Trylon Theater

98-81 Queens Boulevard,
Rego Park, NY 11374

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Showing 101 - 125 of 200 comments

NativeForestHiller on May 3, 2006 at 1:02 pm

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: .gov, .gov, .gov, and copy on all correspondences.

Cumulatively, we’re up to 1600 signers. Please sign our ongoing online petition, if you haven’t already done so:

PKoch on May 3, 2006 at 4:29 am

Thanks for the link to that image, RobertR !

Regarding the loss of the Trylon, as “Cool Hand Luke” had said, was what we had there a failure to communicate ?

RobertR on May 2, 2006 at 12:16 pm

A picture from better days
View link

NativeForestHiller on April 29, 2006 at 11:04 pm

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.

View link

uncleal923 on April 25, 2006 at 5:31 pm

I did not have to read that whole thing above to realize how sad it is. These old theaters should be preserved.

NativeForestHiller on April 16, 2006 at 9:30 pm

A letter to the editor as noted in the 4/13 Queens Chronicle:

Trylon Landmarking

Dear Editor:

Regarding Rick Archer’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 Queens’ residents.

Thomas Killeen,
Kew Gardens

NativeForestHiller on April 7, 2006 at 7:43 pm

Forest Hills Ledger (Times Ledger) April 6, 2006:

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.

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.”

NativeForestHiller on April 7, 2006 at 7:35 pm

According to the Queens Chronicle, April 6, 2006:

Landmarks Commission Rejects Trylon Theater

The Landmarks Preservation Commission has turned down the application to landmark the Trylon Theater in Forest Hills, but preservation advocates vowed to continue their efforts.

In a letter to Councilwoman Melinda Katz, Landmarks Commission Chairman Robert Tierney said the 67 year old Queens Boulevard theater “does not meet the criteria for designation,” and the request would not be sent to the full commission for consideration.
The decision was based on the findings of a committee of senior staff members, which found the theater had been altered too extensively to be eligible for landmarks status, said Diane Jackier, the commission’s director of communication and government affairs.

Michael Perlman, chairman of the Committee to Save the Trylon Theater, disagreed with the decision. “It pretty much goes against the premise of the landmarks preservation law, since the building has artistic, historic and cultural value,” he said. The building still has its facade, its illuminated projection tower, and its mosaic tile floor, which are distinctive enough to merit landmark status, he said. “We are dismayed that the LPC has chosen to disregard a highly significant landmark, confirming a consensus among preservationists that Queens continues to get the backdoor,” Perlman said in a statement.

He also criticized Katz, whom he feels obstructed the bid by opposing landmarking for the movie house. Katz did not return a call for comment, but said in a press release: “We continue to work with Chairman Robert Tierney and the Landmarks Commission to create historic districts and designate landmarks that do meet the criteria for designation and preserve those areas for future generations to enjoy.”

Perlman said the committee would remain in business and would continue to circulate the petition it startedâ€"which now has 1,600 signaturesâ€"in the hopes of changing the commission’s mind. “We have to prove to the landmarks commission just how important this issue is,” he said.

Built during the 1939 World’s Fair, the Trylon Theater epitomized art deco and art moderne styles with its streamlined design. At the end of 1999, the theater’s lease expired and it closed down for good, only days after its 60th anniversary. The building was then sold to the Education Center for Russian Jewry, which planned to convert it into a cultural youth center for Queens’ rapidly growing Bukharian population. The center has reportedly promised to preserve the theater’s marquee and projection tower. Center officials did not return a call seeking comment.

NativeForestHiller on April 7, 2006 at 7:25 pm

For a recent Trylon Theater news story, entitled “Trylon Theater Denied Landmark Status,” please follow:

A Daily News article can be accessed through that link as well.

