RKO Keith's Theatre

135-35 Northern Boulevard,
Flushing, NY 11354

Unfavorite 46 people favorited this theater

Showing 176 - 200 of 1,247 comments

Jeffrey1955
Jeffrey1955 on January 15, 2012 at 6:25 pm

SWC really has done an incredible job of singlehandedly documenting the Keith’s architectural details. He deserves an award, or something.

layla2barb
layla2barb on January 15, 2012 at 2:14 pm

Your photos are so beautiful and haunting. I am always looking at them. I’m so sad at what has happened to this theatre but glad we will all have beautiful documentation of the remains. I hope someday you could publish a book of all these photos. I had to leave Queens when I was 13 in the 60’s but remember this wonderful theatre. Thank you for your contribution!

SWCphotography
SWCphotography on January 5, 2012 at 4:50 am

A knowing face looks out over the East balcony:

SWCphotography
SWCphotography on November 27, 2011 at 12:41 am

The dollars and cents value of surviving artwork:

SWCphotography
SWCphotography on November 18, 2011 at 8:28 pm


Gutted and fit for demolition, or is it a failure to look beyond the rubble on the floor: A face in the orchestra

SWCphotography
SWCphotography on November 15, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Men’s lounge ceiling detail:

robboehm
robboehm on November 14, 2011 at 11:36 pm

The problem with this and other abandoned theatres is generally the ceiling particularly since, in order to achieve the effects they installed fabric on which they painted. Obviously, that would be the first to go and, hence, all the tatter that one sees in this and other pictures. However, wall murals and structural elements abound.

SWCphotography
SWCphotography on November 14, 2011 at 9:59 pm

Forgot to mention this section is about 6' x 4' and in the upper balcony. This detail has been zoomed in quite a bit.

SWCphotography
SWCphotography on November 11, 2011 at 1:10 pm

Ladies Parlor Room 143 At this point there are “de-landmarked portions that are fairing better than the "landmarked” ones.

BobbyS
BobbyS on November 10, 2011 at 11:34 pm

Agree with the two of you. I can see beyond the ruins of the theater. There is so much beauty there as the pictures above proves. We need a savior not a wrecking ball!!!

Jeffrey1955
Jeffrey1955 on November 10, 2011 at 7:42 pm

A kick to the stomach? Yes, but to those who’ve been following this story for a while, it’s not a kick caused by seeing what has become of the auditorium, but by seeing how much of the auditorium is still intact and salvageable despite decades of deliberate destruction and neglect — and will be lost if the party line about the place being “beyond saving” is followed and its demolition is finally allowed.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on November 10, 2011 at 7:05 pm

That top photo showing the present condition of the auditorium is like a kick to the stomach.

SWCphotography
SWCphotography on November 7, 2011 at 8:32 pm

A cherub under the East organ screen threatens to outlast three developers and condos ad nauseam.

BobbyS
BobbyS on October 30, 2011 at 12:36 pm

You should live so long!!!!!!!!

thebrat
thebrat on October 30, 2011 at 12:07 pm

I’ve never lived to see this palace, I used to live by it. Hearing about this place now makes me very sad, that nobody bothered to restore it. It might have been nauseating by today’s standards, but if it ever re-opens, I will definitely check it out. Favorited.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 29, 2011 at 9:25 am

Certainly Thomas Huang wasn’t within his rights as a property owner when he vandalize his own building, despite the landmark designation that forbade him to do so. I blame the current property owner for nothing beyond his ill-advised and insensitive plans for overdeveloping the site. I blame the municipality (administrations both past and present) for just about everything else that has gone wrong with the Keiths.

SWCphotography
SWCphotography on September 29, 2011 at 8:22 am

And in the ideal world zoning law would be followed as opposed to excepted, property rights would apply to Willets Point, Borough Presidents would be honest, the NYC Board of Standards and Appeals would not approve variances based on fictitious claims and so on. Now is the time to right a situation that has been allowed to perpetuate for 26 years to the detriment of the community and property value; support our group on FB “Save the Flushing RKO Keith’s”.

and what the developer should do, inaddition to suing the developer who sold him the property (Boymelgreen) for false advertising.

