the interior of a house of worship as a landmark. But both the church and the commission expect the interior to be kept largely intact."
As Scouting NY discovered last year, the intact interior is highly ornamental, as it was "designed to showcase opulent, exotic, and larger-than-life landscapes." Bonus: the ceiling resembled a night sky, "and if you look really closely, you can just make out tiny pin-pricks... movie-goers would look up from the film and see a starry night sky overhead."
The theater opened in 1929 as part of the five flagship Wonder theaters from Loews—the others are Brooklyn’s Kings Theater, Manhattan’s 175th Street Theater, the Bronx’s Paradise Theater, and Loew’s Jersey City (which will hopefully be restored). All still stand today, though have taken on new lives.
While you can go inside for services on Sundays, today Scouting points out that they're hosting tours around 11 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday, May 24th). Tours are by appointment only, and you can contact Sister Forbes at 718-657-4210 ext. 20 to get in on the action. The church, which took over the space at 165-11 Jamaica Avenue in 1978, is offering the tour for free, so maybe toss them a donation.