RKO Keith's Theatre

135-35 Northern Boulevard,
Flushing, NY 11354

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NoUserNameUsed on September 8, 2017 at 1:52 am

The RKO Keith’s movie theater was my favorite movie theater, I always looked forward to seeing movies there. And I always looked forward to possibly seeing a ghost in the upper balcony. I know you are going to say I’m a nut, but if you sat in the middle of the largest theater (after they split the theater up to show multiple movies at a time) anyway back to the ghosts, if you sat in the middle about half way up sometimes you would see movement only out of the corner of your eye in the upper right side balcony, but as soon as you turned your head to look they would be gone there was usually more then one person sitting in the balcony it was strange and thought I was seeing things especially since the upper balcony was closed off to the public. I asked a friend to verify what I was seeing and they said that I was crazy but the next that we went to see a movie, they too saw the ghosts as well. So believe it or not that’s one of the reasons that I loved going to the RKO Keith’s movie theater as well as the plush velvet seats ant old world movie theater experience. I MISS THAT WONDERFUL MOVIE THEATER. Michael

DavidZornig on August 30, 2017 at 12:11 am

April 19, 1936 photo added credit Percy Loomis Sperr. RKO Keith’s with roof top sign on the right.

Jeffrey1955 on July 6, 2017 at 6:40 am

Glad to hear it, BobbyS! Now we just need several million dollars…

BobbyS on July 6, 2017 at 5:40 am

I’m with you Jeffrey1955!!

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on June 14, 2017 at 6:14 pm

Ahem, I’m back…

Signed, Loew’s Kings

WilliamMcQuade on June 13, 2017 at 10:24 pm

Last word. If it has not been done in 30 plus years it is not happening. If you want to continue to hold onto it please do.I am moving on. I will see the restored lobby when the building is finished. I want to see the restored Brooklyn Paramount which should be great

Jeffrey1955 on June 13, 2017 at 9:15 pm

Of course the building is unsafe — in its current condition. Of course it would require a huge investment. That doesn’t mean it’s not possible or that there’s nothing left to save. Building a condo/office complex utilizing the air rights rather than demolishing what’s there is not beyond comprehension. Neither is an indoor concert venue in a densely populated area with access to mass transit that currently has none. Pipe dreams simply require someone with imagination to pay for the pipe.

WilliamMcQuade on June 13, 2017 at 7:35 pm

Look at the photo on this page. Are you kidding? I have been in hundreds of theaters over the years as a historian. Many were derelict and some were in better condition than the Keith’s. They all had one thing in common and that is they never reopened . If you think this could ever be brought back as a functioning theater you do indeed believe in pipe dreams.No one in their right mind would sink money into it even if their was interest in it.The building itself may be unsafe . I was in it years ago and you could see that.

Jeffrey1955 on June 13, 2017 at 6:29 pm

Also, “there is nothing left to save” is disproved by all the photos that have been posted here.

BobbyS on June 13, 2017 at 4:49 am

I like pipe dreams..The community may not care for it, but could it not remain as a multiplex in some form. Maybe not fully restored, but in a modern type cinema? Movies are still very popular and it is in a dense area from what I see from the airplane above.

WilliamMcQuade on June 13, 2017 at 4:27 am

The community does not care about it. The politicians also do not give a hoot.More importantly there is nothing left to save. I worked on saving it during the 80’s . Save what you can as trying to restore the theater as it was is a pipe dream.

BobbyS on June 13, 2017 at 3:45 am

And the saga goes on & on……I will believe it when the ball & crane comes in. Still say the apartments should be built above the theater which could be restored. People need more than the tv or personal screens for entertainment!

WilliamMcQuade on May 26, 2017 at 6:43 pm

Whatever is in the auditorium will go down when they demolish it. Doubt anything will be saved

Jeffrey1955 on May 26, 2017 at 4:57 pm

At least the plan to use the landmarked lobby as the entryway makes more sense than the original plan, which was for the lobby to be encased in glass. (Given that the lobby would really only be visible from within, that made no sense at all. What would anybody have seen — the back side of the walls enclosing it?) However, as anyone who has seen all the photos of the surviving auditorium posted here knows, the fact that the rest of the building will be demolished is tragic. “According to the current estimated project schedule, removal of historic material will begin next month and the demolition of the non-landmarked surrounding building will begin in late October.” I assume that the “historic material” to which they refer is limited to the pieces of the lobby that need restoration — not all the artwork and architectural details that remain in the rest of the building.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on May 26, 2017 at 2:52 pm

The Queens Courier of 5/25/17 reported that the removal of “historical material” will begin in June, and the demolition of the non-landmarked surrounding building will start in late October. The new building will start construction in April 2018, and is expected to be completed two years later (2020). Full article and sketch of entrance to new building can be found here: http://qns.com/story/2017/05/17/photos-luxury-condos-built-atop-flushings-landmarked-rko-keiths-theater/

robboehm on May 26, 2017 at 4:07 am

That and the LIRR into Grand Central and the completion of the Second Avenue Subway.

Jeffrey1955 on May 26, 2017 at 1:42 am

I’ve heard that before too! lol

WilliamMcQuade on May 25, 2017 at 11:24 pm

Different developer this time. May get done now

Jeffrey1955 on May 25, 2017 at 10:38 pm

I thought they gave the OK to that plan years ago. The plan is unchanged, and still makes no sense. As for “finally coming to fruition”…have heard that before. Over and over and over again.

WilliamMcQuade on May 25, 2017 at 10:35 pm

Just read that Landmarks Preservation gave OK for plan to build condos above the lobby. It will be glass enclosed and will serve as the entrance to the condos . It is finally coming to fruition . At least that will be saved as the rest of the building is a wreck. Would be nice if they could restore the fountain.

WilliamMcQuade on April 25, 2017 at 4:45 am

I was involved in the attempt to save the Triboro in Astoria and the Keith’s. I was in it years ago and it is beyond saving. It is simply to far gone. In addition,there is no use for it especially in view of the neighborhood. The populace simply does not care about it.

BobbyS on April 25, 2017 at 4:27 am

I am sure that is true but everyone loves movies…Even if they are dubbed or just sub-titled. The fact that it is in a old theater brought back to life would just make it more interesting. People would go if it were open & running and they want to see the picture not just the building as we all at CT would..

Jeffrey1955 on March 21, 2017 at 6:11 pm

The main problem with Flushing has been that the primarily Asian community (it was mostly Korean for a while, but that may have shifted) consists of people who have no memory of the theater or any connection with its heritage. (At this point, that would probably be the case no matter what the ethnic makeup of the area.) There is no community support for preserving or rehabilitating the Keith’s because as far as they know, it’s been a boarded-up, vacant, out-of-context hulk sitting in their midst for as long as anyone can remember. And all the ownership changes and redevelopment plans that have focused on high-end apartments and/or condos have essentially been irrelevant to them as well.

LuisV on March 21, 2017 at 5:51 pm

BobbyS, Crime is not an issue almost anywhere in New York City as crime rates are currently at historic lows. It is the prime reason why there is so much development all over the city and not just in Manhattan.

robboehm on March 21, 2017 at 1:36 pm

The last I heard Flushing was pretty much an Asian population. The last time I was there I couldn’t read the signage because it was in Chinese characters. Despite a lot of product coming from that part of the world very little is ever exhibited in this area.