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Though I despise churches, there are many examples where they prove to be great stewards of our glorious palaces. The Hollywood in midtown, the Loews 175th Street in Washington Heights and the Stanley in Jersey City but just a few excellent examples. That said, I am saddened that this theater is becoming a church. Of course, it is a successful church. They bought an old Christ Scientist church on W. 96th and Central Park West that was also a landmark and have respected that architecture. This particular church worships money so in theory they will not skimp on their infrastructure. They need to project affluence to get it.
It’s not enough that the movie be new. The movie must be good to get audiences. I had no desire to see Life of Pi. However, I will be there to see Les Miserables just as I was to see Hairspray, Chicago and Dreamgirls when they played here.
Here is what is replacing this theater:
Now showing: Sports kids take over former movie theater
12:53 PM, OCTOBER 10, 2012
RKF has arranged a 7,000- s/f lease for sports training company Fastbreak Kids at 1629 First Ave. between 84th and 85th Streets in space that formerly housed a United Artists East movie theater.
Fastbreak has leased its first full-time dedicated indoor location
Scheduled to open by mid-2013, this site will become Fastbreak Kids’ 14th basketball and sports training facility in Manhattan and its first full-time dedicated indoor location.
“We are thrilled to have helped Fastbreak Kids expand into their first dedicated indoor location,” said Alterman. “The former theater is a great, unique space and the location is perfect for a surrounding neighborhood that is full of both families and schools.”
Other retail tenants in the 32-story, 260,000 s/f residential building include Starbucks and Basics Plus Hardware. The space that Fastbreak Kids has leased was used as a movie theater since 1970 when the building was constructed.
Not really impressed by the limited photos of the Elliot Hall of Music. In no where near the same league as Radio City. That said, this appears to be the biggest theater no one has ever heard of no? :–)
The theater still stands even though all approvals are in place for construction to begin. As per below, the developer is in arrears on taxes and must come up with about half a million before he can begin. He does not yet have financing lined up. The fun never stops. This article is from the Queens Times Ledger:
RKO owner paying back tax man
The owner of the crumbling RKO Keith’s Theatre in downtown Flushing still owes more than $380,000 in unpaid back taxes and entered into a payment plan earlier this year to prevent the city from putting a lien on the property.
Developer Patrick Thompson is seeking to build a 16-story, mixed-use building around the landmarked lobby of the historic theater, at 135-35 Northern Blvd., and is trying to secure finances to get a shovel in the ground at the site of the $160 million project.
In March, TimesLedger Newspapers reported Thompson owed the city Department of Finance nearly $400,000 for 2011 unpaid property taxes. In April, Thompson entered into a payment plan in order to balance the books. At that time, he owed about $373,600, according to Finance.
But the most current records show Thompson still owes about $385,000 — which is actually $11,500 more than the initial balance when he entered into the agreement, according to department records.
“He’s on the way to paying it,” said Michael Nussbaum, spokesman for Thompson.
According to the department, if the developer had not entered into a payment plan before May 17, the city would have placed the property on its tax lien sale list, meaning that a third party could have potentially taken possession of the land.
Not only does Thompson need to fork over installments to chip away at the outstanding balance, he also needs to pay taxes for this current year. In total, if he were to pay off everything he owes for the payment plan and his current taxes for the rest of the year, the developer would be required to write a check for roughly $500,000 to the city, records show. That is more than double the yearly property tax value of the parcel.
The hefty bill comes at a time when the community is questioning the theater’s fate, since Thompson received all the required approvals to start building in May, but still does not have enough funding to start construction.
“We’re still proceeding with the financing, and they are still proceeding to get the thing done,” Nussbaum said of the project, adding that there has long been an unnamed developer Thompson has partnered with for the project.
The most recent approval from the Federal Aviation Administration is valid until October 2013. If Thompson does not start building by then, the FAA will have to go through another review process to determine if the proposal poses a threat to aviation, since the structure lies in the glide path of LaGuardia Airport.
Has it occurred to anyone that ACE knew full well how long it would take and THAT is why it is not projected to open until 2015 even though the deal was reached a coupe of years ago? I have no doubt whatsoever that this theater will be restored as planned. NONE.
I visited this theater in late August as I was in the area. Sad to say, it was incredibly depressing. The theater was hosting one of their Bingo sessions and the foyer leading from the front door to the auditorium reeked of cigarette smoke. The people were frightening. It literally looked like an SRO resident convention. None of these people looked like they should have any money to gamble on Bingo and yet here they were. Yes, the theater is still basically intact but I can’t imagine any situation where this ever gets restored. It simply is a rotten location for any performing arts use. I’m not even sure where these people came from since the area is basically a middle class neighborhood. Even more upsetting is that Salernos looks like its been long gone. The space is empty. Jahn’s Ice Cream Parlor (on the other side of the theater entrance) has been gutted and turned into some king of “club” but I couldn’t tell if even that hadn’t already gone out of business. The old Triangle Hoffbrau restaurant is also gone and gutted into medical offices. The beautiful Simonson Funeral Home was torn down and a strip mall is taking its place. Will likely be hideous. Next door to that, The Republican Club reflects its party. It has been completely hollowed out and is a shadow of its former stately self. Have no idea what’s happening there.
