RKO Keith's Theatre

135-35 Northern Boulevard,
Flushing, NY 11354

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Showing 301 - 325 of 1,234 comments

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on March 28, 2011 at 7:07 am

The only thing undulating at this point is my stomach! Just posted this response to the article:

“ Why is it that every journalist and political leader accepts the developer’s promises to restore and preserve the "landmarked lobby” of the Keith’s when it is obvious that the interior wall on the souther end of the lobby (where much of the gorgeous architectural detail is still in great shape) will have to be removed so that the rest of the lobby will be visible from the street through the proposed glass wall on Northern Blvd?

How do you display the inside of an egg if you don’t crack it open and remove much of the shell? If the entire lobby is landmarked and to be restored, protected and preserved, how can this be allowed? It’s bad enough the once magnificent auditorium has been allowed to decay past the point of consideration for a truly complete restoration of the entire theater, but are we now to comprimise even on the small part of building that actually IS protected by landmark designation? In some dark corner of Hell, Donald Manes is laughing manically. "

I plan on forwarding these sentiments to Helen Marshall, as well.

Jeffrey1955
Jeffrey1955 on March 26, 2011 at 9:56 pm

I guess it won’t be long before this huge Carnival cruise ship will be parked at the end of Main Street, towering over the undulating green waves covering the ruins of the Titanic, and the Helen Marshall Senior Bathroom Flushing Pavilion ready for its first customers.

They should line the sidewalk in front of it with flagpoles flying blowups of $1000 bills and call it Payoff Plaza.

SWCphotography
SWCphotography on March 26, 2011 at 8:27 pm

The BP nowadays is a ceremonial position with little power and a small budget, but enough to spend $103,000 on office furniture in 2008. In 1989 (5 years after they de-landmarked the RKO) the Board of Estimate was declared unconstitutional the following year it was abolished and the Borough President’s power reduced to only making recommendations – (to 3 term). The last BP who had any real power was Donald Manes.

BobbyS
BobbyS on March 26, 2011 at 7:28 am

Remember the ole saying “Money Talks” !!!!!!!!!!!!

SWCphotography
SWCphotography on March 26, 2011 at 7:19 am

She’s on a “give the developer what they want” roll, approving up-zoning in residential Whitestone yesterday.

WilliamMcQuade
WilliamMcQuade on March 25, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Whoopee doo

Her 2 predecessors brought it to the sorry state it is today. Does she want a medal?

gd14lawn
gd14lawn on March 16, 2011 at 2:51 pm

This weekend I attended two of the five performances by Furthur at the Best Buy Theatre. The Keith’s in Flushing would have been a much better venue if it were available. It would have seated more people and parking would have been a breeze compared to parking in Times Square. It also would have been more comfortable than the Best Buy could ever hope to be. The people that attended these shows went despite them being in Times Square, not because of it.

WilliamMcQuade
WilliamMcQuade on March 15, 2011 at 5:27 pm

Aspires is being kind.

SWCphotography
SWCphotography on March 15, 2011 at 8:30 am

Exactly, the community could have a landmark building in a better location instead of a second rate imitation. The similarity is only in the style it aspires to.

WilliamMcQuade
WilliamMcQuade on March 15, 2011 at 3:54 am

To compare Linden Place to the Keiths is beyond ludicrous. I walk by it a lot and it is a joke of a building. This is like comparing a Yugo to a BMW.

SWCphotography
SWCphotography on March 14, 2011 at 10:38 pm

As far as what “the people” would support I was walking down 35th Ave. by Linden Place (2 blocks away from the RKO) when I looked to my right and did a double take: A large RKO sized ornate elaborately decorated building:

it almost looks like the RKO. The description:
The “Linden Place” is a large event space and banquet hall, with a ballroom dance floor, gilt dome ceiling and faux “European ” paintings that decorate the walls. The Dim Sum isn’t so bad and the kitschy decor can be kind of charming. There’s a parking garage and a large variety of rooms, complete with plush Victorian chairs, that can accommodate a number of parties.
So it would seem that “the people” could easily adapt the RKO style. Although I wonder how happy they would be with Patrick Thompson’s mass of studio apartments: lets see $160M/357 at 25K/yr = 17.7 years, yeah sure I’d lend him the money – I think Flushing needs to plan for something just in case this doesn’t happen.

BobbyS
BobbyS on March 14, 2011 at 10:12 pm

I wonder how the Leow’s Kings is doing without any known parking in the area. And they are talking millions for restoration aren’t they?

gd14lawn
gd14lawn on March 14, 2011 at 10:06 pm

I would think the proximity of the 7 train and the LIRR would mitigate the need for parking. Also, I seem to remember some big municipal lots in the area.

