Ridgewood Theatre

55-27 Myrtle Avenue,
Ridgewood, NY 11385

Unfavorite 31 people favorited this theater

Showing 151 - 175 of 2,832 comments

Panzer65 on December 18, 2010 at 5:45 pm

I think Mr. DiMola is seeing dollar signs to do a demolition job, and to cash in on pricelees artifacts from the Ridgewood. Consequently, he also is using the theater to get publicity, he already appeared in the Daily news twice, proud that he already pilfered some artifacts. Thanks NativeForestHiller for the proscenium photos, they are just the way I remember them when I attended as a teen in the 70’s. I wish there was a photo of the chandelier, if its still there. I bet the vultures already are eyeing it!

NativeForestHiller on December 18, 2010 at 4:21 am

Read the above and you will see how the 2 Nicks are stating the Ridgewood Theatre is “beyond saving.” Keep in mind that it was a fully operational theater 2 years ago, and how carefully some of the multiplexing was removed to reveal the authentic 1916 Thomas Lamb features in 2009. That’s for the record!

NativeForestHiller on December 18, 2010 at 4:18 am

View link

Rediscovering the past of the silent theater in Ridgewood
Queens Rubbish Removal

Vintage oil can in the original projection room of the Rigewood Theater, which has been shuttered since 2008

I snatched an oil can from the projection room of the Ridgewood Theater, because soon, that will be the only thing left of it.

As you have probably heard by now, the historic Ridgewood Theater, which has been shuttered since 2008, may be turned into an Associated supermarket, according to news reports.

Since the building was boarded up two years ago, not many people are aware of the theaterâ€\s appearance inside because it is not open to the public. However, because of a demolition and garbage cleanout estimate I did several months ago, I have multiple photographs that I will post today on Trash Treasures of New York City.

Three layers of fabric wallpaper — the original wallpaper from 1916 was never removed

In July 2010, the real estate team in charge of selling the building hired me to provide an estimate for a full interior demolition and clean out of all of the contents that remained in the theater. I walked around the theater for an hour, jotting down notes and taking photographs of the theaterâ€\s conditions at the time. I saw all the little nooks and crannies and crevices from the basement up to the roof. Behind the stage, back staircases â€" I saw it all.

Balcony level hand rail with plaster ballisters

Nobody ever had access as far into the building as I did, so my photographs are rare. If you go into that building, you wonâ€\t necessarily walk where I walked because itâ€\s too dangerous. Iâ€\m in the demolition business. Nobody told me, “Donâ€\t go there.” I have to look at what I have to look at.

Arm rest of an original chair in the theater (found in storage room)

Recently, I sent about 100 of my exclusive photos to Nicholas Hirshon, a reporter for the New York Daily News. “The photos show much of the theater is beyond saving,” Hirshon reported last week, “but some carvings, seats and other aspects seem intact.”

Operating projection room up to 2008

Projection Room

When I was walking through the building, I came across a projection room, where I saw several projectors that looked about 30 years old. I thought that these were the projectors that had been used decades ago, back when the theater first opened. I now realize that these were merely the projectors the theater was using before it was shuttered in 2008.

Ship ladder in closet that leads up to original projection room from 1916

As I kept moving through the theater, I discovered a ship ladder tucked away in a closet-like area. It led up to what I assume was the original projection room.

There were just three original projectors left, still bolted to the floor. There was a can of oil from the 1940s that had once been used to oil the projectors. The can was bright orange and said “GULF SAPHIRE MOTOR OIL.” Near a boarded-up glass window, which faced the stage of the theater, there was a cardboard sign that read: “OIL PROJECTORS,” which must have been used as a reminder for employees. I could tell that it was the original projector, just based on the construction of it. It had the look of an old Ford Model T car. Back then, when a car was built, it was very simple â€" you could take apart a car and put it back together in a day. Thatâ€\s how the projector was.

Sign that indicates projectors need to be oiled

Storage cabinet in projection room holding the theater’s last oil can

Original projector from 1916

Pipe Organ

In response to the Daily News article, Jeff Morrell, a sales engineer from Port Jefferson Station, N.Y., emailed me photos of the theater that he had taken in 1977. Morrell, 62, and his friend Carl Weiss, who has since passed away, were visiting the theater. They shared a passion for theater and pipe organs and wanted to check out the place. Weiss must have known the manager, Morrell said, because they were able to get into the theater before a show was playing.

