Comments from NativeForestHiller

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NativeForestHiller commented about Trylon Theater on Feb 8, 2006 at 8:25 pm

The Queens Gazette, February 2, 2006, Front Page (Vol.25 No.5, Zone 2)


For a project with such a laudable purpose, the landmarking of the venerable Art Deco Trylon Theater on Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills is creating much confusion and controversy, from all appearances, none of it necessary.

The area’s representative in the City Council, Melinda Katz, has made abundantly clear that she is in favor of the landmarking, which, it’s agreed by all parties concerned, would include the building facade, its crystal tower and the theater marquee. The building would also retain the Trylon name.

Katz also supports plans by the Educational Center for Russian Jewry, a local community organization, to renovate the interior of the movie house, which dates from the era of the 1939 World’s Fair, and make it into a community center. The lawmaker said she was quite excited with the community center idea. “It would be a great addition to the community,” she said.

However, Katz briefly found herself at odds with the Committee To Save The Trylon Theater, an ad hoc group which demonstrated outside the Trylon last October in support of the landmarking idea. Katz wrote the group’s chairman, 23-year-old Michael Perlman of Forest Hills, saying she thought the rally had unnecessarily disturbed the community. This led to a misunderstanding on the part of both parties.

According to one media report, Perlman felt Katz was “trying to destroy the reputations” of people in the group. Katz replied that she had never met any member of the Committee To Save The Trylon Theater and was trying only to make the group aware that she also supports landmarking parts of the building.

When she was finally contacted by Perlman’s group, Katz said, she felt that its members have great respect for the community. “We want to work with them, to have a discussion with them, rather than have them in the community with a lot of tension between us,” she said. “I believe they want to do the right thing.”

She added, “I don’t want to put the community at risk. There’s no need for that. In fact, I don’t know what we’ve both been fighting about. We both want the same thing.”

Statements attributed to Perlman indicating that Katz opposed the landmarking and was making no effort to get it underway created further misunderstanding between Katz and the Committee To Save The Trylon Theater. Perlman, who could not be reached for comment by press time, also was reported to have said that Landmarks Preservation Commission Chair Robert Tierney had told him he “would get a hearing on the Trylon {landmarking} if Katz sent him a note approving it,” leading the preservationist group to believe that Katz' consent was vital.

Katz, in an interview, responded, “Any steps to landmark the theater must start with the commission.” Neither Tierney nor anyone else at the commission had ever contacted her, she added. “Tierney has to start {the landmarking procedure},” she explained. “It’s not up to me or {Perlman’s group}.” Tierney had acknowledged that this was, indeed, the procedure when she asked him about it at a hearing in City Hall. She added that if and when action on the landmarking starts, it will take anywhere from six months to a year for the commission to reach a decision.

Despite Katz' explanations, the preservationsit group blamed her for slowing the landmarking process. In response, she reiterated, “Tierney said it starts with him, and he decides when that will be.”

The Landmarks Preservation Commission has not contacted Katz about the landmarking, which the community favors. Calls to that agency for comment had received no response by yesterday’s publishing deadline.

Katz termed the dialogue with Perlman’s group “unproductive,” as she and the Committee To Save The Trylon Theater are both in favor of the landmarking. “{The Committee members are} in this to better the community, but somehow it’s created such a tense atmosphere,” she said. “There shouldn’t be any arguing about it.” Katz recalled often visiting the Trylon as a youngster and said she is now disappointed that it has fallen into such a state of disrepair.

An aide to the councilmember said that the Trylon had closed its doors some time in 1999. The aide said further that the building is owned by 99 St. Realty in Hempstead, Long Island and one Jerome Rothschild. The building is leased to the Educational Center for Russian Jewry in Rego Park. Katz' aide described the organization as a place that offers programs for teenagers who have emigrated from Russia. At the center, they are taught English and how to operate computers. Efforts to reach its head, Nachum Kasiev, were unsuccessful. Katz' aide said that to his knowledge, there is no connection between the Committee To Save The Trylon Theater and the Educational Center for Russian Jewry.

