Landmark Ridgewood Theatre needs saviour ASAP
RIDGEWOOD, NY — Friends of Ridgewood Theatre is dedicated towards the long-term preservation, restoration, and creative adaptive reuse of the 1916 Ridgewood Theatre (55-27 Myrtle Ave). We are seeking preservation-friendly buyers who will acquire, restore, and creatively& adaptively reuse the Ridgewood Theatre, ideally as a performing arts center with community spaces. It would border 2 boroughs, and serve up & coming Ridgewood, emerging art communities of Bushwick & Williamsburg, as well as create jobs, enhance property values, and preserve the country’s oldest extant first-run theater designed by America’s foremost theater architect Thomas Lamb. Future owners would be eligible for restorative grants & tax credits, and we would help launch fundraisers. Please\\"+
The Ridgewood Theatrer shuttered in March 2008, and was deemed the longest continuously operating first-run theater citywide & potentially countrywide. On Jan 12, 2010, the Ridgewood Theatre facade has been unanimously designated an Individual Landmark by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, after nearly 2 years of advocacy by Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre, Chaired by Queens Preservationist Michael Perlman. Designation Report: http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/downloads/pdf/reports/ridgewoodQ.pdf Now Interior Landmark status is a must-have for one of the few mostly intact vaudeville & movie theaters citywide.
HISTORY & ARCHITECTURAL ASSESSMENT
The Ridgewood Theatre opened its doors on December 23, 1916. Modeled after Times Square’s long-demolished Mark Strand Theatre (the 1st movie palace in the world), the $250,000 Ridgewood Theatre was designed by America’s foremost Thomas Lamb & built by the Levy Brothers in the Classical Revival style. It staged Vaudeville, silent films, saw the advent of photoplays, & the first “100% All-Talking” feature, Lights of New York (1928). Its original seating capacity was 2,500.
The 3-story glazed terra cotta & Indiana limestone facade is highly ornate, incorporating unique geometric patterns, heavily encrusted medallions, a frieze, pilasters, and proudly boasts Ridgewood Theatre across the top. Interior murals originally depicted the history of Ridgewood. In spring 2010, the multi-plexing has been removed, revealing much original ornate Adamesque detail in the auditorium including grand archways, domes, angels, and a grand proscenium, which merits preservation. The lobby is mostly intact with domes featuring angelic muses, vaulted ceilings, and a period staircase. Nearby theaters with an unfortunate fate include the Oasis, Parthenon, Irving, & RKO Madison Theatre (retail), but hopefully the Ridgewood Theatre won’t be on the RIP list.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Join the new Facebook Group for Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre, & click “Invite People To Join” on the left-hand side of the window: http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=138383729516766&ref=ts
Sign & comment on our online petition to designate the lobby and the rediscovered Adamesque auditorium an Interior Landmark, to prevent Thomas Lamb’s legacy from being gutted: http://www.petitiononline.com/RTheatre/petition.html
Circulate this posting to prospective buyers, theater enthusiasts, & preservationists.
A few mins of input can go a long way in preserving this Landmark for current & future generations, so please play a role. Thank you!