Ridgewood Theater stage, 1977 (Courtesy of Jeff Morrell)

Weiss and Morell were particularly interested in seeing the “pipe organ that still resided behind the walls flanking the stage,” Morell wrote in his email. “We wondered what was left and what kind of shape it was in. Although the console was long gone (we could not find it) most of the pipe work was still intact.”

Carl Weiss, friend of Jeff Morrell, standing in front of pipe organ grill in 1977. (Courtesy of Jeff Morrell)

Through basic research, Morell learned that the organ was “built and installed by the Moller Organ Company of Hagerstown, Maryland in 1917.” He said it consisted of a keyboard console and had 16 sets of pipes, each of which acted as a voice in the organ.

He said that at the time, the instrument cost $5,250 and weighed 16 tons. “All pipe organs have what is called an Opus number which identifies it,”Morrell said. “The Ridgewood Mollerâ€\s was 2408.” Morrell and I later spoke for at least an hour, discussing the pipe organ and the past and present condition of the historic building.

The Ridgewood Theater

The Ridgewood Theater opened its doors in 1916, and stayed open for 91 years, according to a 2008 Queens Chronicle article, which was written directly after the theater was shuttered. The building was designed by architect Thomas White Lamb, who built more than 300 theaters worldwide.

The same pipe organ grill pictured above, except this one was taken in 2010 — 33 years later!

The theater opened as a silent movie theater, and the only sound that youâ€\d hear during a film screening was from an organ and a thunder sheet, which was a piece of metal that flaps in the wind to make noises.

After I provided the estimate for an interior demolition job for the theater, I believe that it is unable to be restored. It is simply too far gone and too destroyed to ever get to where it was during its glory days.

“Itâ€\s a shame that the theatre has reached the end of its life as such,” Morrell said in his email. “But, thatâ€\s life, I guess.”

Stay tuned to WeLoveGarbage.wordpress.com for photos of the theaterâ€\s original bathroom interior and more!

DiMola Bros Rubbish Removal
1640 Summerfield St.
Ridgewood, NY 11385
Phone: 718-326-6969
Fax: 718-326-7979
/ http://dimolabros.com

DiMola Bros â€" Providing Queens junk removal services since 1956!

~ by dimolabros1956 on December 14, 2010.

Posted in Cool Find of the Day
Tags: dimola bros, dimola bros queens, interior demolition, nick dimola, queens, queens interior demolition, queens ridgewood theater, Queens Rubbish Removal, ridgewood theater, rubbish removal, rubbish removal queens, trash pick up, trash pickup

Bway on December 18, 2010 at 3:48 am

At LONG LAST! An Interior View of the Ridgewood Theater’s Procenium…..these taken in 1977

View link

View link

Bway on December 18, 2010 at 3:35 am

The Bushwick Twins? Wow, wouldn’t that be a good news that a “Bushwick Twin Theater” was moving in there…..but of course, the supermarket deal sound solid. Perhaps a “Bushwick Twin” theater in the balcony!
How about a Cypress Ave entrance to the orchestra level supermarket, and a Myrtle Ave entrance through the original lobby to a balcony Bushwick Twin Theater!

NativeForestHiller on December 18, 2010 at 12:31 am

Thank you for the update Peter. This is quite perplexing!

PeterKoch on December 17, 2010 at 11:38 pm

I walked by the Ridgewood Theater about 10:15 a.m. this morning, Friday December 17 2010. The only change since I last walked by there on Friday November 5th 2010 was that the following is now on the western side of the marquee, facing west towards Madison Street :


I have NO idea what this means, or how it relates to current plans to turn the Ridgewood Theatre into an Associated supermarket.

I also noticed that Madison Drugs is now gone from Myrtle Avenue, with their prescriptions being handled by the Duane Reade on the northeast corner of Myrtle Avenue and Palmetto St.

PeterKoch on December 13, 2010 at 10:39 pm

Glad you like them, Mike. Sorry I can’t do more for the Ridgewood Theatre.

NativeForestHiller on December 13, 2010 at 10:34 pm

Great quotes, Panzer65 & Peter! Very true.

PeterKoch on December 13, 2010 at 10:23 pm

Good one, Panzer65. Thanks.

Also by those we allow to fall into ruin.

Panzer65 on December 13, 2010 at 10:10 pm

While were on the subject of quotes:

“We will be judged not by the buildings we create, but by those we destroy”

PeterKoch on December 13, 2010 at 3:18 pm

“Repeat lies often enough and a gullible public will believe it’s true to the detriment of all.”

