Showing 26 - 50 of 157 comments
The source for Warren’s 5/14/2008 postcard
Cort Theatre circa 1927-1930Featuring vaudeville star Olga Petrova’s play “What Do We Know”
A detail from the backstage VIP dressing room
It’s gutted I tell you
The RKO in the year of the Dragon
Can it survive or will the NYC Board of Standards
& Appeals grant yet another waiver to allow the
developer more time on 1/31/12?
Here is another interesting one: In the basement alone
there were over 50 rooms with everything needed to support large scale theatrical productions:
musicians room, band leaders room, stage manager’s room, electricians,carpenters room, porters,vaults, library, laundry, engineers room, doorman’s room, store rooms and an animal room (number 62 to be exact).
This room was sealed off and I shot this through a hole in the wall just large enough to fit my camera through, in the background there is a bath; the show animals were led up an adjacent 4/1 ramp under to the stage.
These photos can be uploaded to the site, unfortunately there are no zoom options, they have to be done 1 at a time and they have to be re-captioned. I did copy 1.
Getting back to the theatre, here is an interesting item:
Incredibly still in business as Tapecon, Inc. in Buffalo. The original family business was the Davis Bulletin Co. founded in Buffalo, NY by Albert Davis in 1919. The Davis annunciator was used to display vaudeville acts as they appeared on stage. These annunciator instructions are still located on either side of the stage.
Part of the East auditorium skyline:
Character in the balcony
Thanks Ed, you have been a long supporter on this board. Yes Matt’s work is excellent and he had to work very hard to secure those images. What you are confronted with in photographing this theatre may not be fully appreciated, truly like slipping into darkness. This image from backstage may give you an idea:
These photos are not embedded images but self hosted links per the board rules.
You can help the FB effort “Save the Flushing RKO Keith’s” a new photo is published every day, 161 so far.
Thanks Dave, I got into the theatre through strictly legal means – the front door was open and the Daily News, by coincidence published that the public must be provided with access to declared landmarks at the same time. All I read in the local publications is how a developer will save the theatre going as far as calling it a “rebirth” by demolishing the theatre and saving a 66' x 38' patch of the foyer to make it the entrance to a high density 357 unit market rate rental with an average apartment size of 786 sq ft. Now the rhetoric has it that the theatre is gutted, so the assumption is that it can never be restored and that there is nothing of value, art or architecture left. The public has been locked out for 26 years so it can’t be doubted. There are almost no photographs of the interior in any detail from 1929 to the present. When the few photos that are contemporary surface they are usually far field and reinforce the assumption of a gutted unsalvageable condition. To do a true high definition survey of the theatre is not a simple matter. Much of the damage was done with a hand held hammer at arm’s length (the hammers are still there scattered around the theatre) so surviving detail is usually at a range of 12-50' away, unless you have a cherry picker and excellent lighting it is unlikely. The theatre is pitch black; you cannot see your hand in front of your face in most areas nonetheless focus. All of the photos I post are self hosted, for the curious you can track down the source and view in close up far beyond what can be copied on this server, many are extreme blow ups to capture the whole point that what survives is of value. Adding them with a message and caption is a continuing reminder that the theatre is relevant and that what you have been hearing about the RKO is what suits the developer:
“Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn”
Thanks all! Trust me on this, what I have posted here is only a hint of what remains to this day. There are two ways of looking at it: The level of destruction or the extent of survival. If this theatre goes down it will never be replaced by an equal even in its current condition.
A knowing face looks out over the East balcony:
The dollars and cents value of surviving artwork:
Gutted and fit for demolition, or is it a failure to look beyond the rubble on the floor: A face in the orchestra
Men’s lounge ceiling detail:
Forgot to mention this section is about 6' x 4' and in the upper balcony. This detail has been zoomed in quite a bit.
East balcony mural:
Ladies Parlor Room 143
At this point there are “de-landmarked portions that are fairing better than the "landmarked” ones.
A cherub under the East organ screen threatens to outlast three developers and condos ad nauseam.