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There will be 3 more articles coming out shortly, regarding the Trylon; Tribune, Newsday, & FH/Times Ledger. Today’s Queens Chronicle article can be viewed at the following link:
As of April 4th, a Department of Buildings inspector said that the Trylon has a construction violation (which is still active). On Apr 11th, a STOP WORK ORDER was issued, & it is still in effect. Despite the stop work order, demolition men started demolishing the entrance pavilion & gutting the interior on July 26th. Hmmm… It’s also really strange that the latest article in the Queens Chronicle didn’t quote anything relating to the Stop Work Order.
Freelance reporter Nicholas Hirshon wrote an article in the 21st anniversary issue of Qns Courier last week (Sept 21; page 148), entitled “Trylon Demolition Raises Questions.” It should be available online shortly. It refers to the active construction violation & the stop work order at the Trylon, which is still in effect!
URGENT: Please click on the following link to sign a petition to save the ‘39 Trylon Theater:
To: Robert Tierney (Chair, NY Landmarks Preservation Commission) & Melinda Katz (Councilwoman, District 29)
The signers of this petition agree that the 1939 Art Deco/Moderne Trylon Theater (98-81 Queens Blvd, Forest Hills, NY) is one of the last standing structures which has a strong cultural, historical, & architectural significance to the 1939 World’s Fair, with its “Trylon & Perisphere” monuments. On behalf of residents and historical societies, it is of utmost importance to halt further demolition, restore what was lost during the conversion, preserve this icon, and officially landmark this truly rare gem of a theater!!!
For Trylon Theater then & now visuals, please follow these 2 links: http://cinematreasures.org/news/13577_0_1_0_C/
For Trylon Theater postings on this site, please follow:
I am happy to report that today’s Trylon Theater preservation event in Forest Hills was well-attended by community residents and out-of-towners, historians and preservationists, and the media. Thank you for such informative lectures, & a special thanks to all who participated! – Committee To Save The Trylon, Founder
I took the above (“Before”) photos on Dec 31, 1999, shortly after the Trylon Theater closed, & after celebrating its 60th anniversary on Dec 26, 1999. Thank you for sharing your theater memories with us.
Hi Robert & all Cinema Treasures friends, Hope you can all attend the meeting/community gathering at 68-12 Ingram St on Sat, Sept 24th, which I believe starts at 3 PM (as noted on my invitation). We can all voice our opinion regarding the Trylon, & I am confident that something CAN be done. This is an URGENT PRESERVATION MATTER. Did you all check out the photos of the Trylon “then” & “now” posted under the news category on this site? Please RSVP
The following article from the City section of the N.Y. Times just came out today. If you pay close attention to the comments made by M. Katz & the Landmarks Preservation Commission throughout various Trylon newspaper articles you’ve seen, you would find that the landmarking issue changes quite often (A little too often!).
FOR AN ART MODERNE THEATER, A STRUGGLE OVER ACT II
The New York Times
By JEFF VANDAM
Published: September 18, 2005
When readers of a movie industry publication called Theatre Catalog scanned the 1941 edition for a listing for the two-year-old Trylon Theater in Forest Hills, Queens, they learned it was a “striking and modern” cinema named for a World’s Fair monument, complete with a stone and glass tower that lit up Queens Boulevard at night.
Today, the Trylon is crumbling. The marquee, which once trumpeted “The Wizard of Oz” as its premiere film, is blank and broken. Plywood walls of construction, plastered with posters for a Tupac Shakur album, have replaced the ticket booth and the entrance.
The theater, closed since 1999, is being converted into a home for the Educational Center for Russian Jewry, a community space to serve the area’s growing population of Bukharan Jews. Yet local preservationists claim that historic elements of the theater, on Queens Boulevard near 99th Street, are being lost in renovation.
“They’ve already torn out the whole lower facade,” said John Jurayj, co-chairman of the Modern Architecture Working Group. “It was a completely intact Art Moderne entryway. I’m trying to think of what other things there are in this style, and I kind of draw a blank.”
This summer, Forest Hills residents formed the Committee to Save the Trylon Theater, led by Michael Perlman, a journalist and preservationist who lives nearby. This weekend, the committee, which according to Mr. Perlman has 75 to 100 members, was sponsoring a meeting featuring presentations on the theater by historians.