Also the Adolph Hitler approach.

PeterKoch on December 10, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Let’s keep the faith ! It ain’t over ‘till it’s over !

PeterKoch on December 10, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Right on, Mike, Bway and LuisV !

LuisV on December 10, 2010 at 3:00 pm

It’s the Republican and Fox News approach: Repeat lies often enough and a gullible public will believe it’s true to the detriment of all.

Bway on December 10, 2010 at 9:00 am

It’s absurd that these people keep saying it’s “beyond repair”….it was an operating theater just two years ago!!

NativeForestHiller on December 9, 2010 at 7:33 pm

You make a great point, Luis. Other theaters have been in a worse state and have been heart-fully restored. The Daily News article says that the condition of the interior was unknown until they took photos. I saw the interior with my own eyes, and it bears closer resemblance to its original glory than ever before. I was inside with the NY Times, also have photos to prove it. Architect Bryon Russell who drew up restoration plans, also has extensive photos to prove our point. Why does the Daily News reporter make a whole to-do over a demolition guy who found some artifacts? Instead of emphasizing the Adamesque and Greek Revival treasures that were miraculously unveiled after the multiplexing was carefully removed, and rather than covering the cohesive methods of the parties working together to retain and restore a most rare theater, they make it seem as if the theater & preservation cause is beyond hope. It shows what side the reporter is really on.

PeterKoch on December 9, 2010 at 3:24 pm

LuisV, I completely agree with you.

LuisV on December 8, 2010 at 3:24 pm

I still find it ridiculous that the claim is still made that the theater is “too far gone” to be saved. It was open as a theater a scant 2 years ago! The Loew’s Kings was abandoned for 30 years and it is now being restored, the New Amsterdam’s roof had caved in and it was spectacularly restored. I’m sure there are problems, but it really hurts the theater’s prospects to grossly exaggerate it actual condition.

RalphIsNYC on December 8, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Another Daily News article today. Kudos to the media for the only updates we’re getting.

New York Daily News
Wednesday, December 8th 2010, 4:00 AM

The nation’s oldest continuously operated movie theater – now shuttered for two years – may offer more historic treasures than originally thought, the Daily News has learned.

Exclusive photographs obtained by The News show that the historic Ridgewood Theatre, though largely deteriorated, still bears gems from its heyday, from an aging projector to wooden armrests.

Snapped by a local rubbish remover, the images offer a rare glimpse inside the Myrtle Ave. mainstay, whose interior condition has been largely unknown since it closed in 2008.

The News first reported last month that the theater is set to be transformed into an Associated supermarket next year.

The photos show much of the theater is beyond saving, but some carvings, seats and other aspects seem intact. That could lead to new concerns about preserving the Ridgewood or rescuing artifacts.

“There’s little, tiny things that are lying around,” said rubbish remover Nick DiMola, who snapped the pictures when called to estimate cleanup costs in July.

The city declared the Beaux-Arts structure a landmark in January, crediting The News for alerting city officials to the site.

Landmarking bars major alterations on the facade, but the protective status does not extend to the interior.

It’s unclear how Associated will renovate the five-screen theater. Max Figueredo, a lawyer for the new owners, said he did not know their plans.

Preservationists applied for interior landmark status in 2008, but the city is “very selective” with interior landmarks, designating only 110, said Lisi de Bourbon, a spokeswoman for the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Queens boasts only a handful of interior landmarks, which must be regularly open to the public, including the RKO Keith’s movie theater in Flushing and the Marine Air Terminal at LaGuardia Airport.

DiMola said he will post all his photos within the next week on his blog, WeLoveGarbage.wordpress.com.

Ted Renz of the Myrtle Ave. Business Improvement District said he hopes the theater would be adaptively reused, but added that option may not be economically viable.

“There are artifacts particularly in the lobby that are still intact, but I don’t know the cost that would be involved,” Renz said.

Read more: View link

PeterKoch on December 6, 2010 at 9:31 pm

You’re welcome, Mike.

NativeForestHiller on December 6, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Thank you for your wishes, Peter! Let’s keep the faith!

NativeForestHiller on December 6, 2010 at 9:09 pm

Those who sit back and do nothing are called defeatists, which I am not. One should do everything possible until a settlement is reached.

lfreimauer on December 6, 2010 at 7:46 pm

Time to move on here. Face the facts, it’s a goner!