Jeffrey1955
Jeffrey1955 on September 28, 2011 at 11:59 pm

Paradise, my belabored point is that there has never been the slightest roadblock placed by any city or community official to hinder the development of this property. The only thing that has held it up is the poor planning of the developers themselves, who have repeatedly miscalculated the market, the financial environment, and their own resources. And, of course, the greed of the original property owner, who did such damage to the property — including dumping heating oil in the basement — in an apparent effort to see to it that there would be no choice but to demolish the theatre, that he added monumental additional costs to the project. If there is indeed “a substantial amount of hostility on the part of many citizens of Flushing” toward the current owner, so what? He may legally be able to do whatever he wants in exercising his property rights, but that doesn’t mean he has a right to be loved as well! Are you suggesting he has property rights but we don’t have rights to free speech or even our own feelings of hostility? Let’s not forget that we do not have property rights in a vacuum. We have zoning laws, building regulations, and (abused and weak though they may be) landmarks preservation laws, all of which were specifically enacted in an attempt to reign in the unfettered exercise of property rights without any regard for others. Without such laws, you don’t have a city; you have chaos. Or Queens.

Movieplace
Movieplace on September 28, 2011 at 1:56 pm

The fact that an agency like the FAA (no offense to them but they are not known for historic preservation) basically stalled the possible destructive reuse of the Keith’s astounds me. LPC should have realized what we, the City of New York, were about to lose. It was something that should have been done years ago. Perhaps it is a ruin, perhaps it is un-salvageable, I do not know. However, is not the Roman Forum a ruin? Should it have been covered up and re-purposed into a condo? Instead, the Italian Government uncovered it as a reminder of what was once upon a time. We have too many “used to be’s” in this town. This is where the Roxy Theatre used to be, this is were Lindy’s used to be, this is where the Vanderbilt mansion used to be. This is where Pennsylvania Station used to be. As a New York City tour guide I am constantly pointing out the “used to be’s” and I always praise the efforts of LPC over the years. However, there will come a point when New York will lose too much, more of our historic structures will disappear and we will lose what separates this city from the rest of this country – it’s character. “We will be judged not by what we have built, but by what we have destroyed.

SWCphotography
SWCphotography on September 27, 2011 at 11:20 pm


Speaking of density:http://www.forbes.com/sites/markbergen/2011/09/26/the-downzoning-uprising-and-the-fight-against-density/

Jeffrey1955
Jeffrey1955 on September 27, 2011 at 10:39 pm

Paradise, your comments are quite odd. First you respond to a post saying the FAA shot down the developer’s plan…then you say you didn’t realize the FAA was involved. Perhaps you weren’t responding to that particular post and it was just a coincidence…yet you say you haven’t been following the theatre for months. Then you say you “assumed” the city was denying the property owner his rights…when there has never been the slightest indication on this site or elsewhere that anybody from the city or the community board has ever objected to anything that was proposed — period. You ask whether the developer should “be denied the ability to pursue a legal coarse (sic) of action…simply because it is not consistent with the wishes of certain disinterested individuals?” And those “disinterested” individuals would be who — those of us on this site who have been critical of the plans? If anything, we’ve expressed more of an “interest” in this property than most of those in the area who don’t seem to care what happens to it. Your entire argument seems to center around developers' property rights — no matter what the property, the history, the surroundings, or the alternatives. You appear to have dropped in on the discussion simply to express your belief in the absolute sanctity of property rights, and despite your lukewarm assertion that you “admire” the RKO Keith’s, I find that questionable. There have been numerous arguments raised here having nothing to do with the theatre itself, but about the density, overcrowding and traffic problems of this neighborhood and how this project can only make those worse. So I ask you, is there anything a developer could propose to do in order to squeeze as much profit out of a piece of property as possible, to which you WOULD object? Or is it enough to say “Money talks, everybody else walks”?

NativeForestHiller
NativeForestHiller on September 27, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Paradise:

The people who favor this site’s extensive history need more say in the process. We are already overpopulated. We don’t need more dagger-style condos, but a creatively reused historic theater as a performing arts center, with community spaces. Enough of the “de-landmarked” auditorium exists to salvage and restore it for ALL to enjoy; not some mere condo owners. If we let every developer & politician to proceed (without applying our rights as constituents), then we might as well become a superhighway with skyscrapers on Queens land that can’t bear it.