NativeForestHiller on April 5, 2006 at 8:23 pm

Thursday, March 30, 2006 (as appeared in Queens Ledger, Queens Chronicle, etc)
Letter: Katz-call for Local Councilwoman and LPC

Dear Editor:
Councilwoman Melinda Katz’s call for a City Council oversight hearing regarding the workings of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) appears, on the surface, to be admirable and long overdue, considering the sluggish and snobbish attitude that LPC has displayed in regard to our borough of Queens. The LPC has proven by its own record, with respect to the numerical pittance of designations in our borough, that they have discriminated against Queens. While Manhattan has the lion’s share of landmarks, Queens has been tossed table scraps.
It’s not that Queens is less deserving; we’re only less deserving in terms of the time and resources that LPC wishes to allocate for its country cousins. One cannot blame them entirely, though. They have been gun-shy in the past considering how many of their designations were overturned by the old Donald Manes and Claire Shulman administrations. Indeed, the “Shul-Manes” administration proved its support for unbridled development and anti-preservation for well over a quarter of a century.
Currently, however, the borough’s bulldozer is still rolling, driven this time by Melinda Katz, chair of the City Council Land Use Committee. Her list of campaign contributors reads like a “Who’s Who” of developers, real estate managers, prominent politically connected lawyers, and sleazy political action committees. Katz’s LPC oversight hearing is just a crude smokescreen to deflect attention to her role as an accomplice in destroying the character and quality of life in our Queens neighborhoods by supporting over-development, while being well-funded by her friends, the builders.
This is precisely why, for example, the landmark-worthy Trylon Theater in Forest Hills is not being landmarked. She’s “waiting” for Robert Tierney, chairman of LPC, to designate, but Tierney won’t until he gets the nod that Katz will support the designation. In other words, we have a battle of the chairs between Tierney of Landmarks and Katz of Land Use. Both need to get their behinds off their chairs and stop playing political ping-pong, or else Queens will continue to be the loser.


Jerry Rotondi
Committee to Save Flushing Keith’s Theatre, Inc.

NativeForestHiller on April 1, 2006 at 8:32 pm

Stage I: Landmark-worthy Trylon Theater Gets Denied, & Swarmed with CM Katz & LPC Contradictions

FOREST HILLS, N.Y. (March 31, 2006) â€" According to the March 31, 2006 article in the N.Y. Daily News entitled, “Theater Landmark Bid Gets Thumbs Down,” Chairman Tierney faxed a letter to Councilwoman Melinda Katz stating that the Trylon Theater at 98-81 Queens Blvd, Forest Hills, N.Y. does not meet its criteria for landmarking, and “will not be recommended to the full commission for further consideration as an individual landmark.” Katz responded, “I never thought that this was a building suitable for landmarking. I guess I’m just happy that Tierney made a decision, and now we move on.”

The Committee To Save The Trylon Theater (local residents, preservation groups, historical societies, community & civic groups) has been trying to encourage the Landmarks Preservation Commission to landmark the Art Deco/Moderne 1939 World’s Fair-inspired Trylon Theater, with its rare attributes (Streamlined Art Moderne facade, elliptical marquee & glass block projection tower which illuminates Queens Blvd, & the mosaic tile/terrazzo floor which bears a 3D mirror image of the Trylon monument, complemented by a chevron pattern).

Landmarks Preservation Commission Chairman Tierney had intentions of granting a hearing for the Trylon Theater as early as 2003. However, Councilwoman Melinda Katz’s inactivity and initial opposition to its possible landmarking, prolonged Mr. Tierney’s decision, since the LPC usually does not act without sufficient political support. Upon a few phone conversations between Michael Perlman & the LPC, and according to the Forest Hills Ledger (Jan 26, 2006), when emphasizing the Trylon’s rare architectural, cultural, & historical attributes, Chairman Tierney states: “I agree that the Trylon qualifies under all conditions as a NYC landmark. I request a note from Councilwoman Katz’s office, indicating her consent of a hearing and that she supports my landmarking notions, since Katz opposed from the very beginning.”

CM Katz’s opposition is further documented as follows: The NY Times (9/18/05): CM 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. Being able to renovate the theater without restrictions, would save both time and money.” Queens Chronicle (8/18/05): John Jurayj, Historic Districts Council board member/Co-chair of Modern Architecture Working Group, said “The HDC & Modern Architecture has been asking for it to be landmarked for 2 years,” and accused Katz of not supporting landmarking. Mitchell Grubler, Exec. Dir. Of the Queens Historical Society, wrote a letter to the editor, stating he was “outraged that Katz let it be known to the LPC that she opposed landmark protection, and they have thus taken a hands-off stand.” Forest Hills Ledger (9/8/05): 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.” Forest Hills Ledger (10/27/05): An LPC official commented “Rarely do buildings get landmarked without first acquiring the approval of the City Council representative.” (9/8/05): A LPC spokeswoman said “A building rarely gets landmarked without the local councilmember’s blessing.”

