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Going tonight! Does anyone know if Into The Woods will open at The Ziegfeld (as most musicals do)?
With the loss of the Ridgewood, the last and best remaining unrenovated theater in Queens is the RKO Keith’s in Richmond Hill. I went over to the RKO Ketih’s Richmond Hill page and here is my post after my last visit in 2012:
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 pretty desolate from a retail standpoint. As you said, all the things that made this former hub something are now gone! Jahns, Hofbrau and Salerno’s. That’s no accident. Oh, and the crowd that comes to play bingo doesn’t help matters at all. Likely contributed to the loss of the others.
You should see it Mike, but check the schedule to see when it is open. I think there may be a flea market on weekends as well. The location of this theater is the very reason it is still with us. It’s not in a trendy ‘hood, not a great shopping area. And certainly not a big movie going area. The nearest theater is the outstanding Austin on Lefferts Blvd in neighboring Kew Gardens which has done very well as an art house cinema. It is less than a mile away from the Keith’s, but a world apart. It would not work well as a performance space, nor I’m afraid as a theater, so I’m not sure how long this building is for this world but it has been a bingo hall since it stopped showing movies in the late 60’s (I think). The Keith’s is one of New York’s hidden gems hiding in plain sight.
It was announced a while ago that the theater was being converted to residential. It is being converted to 50 apartments as well as first floor commercial space. As the interior was not landmarked there was never any expectation that any of it would survive. The facade however IS landmarked and that should be spared. Here is the link: http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2014/07/10/ridgewood_theaters_residential_conversion_moves_forward.php The best preserved unrestored theater in Queens and quite possibly the entire city is the RKO Keith’s Richmond Hill. I am shocked that it still operates as a Bingo Hall.
The status of this theater should be changed to CLOSED. The Palm Springs Follies, its longtime tenant, ended its run in May. As I understand it the theater is owned by the city and they plan to renovate it. Palm Springs is undergoing a renaissance and this theater could play a prominent role. I’ll report back as soon as I hear anything new. p.s. The theater is lovely! I enjoyed it very much.
While some don’t count it, the 2 week exclusive presentation of Dreamgirls a few years back was a huge success. To this day, it is the greatest movie theater experience I have ever had. The theater was sold out at $25 a pop. I had 10 other friends with me in assigned seats. There were 3 standing ovations DURING the movie when the big musical numbers played. Curtains? Absolutely! Previews or Commericals? NONE! I will never forget it.
What great news!!!!! Congrats and all the best!
Curbed has posted a story on its website titled “Peek inside Staten Island’s long shuttered Paramount Theatre” http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2014/06/17/peek_inside_staten_islands_longshuttered_paramount_theater.php#reader_comments
I wish NPH had hosted again. I like Hugh very much but he can’t hold a candle to Neil. I too plan on seeing Gentleman’s Guide again. We bought the cast recording the next day and there are several beautiful songs and the lyrics are smart and witty. Great sets, costumes and very funny.
I had the good fortune to attend the TONY awards this year and, in my opinion, the true unheralded star of the show was Radio City itself along with the staff that runs the theater and the show. That this theater could accommodate the high volume of different sets, hundreds of actors, very quick changes as well as a wandering full size orchestra and make it all look like a breeze is nothing short of astounding. Great Job to all and I really need to take a back stage tour of this treasure this year. Also, Congrats to “Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” for winning best Musical. A great show and highly recommended.
I hear you Life’s Too Short. I am happy that the facade was saved. It’s beautiful. But it actually makes it difficult to look at as you can’t help but feel awful that at truly beautiful theater was demolished for a run of the mill office tower. Yes, I prefer the facade over complete demolition, but it still hurts.
WoW! A new low for Philadelphia. A city that prides itself on history architecture and art has let its last remaining movie palace slip away. For shame! Most major cities have at least two palaces remaining while others, like New York and Los Angeles have scores of them which are used in many different capacities, but they are still around. Now, Philadelphia will take its shameful place as the only? major city without a historic movie palace.