“When the demolition men started smashing the ticket booth with a jackhammer,” Mr. Perlman said, referring to construction he saw under way in July, “that’s when I became furious.”
Efforts to have the theater designated as a landmark, however, have thus far come up short. According to Robert Tierney, chairman of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the theater has been considered for landmark status but never been the subject of a vote. For various reasons, he said, it does not meet the commission’s landmark criteria.
Nahum Kazev, a spokesman for the Educational Center for Russian Jewry, declined to comment on the renovations because, he said, that work was still under way. But in the opinion of City Councilwoman Melinda Katz, who represents the area, being able to renovate the theater without restrictions would save both time and money.
“It’s a much-needed center for the Bukharan community, and I look forward to working with them,” Ms. Katz said. “I’m just not sure at this time if landmarking just the front of the building would be the best for the community.”
Despite the dispute and the construction, the Trylon was silent on a recent visit. Pigeons flew in and out of missing sections in the marquee, and a young girl ran up to the plywood and scrawled a message in black ink where moviegoers once bought tickets. The message: “Love always, Delilah.”
The following is an article that is available to subscribed Times Ledger members, but as a result of the importance of the Trylon Theater preservation effort, and its dilemma, I feel it should be available to all. You can try following the link, or read the article below. It appeared in the Forest Hills Ledger, in addition to affiliate newspapers. First are my thoughts regarding the article.
(Even if we can prove that there is enough support to preserve the Trylon’s key architectural features, such as the facade & marquee, I still feel M. Katz will not give in. I do not know what M. Katz was talking about when she said “It would need so much work to make it look half as decent as it originally did.” I personally feel that it would right now, since the entrance pavilion was already gutted. Prior to the demolition, every mosaic tile was intact, but only the marquee needed some work, as evident in my photos on this website.) *PLEASE REACH OUT & HELP. Thank you! Contact
“Rehab On Old Trylon Draws Fire: Preservationists Want Theater In Forest Hills Landmarked"
By Zach Patberg
The renovation of the Trylon Theater has once again sparked protest from some who worry that what made the Forest Hills relic a centerpiece in history will soon be lost at the hands of new construction.
“It’s absolutely essential that if something is done, it be done immediately,” said Mitchell Grubler, executive director of the Queens Historical Society.
Work on the Queens Boulevard theater, which opened in 1939 during the New York World’s Fair, began this summer after it was announced last year that The Educational Center for Russian Jewry would be moving in.
For most, the reopening comes as a blessing. Since its closing in 1999, the World War II-era movie house has deteriorated into a ghost-like structure, with a crumbling marquee, garbage on the lobby floor and graffiti on the outer walls.
A volunteer for the incoming Bukharian community center, David Alishaev, said the center will try to preserve as much as possible, such as the balcony and stage, but that most of the theater, including the facade and marquee, will be completely changed in the next two months.
“It’s been an eyesore for six years,” Alishaev said. “There’s no way, no point, to keep it how it is. It will look so much better.”
But Michael Perlman, a local preservationist, said he realized the renovation had gone too far when he witnessed the demolition of the Art Deco mosaic tile on the ticket booth in July. What has followed, he said, is a boarded-up entrance pavilion and a gutted interior. Before its dismantling, the ticket booth featured the theater’s symbol — a marbleized trylon that paid tribute to the 610-foot high one at the 1939 World’s Fair in Flushing.
“It was heartbreaking,” Perlman said. He has since joined the movement started last year to landmark the theater’s exterior and pavilion. That goal has not materialized, however, partly because Councilwoman Melinda Katz (D-Forest Hills), who has allocated more than $200,000 for the new center, is reluctant to give her approval.
Katz questioned whether the theater in its current condition should be landmarked. “The outside would need so much work to make it look even half as nice as it did originally,” she said.
A spokeswoman at the city Landmarks Preservation Commission acknowledged that a building rarely gets landmarked without the local Council member’s blessing.
“So often the problem with restoring an old building properly is finding a use and funding,” said Grubler. “Here there is a use and plenty of funding to do it right. If the owner was at all enlightened he’d hire an architect who is sympathetic to the theater’s original features.”
