RKO Keith's Theatre

135-35 Northern Boulevard,
Flushing, NY 11354

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Showing 176 - 200 of 1,291 comments

edtracey on March 13, 2012 at 9:14 pm

Mike Nussbaum brokered the deal for Thompson when he bought the theater. The same Nussbaum who was Donald Manes' campaign manager and was convicted of soliciting bribes. So yes, I would think saving face is a big deal for him.

LuisV on March 13, 2012 at 8:58 pm

Hmmm….How does one “save face” by lying about finding a partner? Wouldn’t that be quickly exposed and make you look even more foolish? Of course, I don’t know this developer so he could just be not be very bright. :–)

edtracey on March 13, 2012 at 8:38 pm

According to another reporter from the local rags, Michael Nussbaum is only trying to save face, and that there are actually no interested investors/financiers. They also mentioned that Newmark Frank will most likely take the listing. I have a call into them to conifrm.

LuisV on March 13, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Indeed, the developer has found a partner, though the plan still includes “saving” a restored Lobby.

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on March 13, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Looks like the rumors the Keith’s was for sale again were only rumors….

RKO Keith’s theater developer Patrick Thompson finds financial partner

BobbyS on March 10, 2012 at 2:42 am

A soap opera couln’t more interesting than the perils of the Keith’s. More twists & turns coming…..

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on March 9, 2012 at 6:49 pm

The saga continues…

Jeffrey1955 on March 9, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Thanks for the heads-up! Found it in the Queens Chronicle:

Posted: Thursday, March 8, 2012 5:22 pm by Liz Rhoades Rumors are flying around Flushing that the latest owner of the RKO Keith’s Theatre has put the property on the market. The star-crossed plan for 357 apartment units, 360 underground parking spaces and retail space seems to be on hold once again — but nothing could immediately be confirmed. The latest owner, Patrick Thompson, a Manhattan developer, bought the Northern Boulevard property in 2010 for $20 million. Flushing officials say they’ve heard that it’s been on the market for about a month. Thompson even got a variance to amend the 2005 one, adding additional apartments and parking. The plan also calls for a senior center and retention of the landmarked lobby and ticket booth. Attempts to reach Thompson were not successful. The theater was built in 1928 and closed in 1987 after it was bought by Thomas Huang, who wanted to convert it into a shopping mall. When his plans were thwarted by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, Huang sat on the property and allowed it to deteriorate and partially bulldozed one of the landmarked staircases. Huang sold the property to a Brooklyn developer in 2002, who ran out of money and sold the Keith’s to Thompson.

SWCphotography on March 9, 2012 at 5:53 pm

I am hesitant to show overall photos because the reaction is “look at the destruction” as opposed to “look 90% of the theatre is still there and in salvageable condition” You can see the space above the ceiling where undocumented workers hired by the first developer could climb into and hammer down sections. The “show me the money” argument against restoring the theatre applies just as easily to developers who want to build a mixed use tower. It appears the RKO is back on the market and yet another developer makes an exit leaving behind the mess they created.

BobbyS on March 9, 2012 at 3:29 am

SWC, What an erie, haunting wonderful picture! It still has magic through all these years…One would think the neighborhood would rally around this faded showplace. Maybe 30 years ago they might have when there was more money around and people appreciated beauty……

SWCphotography on March 9, 2012 at 2:21 am


The RKO: Heart of Darkness

rlinders on February 27, 2012 at 5:06 am

Is it possible to go inside the theater?

SWCphotography on February 22, 2012 at 7:05 am

A detail from the backstage VIP dressing room

layla2barb on February 19, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Can’t wait to see some more pix!

SWCphotography on February 5, 2012 at 4:41 am

It’s gutted I tell you

techman707 on February 5, 2012 at 3:34 am

lfreimauer – Maybe you should check out this page on

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/220242754654213/223364514342037/

They intend to restore this great movie palace. I only wish I could live to see it. In the early 1950’s, its spendor could match ANY theatre in NYC. Of course also in Queens, Loews Valencia came pretty damn close.

lfreimauer on January 27, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Another lost cause here!

SWCphotography on January 27, 2012 at 12:52 pm

The RKO in the year of the Dragon

SWCphotography on January 25, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Can it survive or will the NYC Board of Standards & Appeals grant yet another waiver to allow the developer more time on 1/31/12?

SWCphotography on January 22, 2012 at 7:24 am

Here is another interesting one: In the basement alone there were over 50 rooms with everything needed to support large scale theatrical productions: musicians room, band leaders room, stage manager’s room, electricians,carpenters room, porters,vaults, library, laundry, engineers room, doorman’s room, store rooms and an animal room (number 62 to be exact). This room was sealed off and I shot this through a hole in the wall just large enough to fit my camera through, in the background there is a bath; the show animals were led up an adjacent 4/1 ramp under to the stage.

BobbyS on January 22, 2012 at 3:26 am

Amazing!!! The Cadillac Palace (once the RKO Palace) in Chicago still have their annunciator displays located on sides of the stage. I bet they also have instructions on the upkeep as well. SWC, you are a treasure yourself!!

Bway on January 22, 2012 at 3:12 am

Personally, I like the way these photos are presented in the messages, they are very vivid, and striking.

SWCphotography on January 21, 2012 at 7:17 pm

These photos can be uploaded to the site, unfortunately there are no zoom options, they have to be done 1 at a time and they have to be re-captioned. I did copy 1. Getting back to the theatre, here is an interesting item:

Incredibly still in business as Tapecon, Inc. in Buffalo. The original family business was the Davis Bulletin Co. founded in Buffalo, NY by Albert Davis in 1919. The Davis annunciator was used to display vaudeville acts as they appeared on stage. These annunciator instructions are still located on either side of the stage.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on January 21, 2012 at 2:38 am

The photos should also be posted in the photo section, so that when the comment links are inevitably broken, we will still have the hard copy in the photo section.

SWCphotography on January 21, 2012 at 12:54 am

Part of the East auditorium skyline: