Showing 126 - 150 of 695 comments found
Can someone please describe the original configuration of the auditorium? “Panzer65” and I would appreciate any interior photos, besides the more current theater lobby photos. It would be helpful for the Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre preservation cause. Contact me at
NY 1 Video, “Ridgewood Theatre Given Landmark Status” by CeFaan Kim: http://www.ny1.com/content/112136/story
Times Ledger, “City Landmarks Ridgewood Theatre, PS 66” by Philip Newman & Contributing Writer Jeremy Walsh: View link
Queens Chronicle, “Historic Building Gets Preservation Nod” by Michael Lanza: View link
Warren, can you please re-post your scan from Sept 4th?
Ed, can you re-post the photos from your 2006 postings? I am looking for other historic photos as well, from anyone else who may have some. Thank you!
I am unsure of the real estate price on leasing a theater such as the Jackson Triplex. I would need to do more research. I also suggest contacting the Jackson Heights Beautification Group to find out more specifics, and they will refer you to the necessary party/parties: http://www.jhbg.org/
What do you plan on using the theater for? A combination of films and performing arts?
For the long-term success of the theater, and its state of preservation and feasibility, I recommend consistently keeping in touch with experienced preservation non-profits including the Historic Districts Council, www.hdc.org (Exec. Dir. Simeon Bankoff), NY Landmarks Conservancy (Pres. Peg Breen or Community Outreach Manager Andrea Goldwyn, or Program Coordinator Karen Ansis), Four Borough Preservation Alliance (I am Queens VP of the Corp, and Raul Rothblatt is the Exec. Dir), National Trust For Historic Preservation, Theatre Historical Society of America (Pres. Karen Noonan, NYC Regional Rep Orlando Lopes). The NY Landmarks Conservancy has a number of grant programs for the facade and interior, which property owners can utilize at the Conservancy’s discretion: http://www.nylandmarks.org/ One such funding program that we should explore is the Queens Historic Properties Fund: View link
Another superb idea is as follows. If the property is proposed for the NY State Historic Preservation Office’s “State & Nat'l Register of Historic Places,” and is deemed eligible for listing by a professional SHPO regional surveyor, it would be your option to support it, and apply for tax credits &/or matching grants, which would be advantageous in restoring the facade and interior features, and upgrading the theater’s technical aspects, while respecting its overall historic integrity. You would likely save significant pocket money. It would also grant historic recognition. The website which includes links to various options is as follows. This link includes the nomination forms that can be downloaded: View link In this case, the SHPO regional representative is Virginia Bartos:
The League of Historic American Theatres can connect theater owners to rehabilitation experts, with a yearly membership: http://www.lhat.org/programs_services.asp The LHAT’s Exec. Dir. Fran Holden can be reached at (410) 659-9533 &
In the long run, significant pocket money can also be saved by seeking truly passionate volunteers to perform necessary work. Great models of success are:
A. Loew’s Jersey: http://www.loewsjersey.org/restore/index.php (Best example)
B. Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda: http://www.rivieratheatre.org/ (History link has success story)
C. Landmark Theatre in Syracuse: http://landmarktheatre.org/history.html
D. Capitol Theatre Center For Performing Arts in Rome, NY: http://www.romecapitol.com/restoration.html
If you would like to introduce an artistic platform to the theatre i.e. a performing arts space (besides the film aspect), then consulting with the Queens Council on the Arts may be advantageous. They mention related programs that may also be beneficial: http://www.queenscouncilarts.org/
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on all of the above, as well as learning more about your vision. Please feel free to contact me via e-mail at
The Q Note was established in February 2009, and does a superb job in capturing the fundamentals of Queens in a creative manner.
Reproduced with permission from webmaster & author Alia Akkam:
Â« The Quickie: (January 14 â€" 17)
How to Change History
The Ridgewood Theatre was once a cultural mecca. It may just get a new life. Photo: Courtesy of Michael Perlman
Michael Perlman was devastated when the Trylon Theater in his native Forest Hills shut down. The demise of this Art Deco treasure, with its mosaic ticket booth and terrazzo floor bearing a 3-D mirror image of the 1939 Worldâ€™s Fair monument of the same name, awakened his inner preservationist. With the Trylonâ€™s entrance pavilion jackhammered away in 2005, three years later Perlman made it his mission to ensure another of the boroughâ€™s ailing cultural institutions wouldnâ€™t meet the same fate.
Picture it: Itâ€™s Queens, circa 1916, and the sumptuous Ridgewood Theatre, a 2,500-seat palace devoted to vaudeville, built by the Levy Brothers and designed by Thomas White Lamb â€" who would go on to lend his savvy to Manhattanâ€™s Ziegfeld â€" arrives. The community laps up the entertainment, and continues to make it a regular hangout as it morphs into a cinema haven.
Like many of the cityâ€™s once glorious cultural bastions, the Ridgewood Theatre gradually decayed, until it suddenly shut down in March 2008. Perlman then established Friends of the Ridgewood Theatre, and for nearly two years found himself in the midst of a grassroots letter campaign and petition drive. Yesterday, crucial steps were taken to protect the iconic venue, deemed the longest continuously operated first-run neighborhood theater throughout the city â€" if not the country â€" thanks to Perlmanâ€™s efforts: The NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission awarded the three-story venue individual landmark status for its glam faÃ§ade, chock full of geometric patterns, medallions, and a frieze.
â€œI admired the varied history of the Ridgewood Theatre, and most of all, the intricate and clever craftsmanship exhibited on the facade and in the theater lobby,â€ Perlman explains. â€œThe facade is ornate, and is comprised of glazed terracotta and Indiana limestone, and its Classical Revival style intrigued and communicated with me. It was â€˜a calling.â€™ Theaters of this caliber are few and far between today, although they are still very much cornerstones of Americana.â€
But whatâ€™s next for the building? Although City Council still needs to give the potential landmark its blessing, all is expected to fall into place. There are even whisperings that as early as summer of this year a renovated building may debut as a retail and movie hybrid. Perlmanâ€™s vision is more ambitious: â€œI wonder if the co-owners have considered creatively and adaptively reusing it as a performing arts venue and movie theater. I view this combination as an even more economically viable venture, and would be somewhat reflective of the origins of the Ridgewood Theatre.â€
Given the active efforts of local planning organizations and the construction of the Times Building condos, if the Ridgewood Theatre is revamped properly, Ridgewood may just become a budding Bushwick, its arts-obsessed Brooklyn neighbor.
Thank you “East Coast Rocker” & John for your kind words! Thank you for contributing to this noble preserve cause as well. CM Crowley was also present at the LPC Public Meeting yesterday, and vowed that she would guide the designation through City Council. I am confident with all the positivity, the other agencies will sign off as well, and Individual Landmark status will remain.
It is still of interest to designate the mostly intact theater lobby an Interior Landmark. The owners don’t plan on altering that in a negative way, but one can never be certain if it’s not landmarked, as what happened to the Elmwood and Trylon Theaters. By law, an Interior Landmark must be open to the public, and the LPC said they cannot survey it and calendar it for a public hearing, since the theater is not open at the time. Let’s have good faith in the Ridgewood Theatre owners, and help them in any way we can.
It would be an economic advantage to the owners if the Ridgewood Theatre was nominated and placed on the State & National Register of Historic Places, as it would be eligible for federal grants and tax credits for restoration work and historically-sensitive renovations; not to mention national prestige. I hope to hear everyone’s thoughts.
The Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre MySpace Page has been updated, with a slightly revised mission statement: www.myspace.com/ridgewoodtheatre
Thank you very much! There is also a well-written article in The Epoch Times by Jack Phillips, titled “Historic Theater Kept For Preservation”
I came across a great RKO Keith’s postcard now up for auction on ebay. May the lucky soul win! I would normally place a bid on it, if it’s economical, but I already own one. Now is your chance!
Thank you for posting these unique aerial views, Bway!
Getting back to my December 24, 2009 posting, if anyone has any other vintage photos or blueprints, or ads that I have not posted, please e-mail me at
Once again, this is the photoset: View link
Hi Warren! If you can send me high-resolution photos of the ones you posted that are no longer available, as well as re-post them here for other members to appreciate, that would be great! Thanks!
I will soon post photos (wide angles and close-ups) in my flickr photoset for the Drake Theatre. If anyone would be interested in contributing some vintage photos or ads, or images from the “recent past,” please contact me at
P.S. On the NYC Department of Buildings website, the Ridgewood Theatre is no longer listed as C for calendared, but is now excitingly listed as L for Landmark!
Does anyone have any vintage or recent past photos of the former Bellerose Theatre? The glazed terra cotta facade and whatever may remain of the interior merits preservation. Please e-mail me at
Hi! Thank you for posting the advertisement I came across!
This is my Continental Theatre, UA Brandon Cinemas, 70-20 Austin St, Forest Hills, NY flickr photoset, courtesy of Rego-Forest Preservation Council, which I founded and chair:
You can click the thumbnails to enlarge the photos, and view them in a low, medium, high resolution, or original (maximum) resolution, as well as download them for future reference.
If anyone can contribute any vintage photos or ads to this photoset, I will be happy to give you credit. All images help preserve the spirit of “NY’s 1st split level theater,” and may contribute to other great preservation projects. The marquee, original terrazzo floor out front, and the reverse channel neon sign reading “Continental,” are some of the features that should be retained and appreciated. Let’s be proactive!