I thought this would be of interest. Please follow this link, and help me, the founding member of the Committee To Save The Trylon Theater, to halt the theater from further demolition.
Similar articles have been published in the Queens Ledger, Queens Courier, Queens Chronicle, Forest Hills Times, Leader/Observer, Glendale Register, & the LIC – Astoria – Jackson Heights Journal.
Anyone interested in joining the committee, please e-mail Preservationist/Journalist, Michael, at
Hi Joe Clark & my other theater enthusiast friends!!! Every so often, you can find a Grand Central Theatre postcard on Ebay.
***It is not too late too call Councilwoman Melinda Katz at (718) 544-8800 or e-mail her at
Please follow this Queens Chronicle link:
Please read this: “While John Jurayj of the HDC accused City Councilwoman Melinda Katz of not supporting landmarking, her office said the issue has not yet come up for a vote.” HMMMM……
Also, according to the article, it says that the Trylon’s inlaid mosaic tile floor is intact, which is a misprint.
VERY URGENT/PRESERVATION ALERT: Community Calls for A Halt To Further Demolition of The Trylon Theater:
A 1939 Worldâ€\s Fair Historic Gem!!!
FOREST HILLS, N.Y. (August 10, 2005) â€" Members of the community of Forest Hills and others are appalled at the plight of their 1939 Art Deco/Art Moderne Trylon Theater, located at 98-81 Queens Blvd, in Forest Hills. The historic theater is being demolished day by day, and unsympathetically converted into a Bukharian center. Many Forest Hills, Rego Park, as well as residents in other boroughs, feel strongly about the preservation of the historic Trylon Theater. It was heartbreaking to see demolition men smashing the Art Deco mosaic tiles on the ticket booth with a jack hammer, boarding up and dismantling the entrance pavilion, and gutting the interior.
The Trylon Theater is one of the last standing architectural, cultural, & historical gems that bear strong significance to the 1939 World’s Fair. The theme of the fair was the â€œWorld of Tomorrow,â€ and exhibits were intended to emphasize how technology would make life better for everyone. The fairâ€\s enduring image was the â€œTrylon and Perisphere.â€ The exterior and interior of the Trylon Theater bear resemblance to the Trylon pyramid and the Perisphere globe. One of the most striking features of the Trylon Theater is the exterior box office and floor, which contains mosaic inlaid tiles, depicting the design of the 1939 Worldâ€\s Fair â€œTrylon.â€
It is of utmost importance to have the Trylon Theaterâ€\s faÃ§ade and entrance pavilion landmarked, and to restore what was lost during the ill-conceived conversion.
Those involved in the public funding as well as the administration and programming for the Bukharian center should adhere to the concept of preservation of this neighborhood icon, rather than demolition.
â€œThe historical and architectural significance of the Trylon calls out for an architect who is sensitive and respectful of the original features, while adapting the site to a Bukharian center,â€ said Mitchell Grubler, Executive director of the Queens Historical Society. Act now!
**To lend your support: Please contact
VERY URGENT: Community Calls for A Halt To Further Demolition of The Trylon Theater:
A 1939 Worldâ€\s Fair Historic Gem!!!
Citywide Effort To Halt Demolition of The Trylon Theater: A 1939 Art Deco Queens Landmark
REGO PARK, NY (August 10, 2005) – Since its closure in late 1999, community groups, historic preservationists, and the local media have tried to clarify the fate of the iconic Trylon Theater, located at 98-81 Queens Boulevard.
Sadly, the property is now undergoing profound alteration for its new use as a social services facility for the Bukharian community. At this writing, the entrance pavilion has been walled off, faÃ§ade features have been destroyed, and the interior is being gutted. Original painted murals, decorative tilework depicting the Trylon and Perisphere (the 1939 New York World’s Fair symbols), and marquee elements have all been destroyed and no salvage is being conducted.
Appeals to NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission and NYC Councilwoman Melinda Katz to halt the destruction and achieve a preservation-minded adaptive reuse plan for the defunct theater have been unsuccessful thus far. The Art Deco Society of New York (ADSNY) and the Historic Districts Council (HDC) have spearheaded the effort to intervene — even at this late stage — to protect the outstanding and unique Art Deco property.
