RKO Keith's Theatre

135-35 Northern Boulevard,
Flushing, NY 11354

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Showing 326 - 350 of 1,279 comments

LuisV on April 14, 2011 at 2:10 am

I politely disagree! The future of thsi country is in cities and there is no city better eqipped to reap the benefits of urban living than New York. Flushing will be but one part, though an important one. FiDi and downtown Brooklyn are booming. Long Island City and again picking up steam and this news today shows that there is a lot stirring in Flushing. I applaud them and support them instead of just sitting on the sidelines complaining but offering nothing in return. YAY for New York and it’s progress in growing not just its core but all areas of the city.

LuisV on April 14, 2011 at 1:27 am

How it was created is irrelevant. We have to deal with what we have now and Bloomberg is doing the right thing in getting rid of the Auto parts slum and replacing it with housing and retail. As gas prices continue to rise, more and more Americans will want and increasingly need to live in urban areas where they can commute to work using mass transit and business will increasingly want to locate in areas with easy access to mass transit. Flushing can be New York’s 5th downtown (after Midtown, The Financial District, Downtown Brooklyn and Long Island City).

WilliamMcQuade on April 14, 2011 at 1:13 am

Tell old Claire the “cancer” was created by her predecessor the late unlamented Donald Manes.

LuisV on April 14, 2011 at 1:04 am

Nonsense. We are now emerging from the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression and there is no doubt in my mind tha Flushing will become a boomtown and these projects come to fruition. Willets Point WILL happen! That’s what eminent domain is for; to create development for the greater public good. We don’t need or want that 3rd world unpaved road quagmire that currently makes up Willets Point. We DO need more housing, more retail and more recreational and entertainment areas. It’s most unfortunate that the RKO Keiths couldn’t have been fully redeveloped. Instead, we will have the lobby and, in my opinion, it is better than nothing. How I wish we still had the lobby’s of the Triboro or The Roxy or any of the other palaces that met the wrecking ball. I just hope they truly do an honorable and faithful restoration with the $8MM budgeted.

SWCphotography on April 14, 2011 at 12:15 am

The Bridge to Nowhere:
On 3/14/11 Bloomberg unveiled Vision 2020, which outlines plans for the borough’s waterfront for the next decade and beyond. Two weeks later the City’s Willets Point plans hit legal pothole when the judge asked authorities why she shouldn’t reverse her earlier dismissal of lawsuit to block the redevelopment after city skirted restrictions. Though plentiful, the longer-term plans are not yet funded do not have definite dates attached and are often described using the word “explore” ; Flushing River did not receive immediate funding. Meanwhile Shulman continues to push her vision of a pedestrian bridge over the creek as a key component of revitalizing the waterfront. The census showed the population in Flushing as stagnent at best, actually saturated to a maximum for the last 10 years (if they missed some numbers they will not those in the market for luxury condos), developers seem to be banking on population growth, while all these articles bemoan the high density of downtown. That Times article ends with words of caution: “The success of most of these projects depends on large amounts of financing, which is far from certain in this economy”. The RKO will most likely look the same next year and the real cancer is over development.

WilliamMcQuade on April 13, 2011 at 10:51 pm

Anyone want to take a bet as to what the site will look like 1 year from now. I say nothing will happen and it will stay as is.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 10, 2011 at 3:48 am

Sorry… I meant to type the title “Vigilante” not “Vengeance” in that last post.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 10, 2011 at 3:47 am

Title on the top looks like “Spring Break,” another one of those teenage sex romps that I remember all too well from the early ‘80’s. Using screen magnification, also looks like the Keith’s saw fit to add that “Vengeance” was “with F. Williamson” at the very bottom of the side panel. Who knew that Fred Williamson’s name would make a better enticement than Charles Bronson’s for his “10 to Midnight?”

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 9, 2011 at 9:49 pm

I can make out the titles “10 to Midnight” and “Vigilante” on the marquee’s sideboard. That would date this photo to 1983.

