Trylon Theater

98-81 Queens Boulevard,
Rego Park, NY 11374

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NativeForestHiller on October 14, 2005 at 11:24 pm


DATE: Sunday, October 23rd
TIME: 2:00 PM
LOCATION: Trylon Theater; 98-81 Queens Blvd, Forest Hills, N.Y.

**Points of the rally:
1. LANDMARK the ‘39 Trylon Theater; a last standing structure which bears strong significance to the 1939 World’s Fair.
2. PRESERVE the presently intact Art Deco facade, glass block projection tower (which once illuminated Queens Blvd.), & the marquee.
3. RESTORE what was lost during a summer 2005 conversion, despite an active construction violation & stop work order since April 2005.
4. ADAPT the site for the Education Center For Russian Jewry, with a preservation-minded re-use strategy, rather than demolition.

Participants: Historians, preservationists, community residents, as well as residents of neighboring boroughs, politicians, possible FH celebrities, the media, & members of The Committee To Save The Trylon Theater.

For Trylon Theater then & now visuals, please follow these 2 links:

To sign the Trylon Theater petition, click or paste the following:


uncleal923 on October 6, 2005 at 5:20 pm

Can you give us any idea of the history? It may also help to find if any famous people worked or went to the theater. I am also on the committee to save the Loew’s Kings in Brooklyn where people like Barbra Streisand, and Sylvester Stallone were ushers.

NativeForestHiller on October 6, 2005 at 1:46 pm

Greetings Trylon fans!

The latest article that came out was today’s, Oct 6th article in Newsday, entitled “Theater Reeling In Controversy.” It can be accessed as follows:

View link

My take is as follows:

*Please pay close attention to the wording of the article, & the complexity of the Trylon issue on various levels (Katz, Kaziev, DOB, LPC). In a Queens Chronicle & FH Ledger article last week, spokeswoman Jennifer Givner of the DOB stated that the April 2005 stop work order & construction violations were “probably” lifted already. Now, for this aticle, she states that the “order will likely be lifted soon.” Can’t she make up her mind??? Kaziev said not much was salvageable & the Trylon was vandalized. (The demolition men of course made it look vandalized, since prior to their work in July, all the mosaic tiles & significant features were almost intact from ‘39. I pass it everyday!) Notice how Kaziev also said the theater is being “RESTORED to its former glory.” Who’s he kidding? When it’s too late & they manipulate the now intact facade prior to Dec 10th (when the bizarre permit expires)??? Other articles said the facade will undergo a complete reconstruction shortly. Notice how on Katz’s level, she tries defending herself in regard to the Trylon’s landmarking issue, by saying that she “was trying to push the LPC for years to designate Richmond Hill & 10 blocks in Kew Gardens, but they designated the Ralph Bunche House instead. Why change the subject? Hmm… (In regard to the Ralph Bunche House, she made it difficult for the LPC to designate, but they did anyway). After all, M. Katz said she’s "powerless,” when it comes to landmarking decisions. Then why won’t the LPC grant any designations without the approval or “blessings of a councilmember” as the LPC stated in the NY Times article? M. Katz sure is integral regarding the Trylon landmarking scenario, & that’s a major burden (we have all the proof)!!! The LPC should have a mind of its own!

NativeForestHiller on September 29, 2005 at 10:38 am

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:

View 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!

NativeForestHiller on September 24, 2005 at 8:22 pm

URGENT: Please click on the following link to sign a petition to save the ‘39 Trylon Theater:

The petition:

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!!!

NativeForestHiller on September 24, 2005 at 8:12 pm

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

uncleal923 on September 22, 2005 at 1:17 pm

Get the word out that the theater should be open. I am on the commitees for several theaters including this one and the Loew’s Kings in Brooklyn, /theaters/1360 ,and if anyone from Brooklyn crossed the Queens Border, and went to the Trylon (I only went to theaters in Brooklyn and Manhattan) they may be interested in saving both.

uncleal923 on September 21, 2005 at 4:38 pm

I can not make the meeting, so I am suggesting that others attend. According to an E-Mail I received the theater is under the threat of demolition.

A theater can find other uses after it closed. Many of them became houses of worship. Others became performing arts centers. In other words, the Trylon, and other theaters should not be let alone to die.

NativeForestHiller on September 18, 2005 at 7:13 pm

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 regarding this Trylon/community gathering. Thank you!