NativeForestHiller commented about Trylon Theater on Feb 2, 2006 at 3:34 pm


“War of words plays at Trylon”
(Pol, activist swap barbs)
January 31, 2006


A preservationist who wants landmark status for a historic Forest Hills movie theater is trading verbal jabs with an elected official who recently criticized his efforts.
In a Jan. 1 letter, City Councilwoman Melinda Katz (D-Forest Hills) accused Michael Perlman and the Committee to Save the Trylon Theater of “creating an unnecessary atmosphere of community turmoil” by staging an October rally outside the theater before they even contacted her office.

In an interview with the Daily News, Katz confirmed sending the letter to Perlman and the approximately 1,000 people who signed his petition to landmark the Trylon, an Art Deco theater built in tribute to the 1939-40 World’s Fair.

Although Katz insisted she just wanted to explain her position on the landmarking issue, Perlman said he thinks differently.

“She was trying to destroy the reputations of individuals who were trying to protect the interests of the local community,” he charged.

Katz explained, “It was a shame to see” that conditions had deteriorated at the Trylon after it closed in 1999, and she said she fondly remembers seeing her first movie at the theater.

But with the building being converted into the Educational Center for Russian Jewry – which plans to keep the Trylon’s marquee and glass projection tower intact – Katz remains optimistic.

“Now, I so look forward to new life in there,” she said. “I think it’s going to be beautiful.”

According to Perlman, Chairman Robert Tierney of the Landmarks Preservation Commission promised in December to grant a hearing on the Trylon if Katz sent him a note approving it, leading preservationists to believe the councilwoman’s consent was vital.

But Katz says any steps to landmark the theater start with the commission, which has not yet contacted her office. She also said she wondered why Tierney often ignores potential landmark sites in Queens in favor of others in Manhattan.

“I have asked him to landmark several things [in Queens] and it doesn’t seem to help,” Katz said.

Even if Tierney initiated an investigation into the Trylon immediately and determined that it has historical value, Katz said, it would take six months to a year to actually landmark the theater.

But preservationists, citing Katz’s comments to reporters over the past few months, say her inaction slowed the process.

“What’s the reason why she would oppose its landmarking from the very start?” Perlman asked. “This whole scenario could have been avoided.”

In the meantime, the city’s Environmental Control Board is holding hearings on whether the Trylon’s owners violated a stop-work order last year by illegally continuing construction at the site.

NativeForestHiller commented about Beekman Theatre on Feb 2, 2006 at 3:05 pm

At least the winning bidder will enjoy its classic chrome hardware, rather then feeding it to the landfill. It’s great that it was rescued! ENJOY a piece of the cherishable Beekman!!!

NativeForestHiller commented about Trylon Theater on Jan 27, 2006 at 7:52 pm


Katz defends position on Trylon Theater
By Zach Patberg

Councilwoman Melinda Katz (D-Forest Hills) has gone on the defensive in the controversy over the Trylon Theater, writing a letter to preservationists saying she supports protecting the former movie theater’s historical integrity as development ensues and that “false accusations” claiming otherwise have created “an unnecessary atmosphere of community turmoil.”

Renovation of the Forest Hills World’s Fair centerpiece, slated to become a Jewish community center, has sparked protests from some preservationists that the construction has been far too callous in handling the trademark facade of the 66-year-old relic.

One group in particular, the Committee to Save the Trylon Theater, has come out against Katz, whom it says is siding with developers and resisting the idea of having the theater landmarked.

The group points to damage inflicted on some of the Trylon’s signature features since July, including that of an Art Deco ticket booth, hand-painted cloth murals and the mosaic-tiled floor.

In her Jan. 11 letter, which was sent to Bob Tierney, chairman of the Landmarks Preservation Committee, and around 150 Trylon supporters, Katz said she has taken steps to ensure that the theater is protected but that preserving history while encouraging growth in the area is a balancing act.

