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The unique glazed blue brick and glass facade was sadly concealed with white stucco. It resembles a blank canvas. What an eyesore! The last time I passed it, which was about 2 months ago, the marquee was still present. I’m not sure whether movies are still being shown.
A hospital that could have been built someplace else, is slated to rise in its place. Extremely sad!
My heart goes out to all those involved in the incredible restoration of the Cerrito Theater!!! If only the same was happening at the moment to the Trylon Theater in Forest Hills, NY, which was intact, but is now undergoing profound alterations because of greed! The Cerrito restoration photos and plans do shed light on other theaters that can make a complete turn-around. Good luck!!!
Thank you for sharing the above photo, Robert!
The Trylon entrance pavilion’s ticket booth might be gone & the mosaic floor is in the process of being covered over, but the remainder of the exterior is not gone.
CM Katz’s flip-flop of decisions is particularly disturbing in the Trylon case, since she opposed landmarking, then publicly stated her support, and then said she never felt it was suitable. She made no effort to encourage the LPC to calendar it. LPC won’t act without strong political support.She has the power, since she’s the Chair of Land Use. How can an elected official choose to suit her own interests, and mislead her constituents rather than serve them?
The Committee To Save The Trylon Theater & the community communicated. It was Melinda Katz who failed (to meet after promising, respond to letters, etc)! The effort isn’t over. Will her lack of intervention in this scenario be an obstacle in other neighborhood preservation efforts? Let’s continue to bond together for the benefit of the community, and not let this happen. “Power to the people!!!!!”
Please voice your frustrations to CM Katz:
Send carbon copies to James McClelland (her comm. affairs rep):
Carbon copy Committee To Save The Trylon:
Please tell Robert Tierney of the Landmarks Commission to reconsider his decision, and at least grant the Trylon a hearing to determine its status:
Cumulatively, we’re up to 1600 signers. Please sign our ongoing online petition, if you haven’t already done so: www.petitiononline.com/Trylon/petition.html
Hi mns2lv4ever! Welcome to Cinema Treasures. I would like to communicate with you via e-mail. I knew just about every manager at the Trylon Theater from the 80’s until it closed its doors in 1999. I knew Mary, Elizabeth, Marie, Julie, etc. Maybe I knew you.
Yes, the recent turn of events is a shame. I coordinated The Committee To Save The Trylon Theater to try to have it landmarked & preserve what’s remaining.
Please e-mail Michael at
Even though the Trylon was turned down (“It doesn’t meet the LPC’s criteria for landmarking”), we will continue to apply pressure on the LPC & CM Katz. Our consensus is that the remaining exterior features of the Trylon are distinctive enough to merit landmark status. Anything to the contrary is a violation of the landmarks law.
The following article is from the March 30th Times NewsWeekly. I just noticed it online. It features the March 23rd Juniper Park Civic Association meeting when Mayor Bloomberg was presented “man of the year,” and documents my speech on behalf of Committee To Save The Trylon.
I appreciate it. Thank you very much for sharing them!!!
LostMemory – It is true that all demolitions of landmarked properties have to be approved. It is extremely rare that they grant the approval to completely demolish a landmarked building. Most demolitions are alterations that they feel won’t destroy a structure’s historical or architectural integrity.
Al – Thank you for the future invite!!! I hope all goes well, and hope I’m able to assist you down the line.
“I have found a number of theaters across the country that were listed on the Nation Register of Historical Places and they have been demolished. Landmarking the Ridgewood theater is no guarantee for its survival."
– Posted by Lost Memory on Apr 20, 2006 at 9:19am
Getting a theater nominated for placement on the National Register of Historical Places only assists the theater owner with funds with the owner’s consent, but does not prevent it from being demolished. The Nat'l Reg is a useful resource. However, a designation by the Landmarks Preservation Commission does safeguard the theater from being demolished. It is of utmost importance to apply as much pressure as possible on the LPC to landmark the interior & exterior.
Having the interior landmarked would assure that the interior remains intact, & minimizes the concept of a chain store being the new owner. It would be seen more viable as a theater. I haven’t seen too many intact interiors with chain stores being the tenant. The Meserole is a unique case, although I’m not completely content with it. With that being said, the LPC needs to be pressured as much as possible!!!