On a good note, the Olympic Diner on Myrtle is STILL there. Rubies Costume Shop is still on Jamaica Avenue. The Queens Public Library has been restored and it beautiful with loverly landscaping.
I have now sold my nearby investment apartment and will likely never be back to this area. I wish it all the best but I fear for the RKO Keiths. What a shame.
It’s official: The Midway Theatre 70th Anniversary film to be shown is Rear Window! Admission is $10 with the proceeds going to charity.
Wow! Thanks Joe. It’s amazing how different the inside is compared to its exterior. The outside is “fugly”! They need to graft the exterior of the old Texas Theatre around the corner onto the front of the Empire. Then you’d have one complete and fabulous movie palace! :–)
I can confirm that this theater is still open and (on the outside at least) couldn’t be more drab and unpalacelike. :–) I also read on a historical plaque on Houston Street that the theater was made smaller during the renovation to allow the more important Majestic theater to expand their backstage operations. I’m really curious about what this theater actually looks like on the inside.
Just passed the Alameda and it looks just as beautiful on the outside as the last time I was here over a year ago. Sadly, it looks just as forlorn on the inside. Looks like not a single thing has happened.
Dillards closed as well though the beautiful Department Store building remains.
The status of this theater needs to be changed to “Closed”. I just passed by the Aztec and the marquee says that it is available to lease. So sad as the theater has been completely and beautifully restored. This theater thrives on tourism yet their “programming” since restoration has been horrible. I’m not the least bit surprised that it failed. The good thing is that I have no fear that the theater has any chance at demolition as it is one the city’s true landmarks and one the country’s best and very few remaining theaters of this Indian style.
Wow Tinseltoes….That would have been a nice theater. What a shame. I drove through Cortland a few weeks back and it has certainly seen its better days.
The State Theatre appears to be alive and well and beautiful in downtown Ithaca! I do wish they still showed periodic movies but they seem to do well as a live performance venue in this prosperous little town.
As I was driving through Owego on my way to Ithaca, i glimpsed this old theater and did a u turn to take a closer look. Sure enough, it is OPEN though I didn’t have a chance to look inside. Still happy to see that it is still there especially considering the flood damage earlier in the year.
Just passed this theater on the way to Ausable Chasm and it most definitely is open and showing films!
Hmmm…thanks Chuck. I’ve never had that happen before.
The news today is that there is a grass roots effort to save and restore this theater. There is a cool photo on the link below:
News that Bed-Stuy’s historic Slave Theater was headed for the auction block prompted two theater professionals to form the non-profit New Brooklyn Theater and take to Kickstarter to try to raise $200,000 to buy the building. Brownstoner notes that the individuals have no apparent ties to Slave Theater, but they plan to restore the building and keep it as a performing arts venue for Brooklyn artists. They estimate the $200K to be enough for the downpayment, and they think the full renovation should cost between $3.5 and $5 million. “We are deliberately foregoing other more traditional development formulas that would require unnecessary and costly plans,” they write. “Instead we turn to you to help spark Brooklyn interest in the restoration of this landmark space.” So far, 62 backers have pledged more than $15,000.
Sadly, this theater status needs to be changed to CLOSED. I passed through this town last week. The cashier at the bakery across the street (which is really good btw) told me that it closed a few weeks ago after the owner kicked the theater company out for not being able to pay the rent. You can tell this theater dates back to 1910. But I couldn’t really tell that it retained very much of it original ornamentation if indeed it had some. It did not have seats. The town is kind of sad. I hope whatever business winds up taking it over keeps what little is left of the architectural legacy of this historic building.
This theater is about to be auctioned on August 9th at 2:30 PM:
It has been reported today that the redevelopment of Harlem’s Victoria Theater is moving forward. Sadly, only the lobby and “a fountain” are being preserved. No word in this article about the facade or whether a replica of the original marquee will be installed.
Here is the link to the story announcing the interior demolition. Alas, It has been completely gutted.
What a pleasure to have seen the St. George Theatre showcased over the span of many weeks on the show SMASH! The theater came across as stunning; especially the lobby, and mezzanine levels as well as the sides of the theater. It was really a joy to see. SMASH has been renewed for a 2nd season though the St. George will not likely feature in it as it was subbing for a theater in Boston for the out of town tryout. Nonetheless, it was great publicity for this theater and hopefully will be used by many others.
All landmarks stand a better chance of approval when it has both architectural merit AND Cultural significance. There is no doubt in my mind that The Ziegfeld qualifies on both. The Movie Palace changed over the years and came in many different styles. The New Amsterdam and Radio City are both palaces but I really can’t compare the two as they are so different. The Ziegfeld is not anywhere near the same league as those two but it is significant nonetheless as the final incarnation of the classic movie palace before they morphed into multiplexes. It is the only one left. It may not be everyone’s taste, but it doesn’t have to be to be a landmark. New York will suffer a tremendous loss if the Ziegfeld closes.