She said she reached an agreement with the center under which the theater’s signature marquee and the crystal tower would remain intact and the Trylon name would stay lit up on Queens Boulevard.

“I am dismayed, however, that protests and the dissemination of false information has obscured the fact that the preservation of the Trylon Theater has always been a component of building the new Education Center for Russian Jewry,” she wrote.

Her office pointed out that a $200,000 allocation originally earmarked for the center’s construction will instead be used for purchasing service equipment such as computers.

As for landmarking, Katz has insisted the process starts with Tierney, whom she says has not contacted her office to discuss the issue. While this may be true, Tierney said the councilwoman’s blessing is crucial for landmark passage since she is head of the City Council’s Land Use Committee and would eventually vote on it in the Council.

“I agree that the Trylon qualifies under all conditions as a New York City landmark,” Tierney said. “I request a note from Councilwoman Katz’s office indicating her consent on a hearing and that she supports my landmarking notions, since Katz opposed (it) from the very beginning.”

But Katz spokesman James McClelland said the councilwoman cannot approve of a landmarking without first seeing a package from the commission that includes input from community civic leaders, planners and historians. “It’d be like putting the horse before the cart,” he said.

Michael Perlman, the head of the Trylon advocacy committee who also received the letter, was not satisfied. “This is a key element of Queens and the World’s Fair history and deserves to be treated with respect and ultimately designated an official landmark,” he said in an e-mail. “The bottom line is that Katz is supposed to serve the public (her community’s interests) rather than her own interests and that of the developer.”

NativeForestHiller commented about Elmwood Theatre on Jan 27, 2006 at 7:37 pm


Church’s renovation of theater in Elmhurst saves historic site
By Adam Pincus

Preservationists are applauding the efforts of a Christian church to convert a historic movie theater in Elmhurst into an auditorium for their congregation, saving a 1928 building that was considered for demolition.

Faith Ministries Inc. has slowly rehabilitated the building, which it purchased in 2002 from Sony Loews Theatres, while holding services at 57-02 Hoffman Dr., which it is calling the Rock Community Church.

“It’s great that they are fixing it up,” said Richard Italiano, chairman of Community Board 4 which covers Elmhurst and Corona.

The 2,200-seat theater began as a combination movie theater and vaudeville space under the name Queensboro Theatre, although its early years were not easy, writer and historian Warren Harris said.

Harris grew up on a street just behind the theater and said his mother attended opening night when the theater ran a silent version of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and several vaudeville routines. But attendance was weak during the Depression and Harris said the building spent much of its first 18 years dark.

The building had its first makeover in 1946, when the name was changed to Elmwood. In 1979 Sony Loews bought the property and subsequently divided the space into four theaters.

In 1999, the possible demolition of the building was included as part of a deal proposed by the Mattone Group to build an 18-theater multiplex in a nearby site. That deal was put on hold, however, and three years later Sony Loews sold the property.

Councilwoman Helen Sears (D-Jackson Heights) said the rehabilitation was good for the neighborhood.
“Anything they do will be an improvement because that facility needed to have repairs,” she said.

Michael Perlman, a Queens preservationist, said the theater was a prime example of the borough’s ornate movie palaces.
“I am happy that they decided to restore the Elmwood Theatre to its former glory,” Perlman said. He noted that other historic theaters, such as the Trylon Theatre in Forest Hills and the RKO Keith’s in Flushing, are facing significant alterations as they are renovated.

The Trylon, built for the 1939 World’s Fair, is being converted into a Jewish community center; while developers plan to convert RKO Keith’s into a mix of residential and commercial uses.