WilliamMcQuade
WilliamMcQuade on March 14, 2011 at 9:03 pm

There is unfortunately no use for a big theater like this in Flushing. The people will not support it. For others not in the area you need parking. Liability there. you than need different types of restaurants. Unless you like oriental food with no other choice you are out of luck. You would than have to get funding to restore a theater with 2 strikes already against it.

Do not get me wrong. I would love for the theater to be restored as I there very early on in the bid to get it landmarked. Manes killed another dream & Schulman twisted the knife. Give the theater a decent burial & restore the lobby.

SWCphotography
SWCphotography on March 14, 2011 at 8:46 pm

There have been theaters that have burned to the ground and been restored. Restoration has run the gamut from shell to using the foyer while the auditorium is restored. I was also actually in the RKO auditorium this February and cost items like the balcony truss, hallways stairways and exterior walls are all still intact. A lot of plaster work is also there. It has been a convenient retoric to declare it beyond repair with no survey or photos. The Thompson proposal calls for a whopping $8M to restore the lobby, which is virtually intact except for the railing and fountain, most will go into the “steel cage”. The seating: a lot of the same thing and stage are the easiest to replace. The 17 story tower will cost $160M (assuming the foundation goes as planned) is a lot more of a technical challenge. But the real cost will be with the community, when you won’t be able to park, turn onto Main St. or cross the Flushing Bay bridge for 3 years because Sky View Parc, Flushing Commons, Willets Point and a host of other developments are all scheduled to go up at the same time. In the end you won’t be able to fit on the No. 7 or any bus line either.

WilliamMcQuade
WilliamMcQuade on March 14, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Thank the above plus Mr Huang & over 25 years of neglect.

What a shame as the outcome could have been different if not for Manes & Schulman.It is their legacy.

BobbyS
BobbyS on March 14, 2011 at 8:09 pm

Wow, I had no idea of the damage in the auditorium. I think you are right. It has reached “the point of no return” What a shame!!!!!!
It looks like a bomb went off inside……

WilliamMcQuade
WilliamMcQuade on March 14, 2011 at 6:54 pm

The theater itself is shot. I thought it might be salvageable until I saw picture of it. It is beyond hope. I have been in enough theaters over the years all over the country & can tell you it is too late for the Keiths. We can thank Manes, Schulman & all the democrats on the than city counsel for what happened.

If they can salvage the lobby good luck.

SWCphotography
SWCphotography on March 14, 2011 at 6:18 pm

It was my observation that much of the damage fits into two categories: incurred during the dismantling of the triplex subdivision; or by design: the specific removal of architectural details and fixtures crated and stored in the theater. I have assembled a youtube presentation at:
[url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=117fo2tVDvg[/url]
The RKO is a community cultural asset that should not be compromised for a scheme that proposes to save a portion at the expense of the whole; the theater and lobby are integrally tied together.

SWCphotography
SWCphotography on March 12, 2011 at 11:34 am

I was looking through my shots of the auditorium organ screen:

when I discovered this interesting “Beauty and the Beast” Character:

BobbyS
BobbyS on March 9, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Thanks so much….You cleared alot of questions.

Jeffrey1955
Jeffrey1955 on March 9, 2011 at 10:47 am

“The presence of mildew in the local papers” is evidenced by their continuing use of unchallenged press releases from developers, architects and politicians.

BTW, that RKO.com website is understandably self-aggrandizing, as they make it sound like the current RKO has some connection to intellectual property rights for classic RKO films — which they do not. About all they have are rights to the RKO trademarks. Anyway, as noted, the RKO theater chain was completely divested in 1950 and subsequently became part of RKO-Stanley Warner Theaters, later purchased by Cinerama Corp. Its origins as the B.F. Keith’s and Orpheum chains, let alone its connection to the RKO studio, are but a distant memory.

SWCphotography
SWCphotography on March 9, 2011 at 8:50 am

BTW only the 5,000 gallon water tank remains, not sure when the 10,000 gallon tank went, but you can see it in this 1973 photo. The September 2010 tornado knocked off parts of the remaining tank putting a hole through the roof mentioned before. Demolition by neglect proceeds, now you can read about dampness and perhaps even the presence of mildew in the local papers.

BobbyS
BobbyS on March 9, 2011 at 7:11 am

Thanks all. I thought I heard the RKO name involved in something. I knew the studio was sold to Lucille Ball & Desi in the 50"s but the theaters remained. Like I mentioned before, I toured the Albee Theater in Cinn and it had all that wonderful zig zag white bulb chasers on the marquee as well as the large vertical. It was something to see at night! And that was 1980.