Please Help: Historic Ridgewood Theatre Landmark Hearing on March 24th! (Attend & testify or submit support letter)‏

posted by NativeForestHiller on March 18, 2009 at 7:45 am

RIDGEWOOD, QUEENS, NY — Queens' historic Ridgewood Theatre (55-27 Myrtle Ave, Ridgewood, NY) closed its doors one year ago without warning, but patrons & preservationists are now elated that the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission will hold a Public Hearing, which will determine its eligibility as a NYC Individual Landmark. The hearing is set for Tues, March 24, 2009 from 11:25 AM – 12:00 PM at the Municipal Building, 1 Centre St, 9th Floor North, NY, NY 10007, and public testimony will be taken: http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/downloads/pdf/calendar/03_24_09.pdf

HOW YOU CAN HELP: Please attend and provide testimony at the March 24th Public Hearing. Based on the facts below, reference the Ridgewood Theatre’s architectural, cultural, historical significance, request Individual Landmark status, and include any personal sentiment toward the theater, and the need for more Queens landmarks and theater landmarks. Your testimony can be brief. Also, please forward this posting to other contacts, so we can achieve a landmark victory. Power to the people!

If you cannot attend the public hearing, please e-mail your testimony/support letter to the following addresses: Chairman Robert Tierney .gov and Dir. of Research Mary Beth Betts .gov and .gov with a carbon copy to

History: Opening its doors on December 23, 1916 and closing in March 2008, the Ridgewood Theatre was deemed the longest continuously operating first-run neighborhood theater citywide, and potentially throughout the U.S. It staged Vaudeville, silent films, saw the advent of photoplays, the first “100% All-Talking” feature, Lights of New York (1928), and Technicolor. Its original seating capacity was 2,500, but currently contains 5 screens and seats 1,950. Modeled after Times Square’s long-demolished Mark Strand Theatre (the World’s 1st movie palace), the $250,000 gem was designed by America’s foremost theater architect, Thomas Lamb, & built by the Levy Brothers. The 3-story Indiana limestone and terra cotta facade is highly ornate, incorporating unique geometric patterns, medallions, a frieze, pilasters, and proudly boasts Ridgewood Theatre across the top. Interior murals originally depicted the history of Ridgewood.

Economic status/Significance of theaters: Theaters are the “ultimate public institutions” which bridge the generations, as they foster community growth and pride, harbor countless memories, and often exhibit the work of our country’s most skillful architects. Commissioned architects hoped to leave a long-lasting impression of grandeur, confidence, serenity, and comfort; a bold step away from the pressures of society. When sacrificed in the name of progress, their loss is most heartfelt. Local theaters with an unfortunate fate include the Oasis, Parthenon, Irving, and RKO Madison Theatre (retail), but the Ridgewood Theatre can be economically viable if preserved and adaptively reused for theater-related purposes. It would contribute to an up and coming neighborhood and a diverse borough, and would boost jobs.

Ridgewood Theatre “Then & Now” Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8095451@N08/sets/72157606443928732/

Online Petition: http://www.petitiononline.com/RTheatre/petition.html

Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre MySpace Group: www.myspace.com/ridgewoodtheatre

Once again, please testify at the upcoming hearing or send your testimony if you can’t attend. Thank you for your support!

Michael Perlman

Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre, Founder & Chair
4 Boro Preservation Alliance Corp, Queens VP
Rego-Forest Preservation Council, Chair
Queens Preservation Council, Bd. of Dir.
Central Queens Historical Association, Bd of Dir

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