NativeForestHiller commented about New Metro Twin closes; Owner plans to scrap interior on Jan 26, 2006 at 12:00 pm

**General letter campaign form: Please write letters &/or e-mails to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, urging landmark designation of the interior of the Art Deco New Metro Twin. Reflect upon its significance, and personal insight, if possible:

Mr. Robert Tierney, Chairman
c/o NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission
1 Centre St, 9th Floor
New York, N.Y. 10007
.gov & CC .gov
Follow up with phone calls: (212) 669-7700 (Dial “1” & then spell “Tierney”)

NativeForestHiller commented about Demolition of the Historic Adelphi Theater on Jan 25, 2006 at 3:56 pm

Thanks, Mike! It is urgent for us never to give in to those greedy developers. Determination leads to victory. We the people!!! We should all consider coming up with a proactive plan, rather than acting on a reactionary basis. Whichever buildings are not endangered at this point, focus on those, & organize a petition drive & letter campaign to encourage landmark status. That should work!

NativeForestHiller commented about Demolition of the Historic Adelphi Theater on Jan 24, 2006 at 9:03 pm

Sadly, we live in a world where many are selfish & unappreciate of architectural, cultural, & historical treasures. Reality can be harsh, but in the long run, these greedy/selfish developers & landlords are only devaluing themselves. Shame on them!!!!!!!!!! And double the shame on councilmembers who side with developers & their own interests, rather than that of their constituency. It’s an injustice to all!
To pay tribute to this superb theater, committee members should coordinate a fundraiser to have a representative feature of the theater rebuilt, & donate it to a local museum. It will document a committee’s determination to saving this historical structure, & it will show what was lost, & show how important it was, & it will continue to be. That’s the last resort & a blessing to the public for any committee. Please share your thoughts. – Michael from N.Y.

NativeForestHiller commented about Uptown Theater on Jan 21, 2006 at 8:41 am

Very well stated!!! I give my heart away to those preservationists aiming to save a cultural, architectural, & historical treasure. The Uptown is among the most appealing theaters I’ve seen. Keep up the superb work. Thanks! – Michael from N.Y.

NativeForestHiller commented about RKO Keith's Theatre on Jan 21, 2006 at 1:38 am

P.S. Even in its current condition, I’ve seen cases where buildings were landmarked. Please write to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, urging designation of the facade ASAP:

Mr. Robert Tierney, Chairman
c/o NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission
1 Centre St, 9th Floor
New York, N.Y. 10007
.gov & CC .gov
Follow up with phone calls: (212) 669-7700 (Press “1” & then dial “Tierney”)

Please carbon copy & so we can keep track of how many letters are being sent to the LPC. Thank you for your support!

NativeForestHiller commented about RKO Keith's Theatre on Jan 21, 2006 at 1:24 am


752 Pacific St
Brooklyn, NY 11238
TEL: (718)398-3200
FAX: (718)398-3222

FOR RKO KEITH’S PROPOSAL (IMAGES): Click on launch site. When you see the Welcome page, click on New York, scroll over the projects selector to Queens, & then click on RKO PLAZA. Notice how the “Keith’s” part of the name is history going to hell. The first image you will see is a rendering of Boymelgreen’s project in its entirety. Keep in mind that he’s trying to manipulate you by showing the very first rendering of his project, which was prior to the glass curtain concept. This image shows minimal facade details retained with the high-rise above. That was the project that Councilman Liu, the community board, & Borough Pres. Helen Marshall did not approve. Then scroll over & click each portion of the menu (building, entrance, historical photo, lobby, etc). The glass curtain facade plan (the true 2nd rendering) wipes away history like chalk from a blackboard. My conclusion of his plans & photo presentation: The nerve of Boymelgreen to even place a historical photo next to his lackluster, all too common, “head w/o a brain” project, makes one chant, “Save me from the hands of a society filled with greedy, ill-conceived politicians & developers!” LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD. PLEASE ACT NOW! A RALLY IS IN THE WORKS. Let’s exchange ideas for the rally, & work cooperatively, so we can put Queens to the test! We need every member to make an effort to attend, & encourage their family & friends to as well. If you haven’t already done so, please lend your support by signing our petition: ~AND~ Write letters to your locally elected officials. Preserve/restore this treasure from demolition.


NativeForestHiller commented about State Theatre on Jan 19, 2006 at 8:11 pm

A crime indeed!