RobertR on September 18, 2005 at 4:21 pm

Being a lifelong Forest Hills resident I have gone to this theatre all my life. It pains me to see the crap that is opening here. How is a center for the Bukharan community something that benefits the area? First the West Side Tennis Stadium, then the Forest Hills Theatre and now the Trylon. I’m ready to move to Great Neck :(

FHRes on September 18, 2005 at 2:38 pm

On Saturday, September 24, at 4:30 p.m., there will be a meeting to discuss saving the Trylon Theatre. Joe Nocerino, who recently ran for city councilman and lost to Melinda Katz, will be giving an update regarding the demolation of the theatre and what the possibilities are for registering the Trylon as a landmark.

Location: 68-12 Ingram Street, in the driveway (as part of a community gathering)

NativeForestHiller on September 17, 2005 at 10:14 pm

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!).

Forest Hills
The New York Times

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.”

NativeForestHiller on September 8, 2005 at 8:41 pm

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

View link

“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.”

br91975 on September 1, 2005 at 8:42 am

Post a query on this site and within a couple of hours or 24 hours and beyond, plenty of helpful individuals answer your questions and provide you with the information you’re seeking – remarkable, but certainly not a surprise. Thanks to everyone for your responses :–)

Bway on September 1, 2005 at 6:24 am

While the screen was definitely bigger in the 90’s than seen here, other than that, Warren’s photos look just like I remember the theater.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 1, 2005 at 3:16 am

Several color photos of the exterior taken in 2004 can be found in the new article about Queens Boulevard (aka “The Boulevard of Death”)at

RobertR on August 31, 2005 at 7:33 am

The whole front and orchestra was draped and the new screen was slightly in front of the proscenium with Austrian drapes that went up and down. The opening for the fire doors (the doors were set way back) had the drapes crisscrossed to allow people to walk in and out and also the air conditioning return ducts were back there so you could feel a breeze when you sat in the front. The scope picture was created from a top masking that came down and was really quite small. The flat picture was decent.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on August 31, 2005 at 7:30 am

The stage level might have been raised and extended forward so that a wide screen could cover the murals on both sides, but I’m only guessing. My only visit to the Trylon was in 1949 to catch up with a double bill of “The Barkleys of Broadway” & “Big Jack,” which I’d somehow missed when it played the Loew’s circuit. Believe it or not, I was a Wallace Beery fan and that was his final movie. He died just around the time of its release.

BoxOfficeBill on August 31, 2005 at 6:56 am

I’d bet that one change must have widened the proscenium to acommodate CinemaScope in ‘53. That’s one of the narrowest (but handsomest) prosceniums I’ve ever seen. Widening it would have been difficult, because the exit doors close in so tightly upon it. Does anyone know what they did to widen the screen?

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on August 31, 2005 at 6:28 am

I don’t know. But there might have been some cosmetic changes over that period of 60 years.

br91975 on August 31, 2005 at 6:19 am

Did the auditorium retain its original appearance until the 1999 closing?

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on August 31, 2005 at 5:46 am

Here are three 1939 images. The center curve of the marquee was reserved for the next attraction. The auditorium’s orchestra is below street level. The vertical stripes on the side walls were considered radical for the time. Usually, decorators used horizontal stripes to direct attention towards the screen:

NativeForestHiller on August 27, 2005 at 1:13 pm

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.

View link

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 Thank you!

NativeForestHiller on August 19, 2005 at 12:40 pm

***It is not too late too call Councilwoman Melinda Katz at (718) 544-8800 or e-mail her at to encourage her to change her mind & preserve “what’s left” of the Trylon’s 1939 Art Deco/Moderne facade. The more people contacting her, the greater the chance of her convincing the owners to keep the facade intact, instead of renovating it. The committee to save the Trylon encourages you to please act ASAP!!!

Please follow this Queens Chronicle link:
View 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.

Bway on August 13, 2005 at 12:59 pm

It’s sort of ironic that the only movie I have ever seen in this great gem of a theater is “A Stranger Among Us”, considering they are turning it into a Bukharian Center….
I saw it there around 1994 (give or take), and it was like walking into a timewarp. The interior was beautiful, and they still opened and closed the curtains between the previews and the movies, and at the end of the movie.
I always wanted to go back, but it wasn’t to be.
What a tragedy.