Thank you for re-posting KenRoe’s photos, Bway. Since I don’t live near the Ridgewood Theatre, can someone who lives nearby, please post several views of the interior? Shots of the drywall would come in handy as well, showing how it meets the historical features which are visible outright. Thanks!
Another Cinema Treasures member, Jim Rankin, recommended Conrad Schmitt Studios who has worked on restoring numerous historic theaters. Their website is www.conradschmitt.com Their work is breathtaking! We should start making some considerations as early as possible, & continue to back up the plans with community officials. We’re doing great so far! :–)
The point you made is very true concerning the possibility of the Ridgewood Theatre becoming a “CVS with a nice landmarked entrance.” Landmarking an exterior is great, but it’s the interior of the theater that puts the icing on the cake & makes it complete. Wherever applicable, the interior should be restored. The staff of the Landmarks Preservation Commission should smarten up, & the interior should be landmarked too. In general, I’m sick & tired of hearing their blunt, vague statements, i.e. “It doesn’t meet the commission’s criteria,” with no further explanation. Getting through to the LPC is like pulling teeth! There is MUCH hope for the interior!!!
The following links contain lots of helpful advice for owners/non-profits who hope to restore their theaters (e.g. grants, tax credit, technical assistance, etc).
The NY State Historic Preservation Office: http://nysparks.state.ny.us/shpo/
Preservation League of NY State: www.preservenys.org/funding.htm
NY Landmarks Conservancy: www.nylandmarks.org/
Nat'l Reg of Historic Places: www.cr.nps.gov/nr/
We all know as a fact that the exterior of the Ridgewood Theatre is primarily intact. The interior might have many original architectural elements concealed beneath sheetrock or paneling.
Take the Elmwood Theatre for example. The interior was altered beyond recognition, & now the occupant (Rock Community Church) hired some of the top architects & contractors to restore this 1928 gem: /theaters/1942/ The link contains contact info for the Rock Community Church, if anyone wishes to speak with them for tips. They’re restoring the multiplexed auditorium to one auditorium & revealing the ‘28 medieval castle-like decor. That definitely sheds some light!!!
Can someone please post various shots of the interior of the Ridgewood Theatre? Thanks! – Michael
My pleasure!!! Thanks! – Michael
The following website will assist you in forming a non-profit. It’s very imformative, & contains the necessary forms:
Thank you, Al!
I’m very happy to come across someone who’s dedicated to a such a commendable project. While I don’t have the resources to allocate funds, I would assist you with a fundraiser if the time calls for it.
The Theater Historical Society of America might have some vintage photos which can assist you in its restoration. I have never been to the Ridgewood Theater, but have strong feelings for its preservation. I believe that landmarks contribute to the continuity & vitality of communities. If you have any questions, please contact me at
A letter to the editor as noted in the 4/13 Queens Chronicle:
Regarding Rick Archerâ€™s article in the April 6 Queens Chronicle, I read that the proposed Education Center for Russian Jewry has promised to preserve the marquee and projection tower of the Trylon Theater. The center does not mention the mosaic floor. In any event, a promise is not enough. The people of Queens County need the city of New York to back us up on this one.
Countless thousands of moviegoers including myself have invested a lot in this town. I believe the criteria has been met. With all due respect to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, I understand sites must be carefully considered, but ones in Queens are few and far between. Save some of the familiarity of our structures for all of Queensâ€™ residents.
P.S. For the Request For Evaluation forms, we should have as much historical information as possible with accompanying photos. They should include a vintage photo, and varying shots of the facade at present, including close-ups of the intricate details.
Thank you for replying to my post. An individual or a community group can apply for landmark status without consulting with the landlord. I hope that prospective buyer will take over the theater, maintain it as a theater and introduce some community activities (which will be unique), and over time, restore the theater where applicable. I would gladly be a part of the group and will lend my support. Do you feel that an accompanying offline/online petition to landmark the theater would be necessary? I recommend both. For an online petition, Petition Online is great. Based upon the success rate of requests and actual designations in Queens compared to that of Manhattan, Queens seems to get the backdoor. It’s not that Queens is less worthy, but such occurrences stem from politics. Many preservationists feel the LPC is biased when Queens comes into the picture. A petition is a great idea, but perhaps someone can form an official group i.e. “Committee To Save The Ridgewood Theatre”? Please e-mail me at
I believe the architect was NY’s-own, Joseph Unger, the same who built the Trylon Theater; a true landmark. It’s a shame that the side of the often gets vandalized. Does anyone know if the facade is concealed with a later facade? It looks rather bland.
