Landmark Ridgewood Theatre needs saviour ASAP

posted by NativeForestHiller on July 27, 2010 at 8:40 am

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\\"+ "\\lc\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\m\\\\\\\\ \\\\"+ "\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"\\\\\\\\il\\\\=t\\\\te\\\\\\\\"+ "\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"+ "\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"+ "\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"+ "\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\em\\\\i><-aa\\\\l/\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"+ "\\\\\\\\\"\\\\\\\\>)\\\\\\\\;\\\\\\\"\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\x\\\\';;=o'(f=r;i<0ki"+ "d(.oeeglhn1t;-+)2i{=+)kxd=.oherctaiA1(++o)ekcda.Ah(r)tkid}=o+eixk(d<.oeegl"+ "hnktd?.oherctakAd(.oeeglhn1t:-');'\\\\)\\\\\\\"e\\\\o=\\\\dk\\\";kode=kode"+ ".split('').reverse().join(''\\\")x;'=;'of(r=i;0 */ , and leads will be shared with the appropriate parties. It has been listed by Massey Knakal for $3.4 million.

RECENT PAST

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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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!

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