Going to see the Follies Show tonight! The show is closing in May. I will try to find out what is in store for this landmark theatre and report back.
Hmmm, unable to make the link work but here it is to cut and paste. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/16/realestate/the-hamilton-theaters-changing-act.html?_r=0
Trying again: [http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/16/realestate/the-hamilton-theaters-changing-act.html?_r=0] (RKO Hamilton)
The New York Times showcases this beautiful theater, slated to be developed but large parts of the theater may be preserved.
Thanks Lost Memory! Can you please tell me how to create that link myself? Many thanks! Luis
Have you tried to just copy and paste the link rather than click on it. That should work. The photos are beautiful.
To all the naysayers, this $94MM restoration and expansion is happening and may actually be ahead of schedule. :–) According to this article in The Brooklyn Paper, the rejuvenated theater may open as early as this November! A tidbit I didn’t know was happening is that the theater will have “stadium” seating to provide better viewing for all. http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/37/10/all-kings-theater-update-2014-03-07-bk_37_10.html
New York, arguably, has the world’s greatest remaining collection of Movie Palaces though few still show films. Most of the current Broadway/Times Square theaters at one time showed films and they are still there and thriving including the incredible New Amsterdam. Radio City, The Beacon and the St. George are still going strong as concert venues. The Hollywood, The Valencia, The Paradise, The Loews Gates, the Elmwood, and many others are churches. The Paramount in Brooklyn is a Gym, but still virtually intact. The Loews 175th Street has now returned to service as a classic film showcase. The Loews Kings is undergoing a $90MM restoration and expansion into a performing arts center. The Apollo in Harlem is entering its 80th year and still has their amateur talent show every Wednesday. The Ziegfeld and the Paris still show first run films. Other theaters waiting in the wings for restoration including the Loews Canal, the RKO Keith’s Richmond Hill, the Paramount in Staten Island, the Jackson Heights, the RKO Colosseum. I’m sure I’ve missed many others. There is great value in saving these structures and Philadelphia has no excuse in not being able to save this one; especially when it is located downtown.
Just passed by the theater while stopping in Stroudsburg this morning for Starbucks on my way back to NYC! This theater has a very handsome new, but traditional, Marquee and is very much still open. Nice surprise!
The saga continues. The site has been sold yet again to a developer who plans to build the approved plan which requires the preservation and restoration of the lobby but nothing else. http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2013/12/19/flushing_theater_has_new_owner_may_finally_be_developed.php
Thanks for your comments Nobodym….The Chinese Theatre in Hollywood is exactly what you said. The main theater has been preserved while a multiplex has been built behind it or on its side. Is it true that there are NO movie theaters in Center City? Downtown multiplexes exist in many downtowns even in places like Cleveland! Why the heck not in Philadelphia? The answer is NOT to destroy this last palace in Philadelphia. This is THE LAST ONE LEFT!
atb….I don’t envy your position and I don’t doubt your love of movie palaces. I live in New York so I am not as well versed in the local entertainment venue options but I find it incredible to believe that Philadelphia (one of the largest cities in the country) and among its most historic cannot find a way to retain and restore ONE historic movie palace. I just returned from Cleveland where I attended a performance of Wicked at the stunning State Theatre in Playhouse Square which is made up of 6 (or more) historic theaters within a two block stretch of a rapidly gentrifying area of downtown. How can Cleveland support this and not Philadelphia? One these theaters are gone they are gone forever. They will never build theaters like this again. I hope you are not offended and I don’t doubt your sincerity, but a plan to destroy the interior and retain just the facade is a non starter. The argument could be made in a city like New York which has (arguably) the greatest number of remaining movie palaces in the world, but not in Philadelphia where The Boyd is the last one standing (If I am not mistaken). I’d rather the Boyd sit there until a better plan comes along. :–(