However, according to the Feb 2, 2006 Queens Gazette article entitled, “Trylon Landmarking: Unnecessary Confusion?” Councilwoman Katz claims she values its historical significance and favors landmark status: “Councilwoman Katz made it abundantly clear that she is in favor of landmarking the Trylon, which is agreed by all parties concerned, would include the building facade, its crystal tower, the theater marquee, and retain the Trylon name.” CM Katz then states “The Committee To Save The Trylon’s 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. I believe they want to do the right thing. 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.”

In conclusion, Michael Perlman states: “CM Katz never responded to a series of letters and phone calls from The Committee To Save The Trylon (her constituency) requesting a meeting since July 2005. A councilwoman charged with representing the people, once again leaves her constituency baffled. We are also dismayed that the LPC has chosen to disregard a highly significant landmark, confirming a consensus among preservationists that Queens continues to get the backdoor. Chairman Tierney also broke his promise to meet with us, and didn’t value a petition of 1,600 signers in addition to a letter campaign. We request a copy of the LPC’s minutes, to see how they determined it ineligible. According to architectural critics (i.e. Art Deco Society), the Trylon fulfills every definition of a landmark, and the failure to grant it a hearing at the very least, defies the architectural and historical provisions of the landmarks law established in 1965. CM Katz & the LPC are now in the spotlight as a result of their landmark-related contradictions, and their distrust as Queens preservationists heightens. CM Katz of Land Use & Chairman Tierney of the LPC has to realize that the people who inhabit their communities understand them best, and therefore, we assure that this is only the beginning of a worthwhile battle for the Trylon & other Queens landmarks!”


Ed Solero
Ed Solero on March 31, 2006 at 7:10 am

If you’ve ever driven around the areas surrounding Flushing Meadows & Corona Park (where the World’s Fair grounds were) you will find a few architectural allusions to the great symbols of the Fair – the trylon and perisphere. Along 108th Street in Corona, just north of the LIE, there is a block of storefronts with apartments overhead that include a trylon and perisphere motif in the frieze below the 2nd story window line. There are other examples, but this comes first to mind.

What an absolute shame that the Chairman of the LPC could not see his way clear to endorse the designation of the Trylon for full committee review. I’ve been trying to remember the films I saw here at the Trylon over the years. I can remember seeing “Trading Places” here for the 2nd time (I believe I saw it first at the Sunrise Multiplex in Valley Stream) and can also recall seeing “Flashdance” here as well. Most memorable of all was a legitimate test-screening of Ron Howard’s “Gung Ho” at the Trylon just a few months before its general release. I rememeber a freind of mine had gotten the passes to attend and about 5 or 6 of us went. There was an announcement before the start of the movie that it was a work-in-progress in rough-cut form and that the sound mix was not yet completed (with certain effects missing and musical cues not finalized). We were asked to fill out some cards about what we liked and what we didn’t like. I didn’t see the film again when it was finally released, but I did catch it on cable and remember catching some of the changes that had been made based on our input (and presumably that of other test-screenings around the country).

The theater didn’t have a great big screen, that I recall, but it certainly had a charm that one only finds in a vintage neighborhood venue. I can’t recall the last film I saw there, but I do remember that the “coming soon” exterior display case to the right of the entrance doors featured an add for the Matthau-Lemmon “Odd Couple II” sequel… that would have been 1998.

PKoch on March 31, 2006 at 6:04 am

Thanks, Warren, for the shot … from when the Trylon was still standing in the NY World’s Fair !

RobertR on March 29, 2006 at 11:36 am

I remember this trailer very well
View link

NativeForestHiller on March 27, 2006 at 1:37 pm

March 9, 2006 Open Letter to Councilwoman Katz, as appeared in Queens Ledger, and other Queens-based publications

Letter: They’re Supposed to Be Letters to the Editor, But…
Katz and mouse game with Trylon?