Thank you for posting this forthcoming NY Post article! I always admired this theater from what I have seen in photos, although I am too young to have any memories of the theater. Let’s realize that the Loew’s Canal is indeed a hidden gem, which bears positive light in a time when the 1916 Ridgewood Theatre was designated an Individual Landmark by the Landmarks Preservation Commission (1/12/10). This was also designed by America’s foremost theater architect, Thomas W Lamb. Let’s hope that all TWL theaters are restored as much as possible, and creatively and adaptively reused, not to mention numerous other theater marvels, which are few and far between today. I look forward to receiving updates on this theater. Good luck to the organization that is interested, as well as the owner for accommodating them!
Hi Everyone! This is my Forest Hills Theatre flickr photoset, courtesy of Rego-Forest Preservation Council, which I founded and chair:
If anyone can contribute any vintage photos or ads to this photoset, I will be happy to give you credit. All images help preserve the spirit of the former Forest Hills Theatre, and may contribute to other great preservation projects. Let’s be proactive!
I second the well-phrased comments of Bway & Life’s Too Shaort. It was a shame how the Rock Church told the media the facade is being restored, and then went behind the public’s back and covered over and removed priceless ornate terra cotta detailing. The theater was “stuccotized.”
THE RESULTS ARE IN………..
I attended the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s 1/12/10 Public Meeting, and I am elated to report that the historic Ridgewood Theatre was unanimously voted by commissioners as an INDIVIDUAL LANDMARK!!!
My nearly 2-year effort under Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre as Chairman (since March 2008), in affiliation with various preservation and cultural groups, members of Cinema Treasures, and a mass audience, truly paid off! Now if only the LPC would change their position towards some other potential Queens landmarks, as well as that of other boroughs, in which properties clearly conform to the architectural and cultural provisions of the Landmarks Law, but they’re rejected without calendaring a property/properties for a most democreatic public hearing. Hopefully, the Ridgewood Theatre preservation/landmarking cause will set off a chain reaction of positivity.
I took some photos, which are as follows: View link
The last 5 photos are from the designation, and they are titled in case the order changes when I need to update the photoset. The Ridgewood Theatre cause can be perceived as a case study in landmarking, advocacy, and community bond. It took a while to achieve landmark status. This is another chapter in the Ridgewood Theatre’s long, varied, and distinctive history, considering that it was deemed the “longest continuously operating first-run theater countrywide” upon its closure.
Now we must make sure that it remains in a good state of preservation in the long-term. It is essential to continue to be proactive. Thank you very much, everyone, for your support to date! Let’s call it “a great beginning!”
Thank you for sharing this! A newer version of this NY 1 video featuring testimony is on TV, and will likely be posted online.
A Perspective on The Results………..
I attended the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s 1/12/10 Public Meeting, and I am elated to report that the historic Ridgewood Theatre was unanimously voted by commissioners as an Individual Landmark!!! My nearly 2-year effort under Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre as Chairman (since March 2008), in affiliation with various preservation and cultural groups, members of Cinema Treasures, and a mass audience, truly paid off! Now if only the LPC would change their position towards some other potential Queens landmarks, as well as that of other boroughs, in which properties clearly conform to the architectural and cultural provisions of the Landmarks Law, but they’re rejected without calendaring a property/properties for a most democreatic public hearing. Hopefully the Ridgewood Theatre will set off a chain reaction of positivity.
Now we must make sure that it remains in a good state of preservation in the long-term. It is essential to continue to be proactive. Thank you very much, everyone, for your support to date! Let’s call it “a great beginning.”
Thank you for your message, Bway & Peter (I must have missed you).
I attended the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s 1/12/10 Public Meeting, and I am elated to report that the historic Ridgewood Theatre was unanimously voted by commissioners as an Individual Landmark!!! My nearly 2-year effort under Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre as Chairman (since March 2008), in affiliation with various preservation and cultural groups, members of Cinema Treasures, and a mass audience, truly paid off! Now if only the LPC would change their position towards some other potential Queens landmarks, as well as that of other boroughs, in which properties clearly conform to the architectural and cultural provisions of the Landmarks Law.
I took some photos, which are as follows: View link
The last 5 photos are from the designation, and they are titled in case the order changes when I need to update the photoset. The Ridgewood Theatre cause can be perceived as a case study in landmarking, advocacy, and community bond. It took a while to achieve landmark status. This is another chapter in the Ridgewood Theatre’s long, varied, and distinctive history, considering that it was deemed the “longest continuosuly operating first-run theater countrywide” upon its closure.
Thank you for your wishes and your help and support to date! I am still hoping to acquire vintage photos of the interior. If you would like to join me after the Jan 12th LPC Public Meeting for lunch at a great multicultural restaurant nearby, please let me know. I hope we can celebrate its landmarking victory. “Knock on wood!”
