Whitney Theatre

67-05 Fresh Pond Road,
Ridgewood, NY 11385

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Showing 26 - 50 of 55 comments

jflundy on May 25, 2008 at 1:21 am

In 1948-9 there was a greasy spoon restaurant,long and narrow, with a very high ceiling and brown wood fans slowly turning in the dimly lighted overhead, it was situated in the second storefront from car tracks under the ‘L" in think it was in a different building to that which is next to the 'L" in the current photo above.
It had a second and possibly a third floor with apartments from what I can recall. I would guess it dated from a time before 1930 by the furnishings. The long stone counter was on the side towards the station and tables were along the opposite wall and in the rear.
The trolleys were still running and it seemed to be frequented by motormen and shopmen from the carbarn.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 19, 2008 at 2:03 pm

An ad in the September 7, 1917 issue of Ridgewood Times shows the Whitney Theatre starting its “Fifth Anniversary Celebration,” which suggests that it first opened in 1912. During the Fifth Anniversary season, programs changed daily and consisted mainly of movies, sometimes with added “live” entertainment or merchandise giveaways. Monday, September 10, for example, was “Plantation Night,” with “The Charmer” on screen and “Southern Darkies in Songs and Funny Contests” on stage. On September 14, “Boxes of Joy” and “Barrels of Fun” were handed out between showings of “A Wife on Trial.”

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 12, 2008 at 1:37 pm

I cited a photo in the book “Old Queens” as proof of “Theatre.” Isn’t that sufficient? If anyone doubts my claim, the photo is at the top of page 115. If one doesn’t own the book, it’s in many public libraries and also still in print (many stores carry it in their New York sections).

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 10, 2008 at 8:43 pm

This is another case of “r” before “e” in the spelling of the last two letters of the “t” word. A 1912 view in Vincent Seyfried & William Asadorian’s “Old Queens, N.Y. in Early Photographs” shows signage as the Whitney Theatre (not Whitney Theater).

PKoch on September 7, 2007 at 9:09 pm

Thanks, Jim. Glad to read it, and good to connect with you here, now that I have those Xeroxed pages, from the “New York Transit Memories” book, courtesy of your good offices, and our meeting at the Ridgewood Theater this past Saturday August 25th.

Which reminds me : I should Xerox pages for myself out of Stan Fischler’s “Confessions Of A Trolley Dodger From Brooklyn” before I return it to the friend from work who so kindly lent it to me this past March 5 or 6 2007 !

Like you, I do hope that Ed, owner of Nagengast’s, signs on here and starts posting his Ridgewood Theater info and memories.

BrooklynJim on September 7, 2007 at 8:59 pm

Was only able to visit Nagengast’s once last month, but I managed to turn owner Ed onto CT and the Whitney Theater, formerly located where North Fork Bank does business today. Hopefully he’ll sign up and post some of his Ridgewood theater info and memories in the future.

PKoch on June 18, 2007 at 5:46 pm

BklynJim :

Sorry can’t help you about owner of Nagengast’s, though I remember the place well. I think I was last there in Sept 1969 to buy my second plastic model kit of the original starship Enterprise. My wife and father were there summer 1992, to get some furniture feet, or casters, but I was not.

I think I may have seen excerpts from “An El Called Myrtle” at the “Elevated City” exhibit at the Transit Museum Store, GCT, summer 2002 or 2003. I remember the view of the Madison as the train entered Wyckoff Avenue station. The music on the soundtrack was “East side, west side, all around the town …”

No, I have not purchased the “New York Transit Memories” book. Thanks in advance for xeroxing the pages from it. Hope to see you in Ridgewood this August. If not, you can mail them to my home address, which I could provide by private e-mail.

BrooklynJim on June 12, 2007 at 6:21 pm

Peter – as in PKoch – did you ever purchase the “New York Transit Memories” book? If not, I’ll xerox a few pages of Ridgewood pix for you when I visit this summer. One of them is on Fresh Pond Rd., right by the old Whitney.

BrooklynJim on December 7, 2006 at 6:37 pm

Just received yet another DVD from “Subway Al” in Morris Plains, NJ, this time titled “An El Called Myrtle.” In this 32-minute slice of history, photographer Mark Boland had shot the line in sequence from Jay St. to Metropolitan Ave., end to end, in ‘69, the last year of the old wooden Q-cars. As the train pulled into the Fresh Pond Avenue station, one can clearly see the theater’s colorful brick architecture of the Whitney length-wise opposite the platform. I’m hoping that, with a bit of help from one of the Ridgewood Regulars, this shot may transfer well to CT when I get back to NY soon.

Although the front of the Madison Theatre was not visible, one could easily see its roof and water towers as the clanky old el train approached and entered the Wyckoff Avenue station.

Bway on September 18, 2006 at 11:24 pm

Interesting find Lost! I always thought the building did look ‘theater-like", but of course, I have no idea if this was built to be a theater or not.
Here’s the link to the photo I took about two ago (gasp, where did those two years go):

Click here for photo of the Whitney site

BrooklynJim on July 26, 2006 at 3:45 pm

It’s probably owner Hans Jr.’s son who runs the day-to-day store operations, as it’s been family-owned and run a long, long time. Last fall, went over to purchase some HO-scale RR stuff, and brought back a Model Railroader mag I’d purchased there in ‘74. (Was even an old ad of theirs in the classifieds!) When I gave it to him, the guy quipped, “Hope you’ll be back sooner than that this time…”

If you should contact him, ask him about the Whitney across the street as well as the March ‘06 Sopranos episode. You never know – he might even have taken a Camcorder to the event.