The Trylon Theater, designed by Joseph Unger, reflects the cultural impact of the 1939 World’s Fair and its theme of “The World of Tomorrow,” in decorative tiles, murals, and overall aesthetics. The streamlined Art Deco property is a rare surviving neighborhood movie theater due to the loss of hundreds of such buildings in New York and meets criteria to become a designated and protected Historic Landmark.
URGENT UPDATE (Please read): Many Forest Hills and Rego Park, NY residents feel strongly about the preservation of the Art Deco/Moderne Trylon Theater (98-81 Queens Blvd). However, last week it was heartbreaking to see demolition men smashing the Art Deco mosaic tiles on the ticket booth with a jack hammer, & boarding up the entrance pavillion. It is going to be converted into a Bukharian Center. I tried contacting the NY Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to have at least the facade landmarked, since it is one of the LAST STANDING architectural & historical gems that bear strong significance to the 1939 World’s Fair. The LPC told me that they are aware of it, and they’re concerned as well, but they are slow in acting. They advised me to also contact other historical societies/preservation groups, and spread the word. Hopefully, we can have the Trylon theater landmarked, and possibly coordinate a fundraiser to restore the exterior. I understand that the demolition of the RKO Keith Theatre in Flushing was halted by the city a little while ago, & is currently undergoing a restoration.
I was informed by a higher official that there is still a chance that the 1939 historic Trylon Theater can be saved, designated a landmark, & then a fundraiser/restoration can be organized. The only factor that is “preventing landmark designation” from the NY Landmarks Preservation Commission is a signature from local councilwoman, “Melinda Katz,” who is reluctant to give her approval. We need detailed letters, phone calls, & E-mails to Councilwoman Melinda Katz. It is not too late to convince her to reverse her decision! (This has to be a LOCAL & NATIONWIDE effort)
**CONTACT ASAP (1ST): COUNCILWOMAN MELINDA KATZ
104-01 METROPOLITAN AVE
FOREST HILLS, N.Y. 11375-6735
PLEASE CC: ROBERT B. TIERNEY, CHAIR
NYC LANDMARKS PRESERVATION COMMISSION
1 CENTRE ST, 9TH FLOOR
NEW YORK, NY 10007
PHONE/FAX: (212) 669-7955
Co-Chair of the Modern Architecture Working Group & Historic Districts Council would like to be contacted as well, so he can keep track of how many letters are being sent:
John Jurayj: E-mail:
URGENT (Please read): Many Forest Hills and Rego Park, NY residents feel strongly about the preservation of the Art Deco/Moderne Trylon Theater (98-81 Queens Blvd). However, last week it was heartbreaking to see demolition men smashing the Art Deco mosaic tiles on the ticket booth with a jack hammer, & boarding up the entrance pavillion. It is going to be converted into a Bukharian Center. I tried contacting the NY Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to have at least the facade landmarked, since it is one of the LAST STANDING architectural & historical gems that bear strong significance to the 1939 World’s Fair. The LPC told me that they are aware of it, and they’re concerned as well, but they are slow in acting. They advised me to also contact other historical societies/preservation groups, and spread the word. Hopefully, we can have the Trylon theater landmarked, and possibly coordinate a fundraiser to restore the exterior. I understand that the demolition of the RKO Keith Theatre in Flushing was halted by the city a little while ago, & is currently undergoing a restoration.
Another case in which those evil landlords win out, & another failure for the Landmarks Preservation Commission!!! We don’t have too many theaters left around the city that were erected in mid-century modernism. A DAMN SHAME!!!!!
How could anyone be so cruel to destroy such a work of art in such a brutal way?!? I’m highly anticipating the completed Keith Theatre project. Can’t wait to tour it! A victory is finally being achieved!!! (If only that applied to more Queens theaters)
For my collection, it would mean a lot to me if someone can please send me some scans showing the Elmwood Theatre as a work in progress. My e-mail is
P.S. The theatre itself was first built around 1907. Around 1910-1915, it housed “Cafe Madrid” at its base, which was most likely a cabaret venue.