THE NEWS WE HAVE BEEN ANTICIPATING!!!… If you would like to join me at the LPC public meeting on Tues, Jan 12th, and for lunch afterwards at a great multicultural restaurant nearby, please e-mail me at
Nearly 2-Year Landmarking Cause In The Making, Boils Down To 1 Day:
Commissioners To Vote on Historic Ridgewood Theatre
RIDGEWOOD, NY (Jan 12, 2010) â€" Queensâ€\ historic Ridgewood Theatre (55-27 Myrtle Ave) closed its doors in March 2008 without warning, but patrons & preservationists are now elated that the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission will hold a Public Meeting, where Commissioners will vote whether to designate the theater as Queensâ€\ newest Individual Landmark (faÃ§ade). The Public Meeting for the Ridgewood Theatre (Agenda Item #3, LP-2325) is set for Tues, January 12, 2010 from 10:15 AM â€" 10:25 AM at the Municipal Building, 1 Centre St, 9th Floor North, NY, NY 10007: View link
A hearing was held on March 24, 2009 as a result of a Request For Evaluation form and research, a letter campaign, a petition drive, and a MySpace Group coordinated by Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre, which was founded by Preservationist Michael Perlman after the theaterâ€\s closure in 2008. Testimony in support of Individual Landmark status was diverse and abundantly positive, and also included written testimony from Thomas A. Lamb, the great-grandson of Architect Thomas W. Lamb, who was tracked down by Chair Perlman. Co-owner Mario Saggese expressed his support for landmarking the faÃ§ade, and also said the owners envision a historically-sensitive plan for the downstairs auditorium space consisting of retail to make it economically viable, with modern screens upstairs.
Opening its doors on December 23, 1916 and closing in March 2008, the Ridgewood Theatre was deemed â€œthe longest continuously operating first-run neighborhood theater citywide, and potentially throughout the U.S.â€ It staged Vaudeville, silent films, saw the advent of photoplays, the first â€˜100% All-Talkingâ€\ feature, Lights of New York (1928), & Technicolor. Its original seating capacity was 2,500, but currently contains 5 screens and seats 1,950.
Modeled after Times Squareâ€\s long-demolished Mark Strand Theatre (the Worldâ€\s 1st movie palace), the $250,000 Classical Revival gem was designed by Americaâ€\s foremost theater architect, Thomas White Lamb, & built by the Levy Brothers. The 3-story Indiana limestone & terra cotta faÃ§ade is highly ornate, incorporating unique geometric patterns, medallions, a frieze, pilasters, and proudly boasts Ridgewood Theatre across the top. Interior murals originally depicted the history of Ridgewood.
Perlman explains: â€œTheaters are the â€˜ultimate public institutionsâ€\ which bridge the generations, as they foster community growth and pride, harbor countless memories, and often exhibit the work of our countryâ€\s most skillful architects. Commissioned architects hoped to leave a long-lasting impression of grandeur, confidence, serenity, and comfort; a bold step away from the pressures of society.â€
Perlman further explains â€œWith the onset of DVDs, and vastly improved home entertainment centers, movie theaters with a minimal number of screens are a highly endangered species citywide. When sacrificed in the name of progress, their loss is most heartfelt. Local theaters with an unfortunate fate include the Oasis, Parthenon, Irving, & RKO Madison Theatre (retail), but the Ridgewood Theatre can be economically viable if preserved and adaptively reused for theater-related purposes. It would contribute to an up & coming neighborhood and a diverse borough.â€
Historic & recent Ridgewood Theatre photos, courtesy of Chair Michael Perlman, Friends of Ridgewood Theatre: View link
Online Petition: View link
Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre MySpace Group: www.myspace.com/ridgewoodtheatre
This is a Trylon Theater photoset, courtesy of Rego-Forest Preservation Council, in affiliation with the Committee To Save The Trylon Theater, founded in 2005. The photoset below documents its historic 1939 World’s Fair-inspired Art Deco features, the theater’s closure, the unfortunate jackhammering of the Trylon-adorned ticket booth and cementing of the mosaic and terrazzo Trylon & chevron-patterned floor in the entrance pavilion, as well as the Art Deco facade and glass block projection tower, which remain intact. It also includes some interior features i.e. a “World of Tomorrow” ‘39 World’s Fair theme mural flanking the proscenium, a Trylon fountain in the standee area. Save The Trylon campaign artwork is included as well. Memorabilia includes the 1941 Theatre Catalog’s promotional piece on the Trylon Theater, and matchbook covers referencing the theater. This will consistently be updated.
Please feel free to contribute vintage photos or photos from the recent past, or any other items of interest. Please continue to support this noble cause. Hopefully, the concealed and lost features can be restored one day, so future generations can see first-hand what a significant theater this was to Queens, a unique Art Deco gem, and to the 1939 World’s Fair history and its impact upon future sites. Never abandon hope, and let’s remain proactive in every way possible. Thank you!