[“Film editors on strike! Slides at 11!]

BrooklynJim on July 24, 2006 at 6:26 pm

If he’s the taller one, reddish hair, about 38-42 years old…

Mebbe, but Hans doesn’t ring my upstairs bell. Thx for trying and posting so quickly, LM. Unless one of the other regulars connect, I guess I’ll know for sure when I visit Nagengast’s on my next trip. This time I’ll write it down! My memory is all-too-often lost these days!

BrooklynJim on July 24, 2006 at 6:03 pm

This is sooooo embarrassing, and it’s been bugging me ever since I posted the above on 6/17…

For the life of me, I cannot recall the guy’s name at Nagengast Hardware on Fresh Pond Rd.! Perhaps if someone such as PKoch, Bway, Lost Memory, EdSolero – in other words, one of the locals – called them and asked, then one of you guys could post his first name. He’s truly a font of knowledge, a walkin' talkin' history book for a relatively young guy. THX!!!

BrooklynJim on June 17, 2006 at 6:51 pm

Color me flabbergasted! How many times I’ve passed by on Fresh Pond Road and even seen the upper building as evidenced in Bway’s May ‘05 photo and never dreamed that a theater had been there in the early 1900s??? Dang, my old bank at that location is gone, Niederstein’s in Middle Village is recently gone, the diner at Metropolitan Ave. is gone, the Oasis and Madison are gone, the wooden gate and Q cars of the el are gone…

pausing momentarily to dry my eye

BUT Nagengast’s Hardware is still there!!! Located diagonally across from the bank (and the old Whitney), away from the station, it has the feel of those oldtime hardware shops, so totally unlike Home Depot. The gent who runs it comes from a long line of relatives who also ran it. He’s an affable guy with a ton of Ridgewood history stored up in his mental vaults. (He filled me in last March as to what exact building on Fresh Pond and what time it was going to be blown up by the producers of “The Sopranos” for an upcoming episode.) If anyone drops in and asks him something, he’ll tell you what he knows. Neat guy. A real life local reference source…

Bway on June 8, 2006 at 1:39 pm

Here’s an aerial view that shows the site of the old Whitney, next to the Fresh Pond station, and also that small minimart lot next to it that we discussed above:

View link

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on August 5, 2005 at 5:38 pm

Portions of The Whitney’s exterior can be seen in this 1912 view of the Fresh Pond Road Station when it was still at street level:

Bway on March 28, 2005 at 9:50 pm

Robert, in reference to your comment above, that I never noticed, yes, I agree, I always looked at this building as a kid thinking it was a theater (it was Hamburg Savings at the time). I have a photo linked above also that I took last fall.

Bway on March 28, 2005 at 9:47 pm

Here’s a photo I found on the web of the location of the Whitney.
The Minimart is located on Transit Authority property, and is the site of the platforms of the original Fresh Pond Rd station, before the el was built, and the train ran on the ground. The building to the right of that is where the Whitney Theater once stood. I don’t believe that is actually the Whitney theater, it is probably a replacement building built soon after closing of the Whitney, but not sure. The building is “Theater like”, and quite old, although it may have been a bank right from the beginning (it currently is Greenpoint Bank).

RobertR on October 29, 2004 at 7:23 pm

There is a picture here of the back of the Whitney theatre

View link

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on October 9, 2004 at 9:01 pm

The Whitney was probably closed due to the arrival of the Oasis and Madison Theatres, which were built simultaneously and opened within weeks of each other. Also, The Whitney’s proximity to a noisy, outdoor subway line didn’t help its chances of survival.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on October 8, 2004 at 5:07 pm

The same photo appears in “Old Queens,” but dated 1912. In any case, I can read The Whitney in four places, one on the side of the building, two on the stage housing, and one above the attraction board facing Fresh Pond Road. So this seems to be one of those rare cases where “The” was actually part of a theatre’s name.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on October 8, 2004 at 12:16 am

The front facade of the Whitney is not visible in the “Old Queens” photo. But the current photo of the Whitney site looks to me like a commercial building that might have been erected in the 1920s. I doubt if it is a conversion of the Whitney…In the 1912 photo, the rail tracks were on the street, not elevated. The trains stopped at platforms about four to six feet above ground level, similar to some of today’s LIRR stops.

Bway on October 7, 2004 at 5:56 pm

That map thing is wrong. 67-05 Fresh Pond is between 67th Ave and 68th Ave (hense the “67-XX” address, indeed further south, and at the elevated tracks, not Metropolitan Ave. 68th Ave is right there at the tracks, so it’s mapquest that is messed up.

Bway on October 7, 2004 at 4:30 pm

Right. The first building is the same address as the bus depot, and the TA property.
The first building after the “shack” is the Greenpoint Savings bank building.

Bway on October 7, 2004 at 4:17 pm

Ken, I have the “Old Queens” book that Warren mentions. (not here, so I can’t check now). However, if it’s the photo I am thinking of, it is similar to photo 053 in the Ridgewood section of Queenspix.com