December 14, 2005
FLUSHING, QUEENS, NY — The Board of Standards and Appeals in New York City has, after three years, approved the construction of a seventeen-story tower on the site of the former RKO Keith’s Theatre, according to the New York Daily News. The project will include 200 apartments, a senior citizen center, retail space, and parking. Construction is expected to take about a year and a half.
The 1927 RKO Keith’s grand lobby and foyer area, declared a city landmark in 1984, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, will be restored and fronted by a “curtain of glass” to allow passersby to view the interior. Former theater owner Thomas Huang was fined for bulldozing part of the lobby’s grand staircase. Huang allowed the theater to fall into disrepair.
Councilman John Liu said, “The formerly majestic RKO Keith’s Theatre, which has long symbolized the gateway to northeast Queens, will no longer be a blight and embarrassment to our community”.
Borough President Helen Marshall, speaking in front of the theater said, “Today, we are here to acknowledge all the hard work and meetings…that shaped a mixed-use development that makes sense and benefits such an important location in Queens”.
December 6, 2005
On Sunday, December 4, 2005, The New York Times ran an article by Daniel Maurer about NYC movie palaces that have been converted into churches. Included were color photos of the current interiors of the Hollywood, Regent, Loew’s 175th Street, and Loew’s Valencia, and the entrance to The Rainbow (Brooklyn). The article was published on pages 12 and 13 of the City section, and might be available at the NYT website.
Movie Palaces Become Churches(Reg. Req)
November 3, 2005
NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND — After being on the market for over a year, this former cinema has now re-opened as a tile warehouse. Situated at the junction of St Leonard’s Rd and Towcester Rd, the TIVOLI opened in 1935 and closed in 1960.
After a period as a storage facility for a local haulage firm it became a car accessory store/fitting bay and has now been re-incarnated for the DIY market. The adjacent shop and cafe function as a diner with an American car on the roof!
October 26, 2005
BRATTLEBORO, VT — A fire yesterday in the Latchis Theatre’s main auditorium caused minimal damage (the screen, curtains, and part of the roof were burned) and the auditorium is expected to reopen Friday, according to WCAX-TV Channel 3. The other two screens will continue to operate until then.
Electricians working in the large auditorium may have inadvertantly started the fire when a curtain was set too close to a floodlight. The fire was mostly put out before firefighters arrived on the scene. The theater and Latchis Hotel, with which it shares a building, are the only two Art Deco style buildings in Vermont.
October 20, 2005
LONDON, ENGLAND — This Sunday sees the first 70MM screening at the newly reopened Greenwich Picturehouse in South-East London.
The screening is LAWRENCE OF ARABIA which will be presented in 70MM SUPER-PANAVISION. The projector used is a Philips DP70 which until recently was at the EMPIRE, Leicester Sq. This is one of three DP70’s that were installed on December 16 1959 for the opening of BEN-HUR. Considered to be the Rolls-Royce of projectors this machine (serial number 1352) has now been moved to a new home at the recently reopened Greenwich Picturehouse.
This DP70 was rescued from the Empire by Tony Jones, Creative Director of City Screen who operate the Picturehouse Arts circuit in the UK, to supplement a wide array of 70MM projection equipement already in regular use at its cinemas throughout the UK.
October 13, 2005
BREWSTER, NY — The Southeast Museum will present as part of it’s Lecture Series ‘The History Of Brewster’s Cameo Theatre’ on Saturday November 5th at 3pm.
Professor Michael Jacobs of Berkeley College will present the lecture giving the history of this historical Art Deco theatre that opened in June of 1939 with the showing of “The Young Mr Lincoln”. More that 600 people attended the gala opening.
There will be a discussion of the many films shown at the theatre over the years and plans for the future of this unique movie house.
The Southeast Museum is located at 67 Main Street in the Village of Brewster, NY. Museum hours are Tuesday-Saturday 10am – 4pm. For further information please contact the museum at (845) 279-7500.
October 10, 2005
LAFAYETTE, CA — Upon learning of plans to demolish the recently-closed Park Theater for condos, local developer Greg Woehrle joined forces with a group of local businessmen and purchased the building.
Woehrle intends to preserve the theater’s marquee and facade while considering various plans (apparently not including a movie theater) to revitalize the landmark.
The story, by Meera Pal, can be found on the Contra Costa Times website.
STATEN ISLAND, NY — In last Thursday’s edition, the Staten Island Advance reported that the UA theater in the Travis area was purchased and may be reopened as a gym.
October 4, 2005
NEW YORK, NY — Well, I visited the “Astor Plaza” Theater last night, although of course it is now the Nokia Theatre. (I know it may hurt, but I believe in keeping with the policy of this website, the name may have to be changed on the site, and Unfortunately, “Astor Plaza” may now have to become the secondary name).
Well, last night was the second night of the new theater. (The Nokia Theater opened Saturday Oct 1, 2005 with Social Distortion playing in the new venue. The new marquee was beautiful. My visit there was sort of bittersweet, as it’s a shame that it is no longer the Astor Plaza…but it is attractive. “Social Distortion” was the first band to open up the new Nokia Theatre, and that’s who I went to see. (they are also playing Tuesday and Wed of this week there).
The escalators look similar to the way it always was, but that’s where it ends. Everything is new, and nothing really remains of the old Astor Plaza. At the bottom of the escalators, is a bar area. Once inside the auditorium, it has been completely redone. The seats have been completely ripped out, and the front two tiers now has hardwood floors. This concert was general admission, so those two tiers are standing room, like most of this type of concerts are.
October 3, 2005
MILWAUKEE, WI — It is a pleasure to announce that Milwaukee’s AVALON THEATRE is being reborn, but just as what is not now known. Two days ago, a conference among community of Bay View, the neighborhood in which the Avalon sits, met at the theatre under the invitation of new owner, Lee Barczak, to discuss the future of the building in the minds of its neighbors.
It was related to me that the goal was to get the word out to the locals to get their input, and to that end, half sheets of paper were handed out to be distributed, titled: “THE AVALON THEATRE, Projected Opening — 2007.” Responses were asked for in writing to three questions about the use of the former movie palace, and if one wanted to be notified of future events/developments, one’s name, address, and E-mail address were asked for.
Significant to all of this is the appearance of the theatre’s new web site: http://www.theavalontheatre.com/. Go to its page: “About Us” > “Feedback” and there type in your suggestions for a successful future, as well as any other suggestions you might have. Let us hope this charming atmospheric (stars ‘n’ clouds) theatre will soon sing again, available parking or not.