NativeForestHiller commented about Photos Of Colonial Theater Demolition on Jan 19, 2006 at 7:35 pm


NativeForestHiller commented about Mills Theatre Could Be Razed, Replaced by New Theater on Jan 19, 2006 at 7:18 pm

How much funding is needed to restore/renovate the theater, & bring it back to its original splendor? Theaters are no longer constructed in the Art Moderne style; a style of sleek streamlined facades, elegant curves, wise & inspiring color schemes, and glass blocks. Most buildings from way back when were planned with attention to detail at its finest. This movie theater houses countless sentiments.

Mr. Helgeson of Lake Mills Entertainment, I urge you to please listen, coordinate a series of fundraisers, & take into account the opinions of the majority. I am sure there are many others who are in favor of saving the charming Mills Theatre from the wrecking ball. Please do what it takes to ensure its preservation. I am from New York, but I am enthusiastic about saving structures with architectural, cultural, & historical attributes, which paint a picture of our heritage. Thank you! (PLEASE PASS THIS MESSAGE ALONG TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE NON-PROFIT).

NativeForestHiller commented about Elmwood Theatre on Jan 19, 2006 at 7:28 am

Hi Warren! I see we were both quoted. You did a superb job, & reporter Nicholas Hirshon wrote a solid piece!!! Hopefully, something should be done right now, prior to a different ownership. I will work on convincing the LPC to landmark the Elmwood in the near future. I still did not give up on the Trylon. It’s not an easy battle, but victory is determination! – Michael Perlman

NativeForestHiller commented about RKO Keith's Theatre on Jan 12, 2006 at 8:14 am


Boymelgreen Developers, LLC. 535 Dean St, Room 121 Brooklyn, N.Y. 11217 (718) 398-3200

Shaya B Developers Inc. 700 Pacific St Broolyn, N.Y. 11217 (718) 398-3200

M Boymelgreen 700 Pacific St. Brooklyn, N.Y. 11217 (718) 783-1630

The following link is the Emporis Database, which features various projects of Boymelgreen Developers, LLC: The project is noted as “RKO Keith’s Theater Site Development,” & includes project data, etc.

NativeForestHiller commented about Beekman Theatre on Jan 11, 2006 at 11:11 am

Very sad indeed! :( I’m fed up with the Landmarks Preservation Commission. They designate what they’re in facor of, and treat the public like “2nd fiddle.” Who knows a neighborhood’s history better than those residing in a particular vicinity? And the LPC doesn’t even grant several worthy buildings a hearing!!! How many theaters have we lost in a rather short timespan? Beekman, Sutton, defining World’s Fair features of the Trylon Theater’s entrance pavilion, etc… No LPC hearing = Dereliction of public duty = No democracy! Let’s hope that Intro 705, the Landmarks Hearing Bill, gets approved!!! For more info: View link

NativeForestHiller commented about Beekman Theatre on Jan 11, 2006 at 9:54 am

I appreciate your documentation, Dave. Another landmark being tossed in the trash as a result of the Landmark Preservation Commission’s negligence!!!

NativeForestHiller commented about Trylon Theater on Jan 10, 2006 at 7:46 pm

Please help me with this favor. Does anyone have a photo of the Trylon Theater’s exterior, that was taken prior to the tale end of 1999 (the theater’s closing)? I am looking for a photo that shows NO missing tiles on the central portion of the marquee. The photo can even be as far back as the 1970’s. Please e-mail Thank you!

NativeForestHiller commented about RKO Keith's Theatre on Jan 6, 2006 at 10:55 pm

Thank you for the encouragement & your support, M Horner! I found some photos of the theater in its glory days. It can be accessed as follows: View link

We are the community, & we want the RKO Keith’s Theatre RESTORED in its entirety!!!!! Everyone, please spread the word, & sign our petition.

NativeForestHiller commented about RKO Keith's Theatre on Jan 4, 2006 at 7:55 pm

I don’t believe that it’s too late. I proceed my preservation efforts with optimism. You’re doing a superb job, Tom! And Jeffrey, a very well composed letter to the editor indeed! I urge all to sign the RKO Keith petition.

