RKO Keith's Theatre

135-35 Northern Boulevard,
Flushing, NY 11354

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Showing 26 - 50 of 1,224 comments

WilliamMcQuade
WilliamMcQuade on July 13, 2014 at 4:10 pm

The theater really belonged to the people of Queens like the Loews Triboro in Astoria did. The bottom line is that the makeup of the Flushing population here matters not. The theater will never reopen as a theater as there is to much damage to it & there is no urgent need for a large theater there and the community is ambivilant.

There would have been interest when it originally closed years after the Triboro could have served the purpose as a Queens Performing Arts Center. Having one in Flushing as opposed to Flushing Meadows park would have been ideal but that ship sailed a long time ago.

JamesD
JamesD on July 13, 2014 at 3:50 pm

No racism intended William. Don’t read into things that aren’t there. All I am trying to say is that the small group of people who are nostalgic about the Keith’s and would like it restored should ask the current residents of Flushing what they would like to see happen to the building. After all, they are the ones who would benefit from it the most.

robboehm
robboehm on July 13, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Like RKO had a presence in Queens and Long Island to protect. There was the Alden in Jamaica and the Albee in Brooklyn. Without checking I’m sure the Keith’s closed before RKO opened the four sets of twins, Commack, Babylon, Rockville Centre and Lawrence.

Jeffrey1955
Jeffrey1955 on July 13, 2014 at 12:46 pm

At this point, all these calls to go ahead and tear it down and arguments over who is to blame are meaningless. They got approvals years ago, yet nothing has happened. Obviously the leeches who have controlled this process from the beginning have not yet sucked all the money out of it that they can. More shell corporations trading ownership back and forth, more agents collecting transaction fees, more design firms collecting commissions, more permits and bribes, more politicians having their palms greased one way or another… it will simply continue until there is no more to be squeezed out, and then something will happen. Tommy Huang dumped oil in the basement, and it has been a black hole ever since.

gd14lawn
gd14lawn on July 13, 2014 at 12:08 pm

The no English language movie clause was probably at the insistence of RKO. When theatres are sold it is not unusual for the seller to insert these clauses to assure that the property does not become competition for their other nearby properties.

WilliamMcQuade
WilliamMcQuade on July 13, 2014 at 9:36 am

A bit of racism re the “white people” remark. “Their” newspaper says it all. I come to Flushing and I feel like a foreigner . Did you know that when the building was first sold by RKO To Huang, it contained a clause that no English language movies could be shown there for 25 years? Not to inclusive if you ask me. Imagine if it had been reversed and it said no oriental films the uproar there would have been. Huang made sure the theater would never operate again as a theater and he succeeded with his destruction of the interior including the landmarked parts.

The bottom line is the theater is to far gone to use as a theater and the community could care less about it. It was after all designed by a white guy Thomas Lamb. All he did was that he was famous theater architect who designed hundreds of theaters the world over. He did very few atmospheric theaters and Queens had 2. The than democratic Boro President Donald Manes made sure we had none.

This is the real shame in this whole mess. The theater can either sit there rotting away or it can be put out of its misery and torn down as it helps no one in its current state.

JamesD
JamesD on July 13, 2014 at 9:07 am

They already have those things. And yes, I’m sure that most of the people currently living in Flushing, who did not live there when the theater was open (or have parents who lived there when it was) have no idea what is behind that dilapidated fa├žade. I mean, just look at the front of the building. It looks like an old warehouse now.

I don’t know what they print in their newspaper, but I’m sure it’s stories that are relevant to their culture. Not stories about a group of white people who miss a theater they went to 40 years ago.

BobbyS
BobbyS on July 13, 2014 at 1:45 am

Don’t they need a temple to pray in or a community center? You mean to say they have no idea that a large space that they pass by every single day is sitting right there. What are they printing in those newspapers?Stories about their homeland?

JamesD
JamesD on July 12, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Yes, 44% of the population in Flushing are Asian.

robboehm
robboehm on July 12, 2014 at 3:43 pm

But there are also a goodly number of Koreans, correct? Bottom line, for most of Flushing proper, English is the second, if at all, language.

JamesD
JamesD on July 12, 2014 at 2:59 pm

No, Flushing has the second largest Chinese population in NYC, after Chinatown in Manhattan.

Jeffrey1955
Jeffrey1955 on July 12, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Not reading Chinese, I wouldn’t know. But I thought most residents of Flushing were Korean.

