RKO Keith's Theatre

135-35 Northern Boulevard,
Flushing, NY 11354

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Showing 76 - 100 of 1,241 comments

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on November 14, 2013 at 11:44 am

SWC, I’m thankful that you’ve photographed surviving portions of the Keith’s interior, and that you’ve been kind enough to share them here. Please don’t withdraw any posts or photos based solely on the petty criticisms of others.

BobbyS on November 14, 2013 at 12:04 am

You would think so. The Indian culture is very ornate as well as the Chinese. They both show films in major cities, but I think the size of the RKO was against even their budgets. A cultural center is another matter. It is tailor made for that and should have been persuade.

Paul Noble
Paul Noble on November 13, 2013 at 12:13 pm

Have any Chinese or Indian movie chains or producers ever considered turning the Keith’s into a cultural center for the massive Asian communities of the Flushing area?

Shaw on November 13, 2013 at 10:54 am

First of all its screed, not skreed. CinemaTreasures even has spell check. And holes that were hammered through? They must have had a backhoe on the roof then. You could fit a 747 through some of those.

yanksali on November 12, 2013 at 4:26 pm

I went to the RKO Keith’s in Flushing virtually every Saturday as a kid in the 1950s to see sci fi movies. Fantastic place, and memories. Does anyone know how someone got to the offices on the second story? Some photos show law offices on the second story. Was there a separate door? I do not see any doorways on the outside of the building to permit someone to get to the second story. If anyone has a recollection of how access to the second floor offices was obtained, please share it.

Shaw on November 12, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Amazing survival my ass. The place is falling apart and has giant holes in the ceiling. Your pictures are pretty good though….if you were 5 years old.

paktype on August 21, 2013 at 2:23 pm

I think I saw a movie here very close to the closing date, but I can’t remember the name.

GlenBarrie on August 1, 2013 at 8:51 pm

This was my theater of the sixties, I can not count how many great movies I had seen there. It was a beautiful place. there is a depressing video tour of the place, found on You Tube. A ghost of its former self, the video is like revisiting the Titanic.

BobbyS on July 5, 2013 at 1:49 pm

I would imagine the money is not there for this project to start. Months & years later, this tarnished gem hangs on..

gd14lawn on June 13, 2013 at 3:11 am

Any word on the current status of this project?

SWCphotography on May 1, 2013 at 9:26 pm

I am absolutely convinced that there is nothing of
value left in the theatre

Jeffrey1955 on January 24, 2013 at 1:41 pm

In the case of the Paradise, it appears to be that the megachurch had megabucks that the owner couldn’t refuse. In the case of the Keith’s (and I suspect in most cases) it is politicians in the pocket of developers.

LuisV on January 24, 2013 at 11:54 am

And sometimes it is just poor management.

robboehm on January 24, 2013 at 10:45 am

Oft times it’s also building codes and permits that kill projects such as the theatre in Stapleton, Staten Island.

BobbyS on January 23, 2013 at 5:11 pm

I wonder why the Paradise did not make it as a music venure. They had such grand plans(like the King’s have). Maybe there is just so much money to go around for entertainment. I wonder if this is the same church that wanted to buy the Portage Theater in Chicago and was turned down. They also have the old Loew’s in Brookyln. I believe it was the Metropolitan.

Jeffrey1955 on January 23, 2013 at 1:50 pm

I somehow missed the fact that the resplendently restored Loew’s Paradise in the Bronx has been bought by a mega church, and construction workers there had already managed to start a fire on Nov. 5 that caused heavy smoke damage. It’s a shame that so few of these stories end in Happily Ever After.

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on January 23, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Having been inside both recently – the Kings is in much better shape, and will be much easier to restore. However, I don’t think the Keith’s is beyond repair. I hope that the development falls through and someone comes along to restore the theater.