Forest Hills Ledger (Times Ledger) April 6, 2006: www.timesledger.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=16440505&BRD=2676&PAG=461&dept_id=551069&rfi=6
Excerpt about Ridgewood Theatre: Residents in western Queens communities and preservationists are hoping to save two historic borough movie palaces, one of which is being converted into an educational center (Trylon Theater), while the other will soon face competition from a newly constructed multiplex.
Borough residents and theater preservationists are also unsure of the fate of the 90-year-old Ridgewood Theater, located at 55-27 Myrtle Ave. in Ridgewood, which will soon face competition from an eight-screen Regal Cinemas at the Shops at Atlas Park, a large office/retail complex set to open in late April on Cooper Avenue between 80th and 83rd streets in Glendale. Although some residents said they hope to get the historic theater landmarked, others complained on Cinema Treasures, an online movie theater forum, that the Ridgewood had sticky floors, creaky seats and rodents.
Gary Giordano, district manager of Community Board 5, which serves Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth and Middle Village, said he would like to see the area retain a historic neighborhood movie theater. He said the Ridgewood might just need a little sprucing up.
But Karen Colizzi Noonan, president of the Chicago-based Theatre Historical Society of America, said saving the theater is a responsibility shared by the theater’s owners and the community. “If the community values that piece of property and doesn’t want to lose it, they need to make a commitment to support it,” she said.
While the fate of the Ridgewood Theater, which has survived two world wars, the Great Depression and the invention of television, video and DVDs, is yet to be decided, the Trylon joins the ranks of several historic Queens sites that have been denied landmark status or torn down to make way for new developments. These include the 159-year-old St. Savior’s Church in Maspeth, the Middle Village German eatery Niederstein’s and Glendale catering hall Durow’s.
“I think the borough is losing a lot of its history because Landmarks is not stepping in,” Councilman Dennis Gallagher (R- Middle Village) said. “The commission is too slow and out of touch with the outer boroughs. If you want something landmarked in Manhattan, it takes a second to get done.”
A BIG lie – Notice how a spokeswoman for the Landmarks Preservation Commission said “the inside of the Trylon had been modified too much to qualify for landmark status.” It is common knowledge, only exteriors of buildings qualify for individual landmark status. Interiors are an entirely different category. This is confirmed in the LPC’s book, “A Guide to NYC Landmarks.” The Committee To Save The Trylon requests an answer from the LPC, and will get a hold of their minutes!
Trylon denied landmark status
By Nathan Duke
Residents in western Queens communities and preservationists are hoping to save two historic borough movie palaces, one of which is being converted into an educational center, while the other will soon face competition from a newly constructed multiplex.
Efforts to save the 66-year-old Trylon Theater, located at 98-81 Queens Blvd. in Rego Park, were dealt a fatal blow recently after the city Landmarks Preservation Committee decided not to grant landmark status to the theater. Signers of the Save the Trylon Theater petition said the site is one of the last standing structures that has cultural and historical ties to the 1939 World’s Fair.
Michael Perlman, founder of Save the Trylon Theater, criticized the preservation committee’s decision not to designate the Trylon as a landmark. The Art Deco theater is currently being transformed into the Educational Center for Russian Jewry.
“The Landmarks Preservation Committee has chosen to disregard a highly significant landmark, confirming a consensus among preservationists that Queens continues to get the back door,” Perlman said.
City Councilwoman Melinda Katz (D-Forest Hills) recently received a letter from Landmarks Chairman Robert Tierney, who explained that the theater did not meet the commission’s criteria for landmark status. A spokeswoman for the commission said the inside of the Trylon had been altered too much from its original state to qualify it.
In a recent Daily News article, Katz said she never thought the theater was suitable for landmarking and that she was “happy that [Tierney] made a decision.” But Juniper Park Civic Association President Robert Holden and Perlman both said they were upset with Katz’s comments in the article. “The worst thing that an elected official can do is mislead their constituents,” Holden said.
But Karen Colizzi Noonan, president of the Chicago-based Theatre Historical Society of America, said saving the theater is a responsibility shared by the theater’s owners and the community.
“If the community values that piece of property and doesn’t want to lose it, they need to make a commitment to support it,” she said.