JamesD
JamesD on July 12, 2014 at 12:29 pm

I don’t think there have been many efforts to inform the residents of Flushing about the theater in over a decade. Have there been any articles on the Keith’s in any of the Chinese newspapers?

Jeffrey1955
Jeffrey1955 on July 12, 2014 at 11:06 am

I’m sorry, but if the current residents of the area don’t know or care about the theater – despite all the efforts to inform them and interest them in its history and potential – then they’ve already got exactly what they deserve. Neither condos nor a “preserved” lobby will bring Flushing “up” – they will simply enrich the pockets of the developer.

WilliamMcQuade
WilliamMcQuade on July 12, 2014 at 8:53 am

I totally agree with the last 2 posters. In addition to the house itself, the backstage areas and dressing rooms are probably a disaster. There is no way this can and should be restored.

JamesD
JamesD on July 11, 2014 at 8:49 pm

Not to mention Flushing already has a performing arts center. Two if you count the Kupferberg Center for the Arts.

It would be nice to see it restored, but I feel like the majority of the people behind the “Save the Keiths” group no longer live in the area, and are trying to get it rebuilt out of nostalgia, not what would be in the best interest of the current residents of Flushing. I really doubt the current residents even know or care about the theater.

robboehm
robboehm on July 11, 2014 at 8:35 pm

What then is right. Flushing is not an appropriate location for a performing arts center. Ethnicity of the area wouldn’t support it in any fashion.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on July 11, 2014 at 3:24 pm

I think it could be restored. Some really devastated buildings have been made beautiful again. The restoration would also pump a lot of money into the economy through the contractors. The question is what then?

SWCphotography
SWCphotography on July 11, 2014 at 1:02 pm

Not exactly. This is part of the area under the conservatorship of the current owner/developer. It is not part of the auditorium which still has far more intact artwork. From this and other examples of the foyer and lobby the much advertised developer “preservation” effort looks more like an effort to write off the landmark in favor of condos.

WilliamMcQuade
WilliamMcQuade on July 9, 2014 at 2:29 pm

Pictures do not lie and this just proves my point.

SWCphotography
SWCphotography on July 9, 2014 at 12:22 pm

The famed ticket booth when it was landmarked in 1984 (inset) and as it appears today:

WilliamMcQuade
WilliamMcQuade on July 8, 2014 at 5:32 pm

I was involved originally in the effort to landmark it. I love old theaters and the Keith’s in general. Facts have to be faced. It will never reopen and there is to much damage. Better the lobby be preserved and restored and let the past go and let the old lady have a decent burial. She deserves better than dying a slow death . It is bringing Flushing down in its current condition and it will only get worse. I was one of the parties working on getting Landmark designation so this is not easy for me.

BobbyS
BobbyS on June 16, 2014 at 12:48 am

I thought Loew’s got rid of the King’s in the 70’s. Magic Johnson Cinema multiplexes was an arm of the Loews chain to be built in the black urban areas. Was this the same Loews company or a different one with the Loews name? The Keiths keeps staying “alive” doesn’t it? I hate to see it give in to a condo plan.

gd14lawn
gd14lawn on May 29, 2014 at 9:09 pm

Did the plans change or is this article just poorly written? From: http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2014/04/15/landmarked_flushing_theater_will_now_be_condos_not_rentals.php#more

A new owner means new plans for Flushing’s landmarked RKO Keith’s Theater. Plans to redevelopment the 85-year-old site by constructing a new residential building atop it have been in the works for more than seven years, and in December, JK Equities bought the site for $30 million. The original plan called for the 350 new units to be rentals, but Crain’s reports that JK Equities will be making them condos. The new 17-story structure will rise above the historic theater, which will be incorporated into the building as the lobby. The development will have 23,000 square feet of retail as well as 385 parking spaces. During construction, a “protective shell” will be built over the 1928 structure to protect it, but permits are not yet in place, so work will not begin until next year.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on May 14, 2014 at 9:32 am

I was just reading about how Tommy Huang got smacked in the chops last year:

http://www.ag.ny.gov/press-release/ag-schneiderman-announces-felony-guilty-pleas-notorious-queens-developers-tommy-and

I was amazed that they decided to restore the Loews Kings. If that can come back after huge decay and almost becoming a Magic Johnson Cinema multiplex maybe the RKO has another round left in it.