BobbyS on April 9, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Great pic’s! I am amazed that the Keith' was still using the block lettering on the marquee that was the standard for movie theaters in the 20’s & 30’s. Here in Chicago, all of our theaters were switched to white milk glass and black or red plastic lettering hung on them. The grandaddy of them all being our famous Chicago Theater marquee which was just taken down two years ago and replaced with the same glorious design and size bulb for bulb. Time had taken its toll on the wiring. They did a beautiful restoration. The vertical was done four years using the same design and size. Breathtaking at night!!

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 9, 2011 at 3:49 am

There have been so many posts here that it is impossible for me to scan them all to see if the following images have been posted before. I don’t believe so, but please forgive the duplication if they have. Found these while trolling through a Facebook group dedicated to memories of places and people in Queens.

This one was labled IS 61 graduation 1972

Rear Orchestra under balcony overhang

I believe that last one is the Keith’s, but someone please correct me if not. As for the graduation picture… I would trust whoever posted the picture to know when their own graduation was, but I know that “Finian’s Rainbow” was released in 1968 so don’t hold me to it.

BobbyS on April 4, 2011 at 7:08 am

Another shell game or did they call it pea game in its day when people would set up stands near theaters maybe RKO Keith’s and try to wow the public and their pocket books while thousands were in line to buy a ticket for a movie/stage show.. Nothing is really new. The shell games get bigger, and the egos of some even bigger!

SWCphotography on April 4, 2011 at 5:01 am

Thank you Layla & BobyS. Looks like the census results aren’t supporting the picture of unbridled and continuous growth that the BP and developers would have you believe.

BobbyS on April 3, 2011 at 6:56 am

SWC, you are the greatest. Also love your photography….

layla2barb on April 2, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Referring to the March 2011 post of the pic of crates, I wonder if they could still be in the building since the theater unlocked. So Sad. Love your photography SWC. Layla

SWCphotography on March 28, 2011 at 8:21 pm

That’s the Parks Dept.,a different ball of wax, with the BP getting their name on a plaque. Shulman acts more like a BP than the current one in her position as president and chief executive officer of the “LDC” (local development corp.) that spawned the “TOD” (transit oriented development). The LDC: “Flushing is experiencing an enormous amount of growth in an exceedingly concentrated area that not only strains the existing mass transportation infrastructure". Their solution: build three 13-story buildings and a two-level parking garage at the LIRR station. So it makes perfect sense to build 357 units at the RKO.

RobertR on March 28, 2011 at 7:11 pm

“The last BP who had any real power was Donald Manes”.

His protégé the equally crooked Claire Shulman sneakily has the 1939 Worlds Fair Amphitheatre torn down saying it was “dangerous”. The building was all brick and would have stood for 1000 more years. There were developers interested in producing shows there but many of the same people who kept shows out of the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium did not want shows done at Flushing Meadows. Ms Schulman is also directly responsible for the condition of the NYS Pavilion next to the Queens Theatre. She has been quoted as saying “we don’t need another museum in MY Park”.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on March 28, 2011 at 3:38 pm

I know that you are quite right, William, but email cost nothing. And if it serves no greater purpose than to get the sentiments off my chest, that’ll just have to do.

WilliamMcQuade on March 28, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Do not waste the postage . She could care less. I thought only the GOP were heartless. Manes could have taught classes in meaness .We had 8000 signatures on petitions for the Triboro & it meant nothing. All that mattered to him was money. All the money in the world could not help him.

It will be laugable what is ultimately saved. Naturally the politicians will pat themselves on the back on the great job they did & they will be beaming with civic pride.I make it a habit never to listen to a politician on a full stomach.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on March 28, 2011 at 3:07 pm

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 on March 27, 2011 at 5:56 am

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 on March 27, 2011 at 4:27 am

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 on March 26, 2011 at 2:28 pm

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

SWCphotography on March 26, 2011 at 2:19 pm

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