Jeffrey1955 on January 23, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Look at the interior of the Loew’s Kings in Brooklyn and compare it to the shots of the Keith’s. Why is one being refurbished and the other considered a total loss? http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/loew-article-1.1245330

LugosiResearch on December 29, 2012 at 8:47 pm

On Tuesday 30 January 1951, Bela “Dracula” Lugosi presented his in person Horror and Magic Stage show at RKO Keiths. Currently I am conducting research on all things Lugosi; if anyone out there actually saw this show and/or has memorabilia (poster, handbill, photos) related to this show, please contact Bill at Thanks in advance for any assistance!

SWCphotography on December 4, 2012 at 1:22 am

Center Proscenium with damage evident
Developer instructions:
demolish, subdivide and replace with sheetrock

BobbyS on December 2, 2012 at 10:24 pm

The fact that the RKO Keith’s is still standing today is truely amazing to me. After all the years and all the drama, this grand lady refuses to give up…..

WilliamMcQuade on December 2, 2012 at 1:09 pm

This saga will never end. Not content with destroying the Loews Triboro, Democrat Donald Manes (Queens Borough President) turned down landmark designation for the full theater. He gave a sop to preservationists by designating the lobby only. Flash forward to today . This & the Triboru were the result of political shady deals .I worked on both preservation efforts & would never waste my time like this again.

SWCphotography on December 1, 2012 at 11:17 pm

After 26 years of neglect there has been
a lot of damage to this theatre.
But then there are two sides to every coin:

BobbyS on October 5, 2012 at 12:32 pm

This is just like the serials that I am sure played at this theater in the 1930’s Saturday after Saturday always with"to be continued" theme. Finacing problems seems to be the problem in many start-up projects, especially entertainment venues. This “poor theater” has gone through so much in the last 30 years.

LuisV on October 5, 2012 at 12:12 pm

The theater still stands even though all approvals are in place for construction to begin. As per below, the developer is in arrears on taxes and must come up with about half a million before he can begin. He does not yet have financing lined up. The fun never stops. This article is from the Queens Times Ledger:

RKO owner paying back tax man

The owner of the crumbling RKO Keith’s Theatre in downtown Flushing still owes more than $380,000 in unpaid back taxes and entered into a payment plan earlier this year to prevent the city from putting a lien on the property.

Developer Patrick Thompson is seeking to build a 16-story, mixed-use building around the landmarked lobby of the historic theater, at 135-35 Northern Blvd., and is trying to secure finances to get a shovel in the ground at the site of the $160 million project.

In March, TimesLedger Newspapers reported Thompson owed the city Department of Finance nearly $400,000 for 2011 unpaid property taxes. In April, Thompson entered into a payment plan in order to balance the books. At that time, he owed about $373,600, according to Finance.

But the most current records show Thompson still owes about $385,000 — which is actually $11,500 more than the initial balance when he entered into the agreement, according to department records.

“He’s on the way to paying it,” said Michael Nussbaum, spokesman for Thompson.

According to the department, if the developer had not entered into a payment plan before May 17, the city would have placed the property on its tax lien sale list, meaning that a third party could have potentially taken possession of the land.

Not only does Thompson need to fork over installments to chip away at the outstanding balance, he also needs to pay taxes for this current year. In total, if he were to pay off everything he owes for the payment plan and his current taxes for the rest of the year, the developer would be required to write a check for roughly $500,000 to the city, records show. That is more than double the yearly property tax value of the parcel.

The hefty bill comes at a time when the community is questioning the theater’s fate, since Thompson received all the required approvals to start building in May, but still does not have enough funding to start construction.

“We’re still proceeding with the financing, and they are still proceeding to get the thing done,” Nussbaum said of the project, adding that there has long been an unnamed developer Thompson has partnered with for the project.

The most recent approval from the Federal Aviation Administration is valid until October 2013. If Thompson does not start building by then, the FAA will have to go through another review process to determine if the proposal poses a threat to aviation, since the structure lies in the glide path of LaGuardia Airport.