NativeForestHiller commented about RKO Keith's Theatre on Jan 4, 2006 at 1:35 pm

As many Cinema Treasures members as possible should write letters to our locally “elected” politicians and Community Board 7 regarding the proposed Boymelgreen heritage trasher. Let your voice be heard!!! Also, voice your opinion and write letters to the editor of various newspapers. Every bit helps! Did anyone think of starting an online/offline petition? Why doesn’t Mr. Boymelgreen AT LEAST build above the cherished RKO Keith? A lobby is a head without brains! Please share your thoughts. Thank you!

NativeForestHiller commented about RKO Keith's Theatre on Jan 3, 2006 at 8:55 am

I meant “The” in my first sentence above. I am sorry that I do not have any current or semi-current photos of the RKO Keith. Perhaps the Theater Historical Society could be of help. Good luck!

NativeForestHiller commented about RKO Keith's Theatre on Jan 3, 2006 at 8:52 am

To KenRaniere & fellow members:

This Preservation League of NY has an extremely useful legislative action center. This might be integral in assisting anyone willing to salvage architectural elements/molds of plaster, or acquire permission to go inside & take photos. Please follow this link:

NativeForestHiller commented about Trylon Theater on Dec 31, 2005 at 8:10 pm

The most recent article documenting the Trylon Theater preservation effort was published on 12/29/05, & reported by Zach Patberg of the Forest Hills Ledger. It’s entitled “Work Stops on Trylon Renovation…Bad Permit Stops Trylon Work.”

View link

The renovation of the historic Trylon Theater has hit a snag after the city ordered the developer to stop work due to a faulty permit.

The property, at 98-81 Queens Blvd., also received a violation on Dec. 16 for doing work while the stop work order was still active, city Department of Buildings spokeswoman Ilyse Fink said.

The delay brought a glimmer of hope, or at least a hint of satisfaction, to a group of preservationists who have long protested the revamping of the Forest Hills theater, a relic of the 1939 World’s Fair that is slated to be converted to a Jewish community center.

Construction began last summer and the crew has so far gutted the interior, removed the mosaic tiles that lined the ticket booth and boarded up the windows. The preservation group, Committee to Save the Trylon, has been pushing for a reversal of this construction as well as a restoration of the Art Deco building’s marquee and glass block projection tower, which have been crumbling since the theater closed in 1999.

“To respect the Trylon’s significance and grandeur…a complete rebuilding of all destroyed architectural features is of utmost importance,” said Michael Perlman, the committee’s chairman.

Perlman, who led a rally in front of the theater in October, said he has recently asked the State Historic Preservation office to assess whether the Trylon was eligible for listing on the National Registrar for Historic Places. If so, the theater’s new owner and soon-to-be tenant, the Educational Center for Russian Jewry, would be required to limit renovation to state standards that preserve the building’s historical integrity and in return receive federal tax credit and other possible funding grants for the property.

Virginia Bartos, a Queens representative with the Preservation Office’s National Registrar and Survey Unit, said she was still waiting to hear from the Jewish center before conducting the assessment.

Messages left with the center went unreturned.

The stop work order, issued in April, was in response to a construction permit filed under the wrong owner, Fink said. An amended application was submitted and the stop work order taken away, but the property’s owner, 99th Street Realty, still cannot resume construction until it files for a new permit and hires new contractors, Fink said.

Robert Forester, of 99th Street Realty, would not comment on the stop worker order or the subsequent violation, saying the project was in the hands of the Jewish center.

According to Perlman, the city’s Landmark Preservation Commission has deemed the Trylon worthy of being landmarked – which would seriously restrict what work can be done on the building , but it would first need approval from Councilwoman Melinda Katz (D-Forest Hills). Calls made to the commission went unreturned.

Katz, who gave $200,000 to the center for renovation, has been reluctant to give her blessing to the landmarking, saying it would slow down construction. Yet a spokesman, James McClelland, said that landmarking starts with the landmarks commission and the councilwoman would follow its lead.