Elmwood Theatre

57-02 Hoffman Drive,
Elmhurst, NY 11373

Unfavorite 23 people favorited this theater

Showing 51 - 75 of 184 comments

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 18, 2007 at 11:03 am

And a rare view at the marquee and rooftop signage (obscured though the latter may be) featuring the Queensboro name.

Bway on January 18, 2007 at 9:38 am

Wow. Just look at Queens Blvd in the distance!

Jeffrey1955 on January 18, 2007 at 9:38 am

What the heck is this? A post that’s NOT about the RKO Keith’s Flushing?

youngnyer1 on January 18, 2007 at 9:30 am

Here is a photo of the theater taken sometime between 1939 and 1941, though the photo was most likely taken in 1941. The theater at that time was known as the “Queensboro.” The marquee and lobby displays are empty, so apparently the theater was closed at the time. Perhaps around now the theater was renamed the “Elmwood.”

This photo is from the NYC Municipal Archives collection. Between 1939 and 1941 from 700,000 photos were taken by the City of New York for tax purposes.

Please check my comments to see more photos from this collection.

View link

ShortyC on December 8, 2006 at 4:15 am

This is just wrong. I too am surprised that they didn’t take advantage of the tax credits. The Rock Church is pretty much erasing history. I really hope they keep the Elmwood sign and even light it up (if that doesn’t happen then I just lose all hope and there should be a community dispute if that were to happen). I would have expected a different outcome coming from a religious institution.

NativeForestHiller on December 3, 2006 at 10:33 am

I passed by on Friday and saw the intact detail on the very top being stuccoed over. More exterior elements are being concealed, and it’s just getting worse. Sorry to share this bad news. has anyone tried contacting the Rock Church? Please let me know.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on November 29, 2006 at 4:57 pm

Warren… take a look at some of the photos of the Elmwood from my photo album here. I took these in October and included some close-up shots. I tried to look at them optimistically, just as you do now… but the evidence doesn’t look good. I think they’re going for a cheap makeover of the exterior facade and looking to avoid the possibility of landmark designation – which many property owners see as a burden.

Bway on November 29, 2006 at 4:11 pm

Are you kidding? The building has been stuccoed over. The terra-cotta that was not removed is now ruined under a layer of concrete. The only original ornamentation is at the top, which yes, does look to be cleaned, but the rest of the building is destroyed.

NativeForestHiller on November 29, 2006 at 12:14 pm

I’m not too sure of the technical aspects entirely, but I know that religious institutions have taken advantage of programs put out by the NY State Historic Preservation Office (State/Nat'l Register). Grants from the Sacred Funds Program have been provided to various religious institutions who wish to restore their buildings.

Jeffrey1955 on November 29, 2006 at 11:06 am

How can the Rock Church take advantage of tax credits? They’re a church — they don’t pay any taxes.

NativeForestHiller on November 29, 2006 at 9:44 am

When I called up the construction company (that walked off the job), they said the Rock Church wanted a more modern design for the facade & then agreed that it looked better before. The top portion might stay, but the terra cotta work, lintels, and tiles are being modernized with stucco. I assume it’s less costly rather than repairing what was there. However, I am baffled as to why they wouldn’t take advantage of tax credits & state matching grants for rehabilitating the facade properly.

Warren, your assessment is optimistic. Did you call up the Rock Church & find out? They might reveal more info to you, since they know you better. I recall that you visited a couple of times a few months back. Please let us know what happens. Thanks!

NativeForestHiller on November 27, 2006 at 11:01 am

Here are some photos from the recent Forgotten NY tour of Elmhurst:


Scroll down ¼ & see current photos & a description documenting the desecration of the Elmwood Theatre’s facade. They promised to restore the facade in 2003. This development is an appalling, particularly coming from a religious institution. They might call themsleves Rock Church of “Faith Ministries,” but I have no faith in them! They turned their back on the community & now they deserve the same!!!! The previous contractor walked off the job since they never paid him for his work. He agrees that it looked better before, and felt bad they made him do it. The Rock Church is a pack of lies & filled with controversy! SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!

Bway on November 2, 2006 at 4:44 am

Holy crap!!!!! it’s a complete sin what they are doing! they completely destroyed the front of the building!

They have completely DESTROYED the terracotta for some cheap looking “brickface” covering! How in the world can they have done such a thing!! They have cemented into the terracotta where it hasn’t been removed! It’s a travesty!! Shame on them!! The photos are horrifying!

It’s an abomination!!
View link

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on November 1, 2006 at 5:06 am

Thanks for posting those links, Michael. I meant to do so myself, but I’ve been so busy (in fact, I thought I already had posted them)! I took those shots a couple of weeks ago as workers were slopping on the stucco material around the old stage housing area. I approached a group of them to inquire as to the nature of the exterior restoration – particularly with respect to the decorative lintels that had been removed. I was told to speak with someone inside the church.

I entered via the current temporary entrance (the former rear orchestra fire exit on 57th Drive) and found a young gentleman seated at a folding table against the side wall just inside the inner door. There was some sort of classroom activity going on just behind the gentleman at the rear of the orchestra where similar folding tables were set up. Since there were children in attendance, I was understandably asked by the gentleman to hold our conversation in the small exit vestibule through which I had just entered. I was only able to take a brief glimpse at the work being done to the auditorium. The room is brightly lit and painted in white. My view was limited to the rear orchestra, with the balcony overhang obscuring the cieling and proscenium work. The most notable feature that caught my eye would be the wrought iron balustrades at the rear of the mezzanine level, overlooking the rear orchestra.

