Petition to halt demolition of the RKO Keith’s

posted by NativeForestHiller on January 6, 2006 at 1:58 pm

FLUSHING, NY — Our friend, Thomas Stathes (Tom S.), has organized a petition to save one of the historically & architecturally most important theaters; the RKO Keith’s Theatre in its entirety.

The theater is located at 129-43 Northern Blvd, Flushing, N.Y. The current owner, Boymelgreen, plans to only save the landmarked lobby, & demolish at least 95% of the cherishable theater, for a glass curtain to view the lobby and a glass multi-use high-rise. I urge everyone “Nationwide” to sign the RKO Keith petition, & show your support, since time is of the essence! In addition, please forward the petition link to as many contacts as possible:

We believe it is of utmost importance to: 1.Fully restore & rebuild ALL architectural features which make the RKO Keith a distinguishable famed theater (Facade, auditorium, lobby, etc); 2.Encourage developer Boymelgreen to compromise by building above the RKO Keith, which will leave the base as it was always meant to be. The Keith was already built once, & there is adequate funding, so there’s no reason why it can’t be preserved/restored in its entirety, to respect its significance & grandeur; 3.Let the public be heard, and factor in the concerns of the majority; 4.The Landmarks Preservation Commission should landmark the RKO Keith’s, & work with Boymelgreen closely.

The RKO Keith’s Theatre was erected in 1928 by architect Thomas Lamb. It was a popular vaudeville theater, which launched the careers of numerous Hollywood stars. Its marquee once boasted Shirley Temple, Charles Dickens, & Milton Berle, amongst others. The theater was built in a unique combination of ornate Spanish Baroque and Atmospheric style (one of the earliest of its type). This style conveyed elegance & romance, and was a prime source of craftsmanship, with illusions of starlit skies and moving clouds. During a former Keith’s preservation effort, Milton Berle stated “This is the only Flushing which never went down the drain!” Although the theater was vacated over 2 decades ago, has weathered, and former owner Huang had contributed to its state of decline by illegaly destroying some elements, there still is much hope.

Thomas Stathes is a 16 year-old young man; a dedicated preservationist of Flushing. This is a prime example which depicts how the generation of today values history, and how history bridges the gap from one generation to the next. Let’s all work cooperatively & optimistically to rejuvenate one of the most important Atmospheric theaters, and an anchor of Flushing, which defines its heritage. The clock might be ticking, but if we act ASAP, it’s NOT too late!!!

For more info on the RKO Keith’s: /theaters/834/

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Comments (2)

hollywoodjoe on March 29, 2008 at 5:47 am

Hello…I would like to see that the RKO Keith Movie Theatre at the Northern Boulevard and Main Street intersection in Flushing ,New York stays standing….Is there anyone out there with any info on that…?….And does anyone remember when the British Invasion rock and roll group The Dave Clark Five played the RKO Keiths theatre back in 1964…..?………?……Please keep in touch….thank you and stay young….Hollywood Joe

NativeForestHiller on March 29, 2008 at 6:22 am

RKO Keith’s is now put up for sale once again by developer Boymelgreen. It would be best trying to find an organization who’s faithful for its history to acquire the site, and not abide by the aesthetically displeasing glass curtain facade concept with demolition of a majority of the theater. Any ideas?

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