Dear Councilwoman Melinda Katz:

We applaud your public statements that you support municipal landmark designation of the superb Art Deco/Art Moderne exterior of the Trylon Theater. It is, however, to our Committee’s disappointment that you have not as of yet, to the best of our knowledge, taken any concrete steps to request the immediate calendaring of the Trylon by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. As you probably already know, this is essential for beginning the landmark designation process, and should be done as soon as possible to ensure temporary legal protection for the Trylon until a final decision has been reached on its designation as a New York City landmark.

Once the Trylon has been calendared for a public hearing, there is legal recourse should the property owner damage or demolish, either by neglect or intent, any of the key elements, such as the mosaic tile features, glass block tower, vertical sign or elliptical marquee.

Creative reuse of older architectural treasures balanced with sensitive development is the key to the preservation of the continuing vitality of any community. The Trylon Theater is truly one of the critical elements of Forest Hills that must be retained. We also request that you meet with the various historic preservation groups within your constituency and the borough so that workable solutions can be discussed that benefit all.

It would be a pity if indifference or anger with regard to this issue should contribute to the tragedy of losing the Trylon Theater.
Thank you. We will be following this issue closely.


Jerry Rotondi,
Committee to Save Flushing Keith’s Theater, Inc.

NativeForestHiller on March 24, 2006 at 1:16 am

Queens Tribune, Thursday, March 23, 2006

“Trylon Gets Juniper Boost"
By Jeff Feinman

The Juniper Park Civic Association has thrown its considerable support behind the Save The Trylon Committee in the ongoing effort to landmark the Trylon Theatre site in Forest Hills. On Thursday, March 23, the two organizations will host an event at Our Lady of Hope in Middle Village to push for a landmark designation. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to attend.

The collaboration between the JPCA and the Save the Trylon Committee is a mutual benefit between two Queens organizations. With a constant eye on all things historical, the JPCA has long been an advocate for landmark designations in Queens and was willing to lend a hand to the committee. In exchange, the Trylon Committee will lend its landmarking experience to aid the old St. Saviors Church at Rust Street and 57th Road in Maspeth, which was built in 1847.

“We support any group that wants to preserve the past,” said JPCA President Bob Holden. “The Trylon is one of our treasures, and this is another site where we need to stop the clock on demolition.”

Built in 1939 in conjunction with the World’s Fair, the Trylon Theatre closed down in 1999 after business dropped. The dilapidated Queens Boulevard theater is to be renovated into a Bukharian Jewish community center and some feel that portions of the theatre can be saved.

The two organizations joined forces when JPCA board member Christina Wilkinson was contacted by Save the Trylon Committee founder Michael Perlman. The rest of the civic association was then informed of the committee’s cause and unanimously decided to help. Holden called Wilkinson the “catalyst” of the pairing.

“I’m really thankful for the opportunity to work with (the JPCA),” Perlman said. “I’m feeling confident now since it’s very good to have a civic group helping the cause.”

The JCPA was instrumental in getting the mayor’s office to broker a deal with Keyspan for the site of the former Elmhurst gas tanks. Keyspan was already under contract with a developer who wanted to construct a Home Depot on the site. The mayor stepped in and negotiated a $1 sale of the site to the city. A park will now be built on the site.

Both Holden and Perlman called for elected officials to put pressure on the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Councilwoman Melinda Katz (D-Forest Hills) has expressed interest in a Trylon Theatre designation but has yet to meet with the committee.

Nahum Kaziev, who is in charge of the creation of the Bukharian Community Center, said that renovation plans include preserving the theatre’s balcony and auditorium. “It was an old building when we took it, but we’re trying to renovate it as it is,” Kaziev said. “We have to update it to be in accordance with not only building codes, but also human being standards.”

Some, however, have been critical of the renovation. “We don’t see any evidence of any particular respect for the theatre’s architectural integrity,” said Queens Historical Society President Mitchell Grubler.

The meeting will be held at 7:45 p.m. in Our Lady of Hope, located at 61-27 71st Street.

nutrichris on March 20, 2006 at 2:10 am

If anyone is available the evening of Thursday, March 23rd, 2006, and can travel to Middle Village, Queens, to attend a public meeting in support of landmarking for the Trylon Theater, please write to me at Thanks.