Once in the vestibule, I explained that I was a resident of Elmhurst in my youth and had attended many a movie at the old theater and would be interested in taking a quick tour of the theater and discussing restoration plans with someone in authority, whenever it was convenient for the church. He suggested I call the number posted on the marquee and try to make for arrangements. He didn’t give me any particular names to ask for, but suggested I call around 6pm or so. My schedule has not allowed me to follow through on that suggestion yet, but when I do, I’ll be sure to post about it right here.

From the looks of things, I’m not encouraged about the prospects of a true exterior restoration. The stuff they are applying to the exterior reminds me of the old “Garden State Brick Face” material that used to be advertised all over local TV for quick and cheap exterior home remodeling back in the ‘70’s and '80’s. It’s a substance that is applied to any facade in a thick layer and then sculpted and painted to give the appearance of whatever style the customer wants. In the case of the Elmwood/Rock Church, seems to me like it is being carved into the look of faux limestone. And then with those new colonial looking window frames… Sigh. A real disappointment.

NativeForestHiller on October 31, 2006 at 6:30 pm

Welcome to Cinema Treasures, “Amazing Grace.” The Elmwood Theatre’s exterior is no way near to being restored. It’s being completely concealed with lackluster stucco. 2002, 2003, & early 2006 news stories gave residents & enthusiasts a FALSE SENSE OF HOPE. Why conceal beautiful terra cotta, lintels, & tilework that had superb craftsmanship? The proof is as follows:

View link

The following 2 photos illustrate my observations to a tee:

View link

View link

This is not a restoration but a devastation. Why should the Rock Church lie to the community? :( Please verify this. The community wants answers.

MiamiRock on October 31, 2006 at 5:52 pm

Hi, I just registered…almost accidently but really out of curiousity. I have been with The Rock since the “basement” days 1998 to be exact. I would love to know who CP is???
Not only have we moved into these two outstanding facilities but we’ve extended ourselves into the heart of Miami, Florida. Following the vision originally given to us…a church in every city, in every state, across the world. The leadership is quite cautious in only seeking and taking direction from above. For those waiting to see, no worries! You will soon behold the GLORY of His strong hand. At this safe haven for our communities, they truly not only restore buildings (as mentioned in a earlier passage) they restore lives…one by one. Warren, your reviews are great!

NativeForestHiller on October 16, 2006 at 7:07 pm

Thank you very much, Ed!!! I will try contacting the center again, while referencing the lofty 2002/2003 facade ambitions in both papers. If you haven’t already done so, please don’t forget to contact the center to inquire, so I won’t be the only one. Thanks! I am debating over whether to send out a press release. I want to have substantial and accurate information first.

RobertR on October 16, 2006 at 8:13 am

It will match the tacky mall across the street perfectly

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 16, 2006 at 6:35 am

Here are a pair of photos taken by Mike Perlman (our own NativeForestHiller) as he was passing by on a bus the other day:

Shot 1
Shot 2

I’ll leave it to him to comment further on these, but I think he’s unsure as to whether the missing lintels are intended to be replaced or if they are gone forever. Workers might be preparing the facade for the presumably cleaned and restored lintels to be re-installed. What is so frustrating is the lack of comment by the Church on exactly what the plans entail for exterior renovation.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 12, 2006 at 4:53 am

Such lofty and noble ambitions back in 2002/2003. It’s not encouraging that Community Board memeber Nick Pennachio didn’t think the building “wasn’t that beautiful.” I’d love to have Nicholas Hirshon conduct an interview with the Pastor and ask her exactly what plans are for the building’s exterior and how they reconcile with initial designs to keep it largely intact.

NativeForestHiller on October 11, 2006 at 10:27 pm

A July 17, 2003 article in the Queens Chronicle:

View link

It says the RC is excited about moving into the historical building. The classic Elmwood sign will stay, & a “surprise” will be added to the front. Hmm…

According to a March 28, 2002 Queens Chronicle article, Pastor Lydia Winthrow said “most of the two-story building’s external structure will remain intact.” This also makes me wonder. Please access the following:

View link

NativeForestHiller on October 11, 2006 at 9:33 pm

…And here’s a large photo that I found on flickr, showing early signs of the exterior work underway (without any detail removed):


NativeForestHiller on October 11, 2006 at 9:24 pm

I took photos while passing the Elmwood on a bus, & will share it with everyone shortly. I will try calling the Elmwood’s Rock Church once again, & see what they have to say concerning the historic facade elements presently chiseled off. I advise fellow members to do the same, so I’m not the only one calling in.

According to a 9/14/06 CraigsList posting, the Rock Church is seeking interns, and needs sound & video lighting for what they refer to as “a beautifully renovated historic theater.” While our wishes for the restored auditorium may have been granted, it baffles me as to how they can refer to it as “beautiful” & “historic,” and fail to restore the exterior as well (from what I’m observing). Please follow: View link

I think the classic Elmwood sign will stay, but then again, there’s no telling what may happen without landmark status. It might be a good idea for the sign to get designated. Thanks, “ShortyC!” I’ll consider it based on a few more calls.

I recall the tilework on the Sunnyside elevated removed in the late 1990’s, & cleaned and reinstalled. Does anyone think that the Elmwood would remove the terra cotta lintels and tilework above & in between the windows, clean/repair them, and reinstall it at the site? I rarely see restoration conducted in that manner. It would be a miracle (but since I see stucco being applied to the now unadorned facade, I doubt it).

ShortyC on October 10, 2006 at 9:27 am

Why not try to maybe write a letter or something or petition to save the sign. Is there anyway that the sign can become a landmark? Thanks