NativeForestHiller on February 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 on February 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 on January 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 on January 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!

ERD on January 1, 2006 at 5:43 am

It is wonderful to see how Cinema Treasures'exposure can help assist in trying to save the Trylon and other theatres worthy of preservation.

NativeForestHiller on December 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.”

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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.

uncleal923 on November 21, 2005 at 4:52 pm

I wonder, somehow, if it may be a prejudice on their part. It is my opinion that Russian Jews have the same rights as any other faith, or ethnicity. I was raised to respect people no matter what belief they are. I may have been raised a Gentile, but the school I attended as a boy had many members of the Jewish Faith and they invited me to their homes. As for Russians, I am able to put any cold war feelings aside and look at them as people. If they think that people are against them because they are who they are then they should ‘get real’. I don’t care whether a person is Christian or not because a good person is a good person. The same holds true for whether they are from Russia or America.

NativeForestHiller on November 19, 2005 at 9:52 am

Letters to the editor of the Queens Tribune concerning the Trylon (Week of 11/17):

1 No Hate Movement

To The Editor:

In response to Jeff Feinman’s article, entitled “Bukharians Plan To Preserve Trylon,” that was published on the week of Nov. 3-9, the committee would like to voice their opinion.

It is very shocking, frustrating, and wrongful of Education Center for Russian Jewry director, Nahum Kaziev, to accuse The Committee To Save The Trylon Theater of a “hate movement.” On Oct. 23rd, NYC residents, historical societies, and community groups, gathered in solidarity for a lawful and peaceful expression of their concerns. Our points were as follows:

The Trylon is a rare surviving Art Deco treasure that is worthy of preservation and official landmark status, and should be restored. This refers to the presently intact facade and glass block projection tower (which once illuminated Queens Boulevard), and calls for a restoration of all facade elements, including the marquee and mosaic-tiled entrance pavilion;

That the proposed use for the property is commendable, and through creative planning, the Trylon can accommodate it without the sacrifice of its architectural beauty;

The Education Center for Russian Jewry is a much-needed center for the growing Bukharian community, but they should be willing to work with us, hand in hand, and listen to our concerns;

That the broad coalition of support for saving the Trylon should be recognized and not ignored;

That New York’s Art Deco architecture and art, once disparaged, is truly a major part of our 20th century heritage and deserves to be treated with respect.

How does encouraging landmarking, preservation, restoration, and adaptive re-use, come anywhere near discrimination?

Addressing Mr. Kaziev, the reason “no backlash ensued when treasured theaters such as the Elmwood and Valencia were converted into churches,” was because the new owners preserved and restored their facades.

The title of the article is also very misleading. The Education Center for Russian Jewry plans to preserve very few elements of the theater (stage, balcony, and air-conditioning system). How does saving the 5-year old air-conditioning system bear any significance towards preserving an architectural, cultural, and historical gem?

As much as we are in favor of having some interior aspects preserved and/or donated to a local museum for safekeeping, we are ultimately in favor of having the exterior preserved and landmarked, since it represents a major part of our 20th century heritage. It pays homage to the 1939 World’s Fair, and is responsible for the transition which led to a new wave of immigrants to set foot in America. Why can’t the Trylon be an educational resource for the Russian Jewry, and a prime example of how we can assimilate our cultures and values?

Our request for a meeting with the project team has been completely blocked, making it impossible for any dialogue between the Education Center for Russian Jewry and the community. If we can’t work hand-in-hand with this public facility now, does this foreshadow their bond with the community once it opens?

-Michael Perlman,
Committee To Save The Trylon Theater

2 Trylon Theater

To The Editor:

Irony appears in different ways: The Trylon Theater in Forest Hills, a legacy of the 1939 World’s Fair and an architectural treasure, has been the focus of citizens concerned about the preservation of the theater as part of Queens history as well as architectural history.

Enter irony: The Bukharan Jewish Community is currently dismantling the Trylon for a youth center. Bukharan spokesman Nokhim Kozio referred to the preservation efforts of the Trylon as a “hate movement.”

To justify destruction of a significant historical structure along racist lines is offensive, misguided and shocking.

-Sona Kludjian,
Forest Hills