Ridgewood Theatre

55-27 Myrtle Avenue,
Ridgewood, NY 11385

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Showing 201 - 225 of 2,832 comments

PeterKoch on November 26, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Sad. Thanks, Ridgewoodjohn.

Johnfromridgewood on November 26, 2010 at 4:40 pm

Here’s an update courtesy of the Daily News today. At least someone’s staying up on these developments.

A landmarked Queens movie theater that opened during World War I and became the longest continuously operated theater in the nation will be transformed into an Associated supermarket, the Daily News has learned.

The Ridgewood Theatre – shuttered since 2008 – will turn from film to food next year, changing its use for the first time since the Myrtle Ave. mainstay opened in 1916, sources said.

“Oy!” exclaimed Orlando Lopes of the Theatre Historical Society of America. “A part of history is lost, and that is really terribly sad.”

The movie house earned city landmark status this year, protecting its ornate facade from alterations or demolition. Insiders insist its stage and grand staircase are beyond repair.

Still, the sale raises questions about the site’s future.

Associated can’t change the exterior without city approval, but it can wreck the largely intact lobby and other interior attributes of the two-story venue.

Harry Laufer, president of the Long Island-based chain, estimated the store will open in “maybe six months.” But he said he did not know the renovation plans of franchisee Tony Guzman.

Guzman’s attorney did not return calls seeking comment.

The Ridgewood survived the advent of the TV, VCR and DVD during an epic run that began on Dec. 23, 1916. Designed by renowned architect Thomas Lamb, the 2,000-seat theater initially ran films and vaudeville acts.

The theater was expanded into a five-screen multiplex in 1980. It closed in 2008 amid competition from a new multiplex at the Shops at Atlas Park, a mall in nearby Glendale.

When real estate agent Tony Montalbano bought the theater that year, he said he wanted to run films on its second floor and lease the ground level for stores. He later admitted he was struggling to find a movie operator.

The city designated the Beaux-Arts structure a landmark in January, crediting The News for “crusading” reports that had alerted city officials to the building.

Before reaching a deal with Associated, Montalbano fielded poorly financed pitches for housing, a church, a laundermat and a parking facility, sources said.

Laufer said that Guzman runs other local supermarkets. Associated already boasts three stores in Ridgewood and dozens of others in the city, Long Island, upstate New York and New Jersey.

Read more: View link

NativeForestHiller on November 21, 2010 at 7:57 pm

The Ridgewood Theatre is a great architectural example of the Adamesque style. It was one of Thomas Lamb’s earliest designs, and yet proved successful. In sum, it is rare. It does not have to be a very elaborate example to be deemed historic, although there are intricate features within. Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre is seeking investors. Let’s remain hopeful and do all we can before it is too late.

johndereszewski on November 21, 2010 at 3:29 pm

Bway, your point regarding the “bad neighborhood” nature of Ridgewood when compared to that of Flatbush is well taken – and I have never argued to the contrary. With that said, two key variables between the Ridgewood and the Kings do exist and make a considerable difference here.

First, while the supporters of the Kings' revival have, over many years, cultivated deep support among the established borough and local political and economic leadership, the same cannot be said of the Ridgewood, whose level of local support has, at best, been lukewarm. (Also, even with all of its support, the resurrection of the Kings is still hardly a sure thing.) When you consider the daunting price tag that the Ridgewood’s “historically sensitive” restoration will require, the difficulty of pulling at least part of this off without a critical mass of local support and investment dollars becomes obvious. So, this is where the future heavy lifting must occur if supporters of the Ridgewood wish to do more than simply spin their wheels.

Second, as you agree, strictly as an architectural matter, the Ridgewood is simply not in the Kings. This obviously places the former at a distinct disadvantage to the latter.

Bway on November 21, 2010 at 11:48 am

What are some of you people smoking? “Bad Neighborhood”? THis is far from a “bad neighborhood”. Sure it’s not “Forest Hills”, but it’s not a “bad neighborhood” either. It has always been a working class blue collar neighborhood, and it still is. It never got “bad” on Myrtle Ave here like it did in other parts of the city in the 70’s and 80’s.
I have to laugh when I see someone say it’s a “bad neighborhood”, or a “questionable neighborhood”. The neighborhood the Kings is in got exponentially worse than this stretch of Myrtle Ave every got close to becoming. And while obviously, the “Ridgewood Theater isn’t the Kings”, the “neighborhood”, is not what the problem is.

NativeForestHiller on November 20, 2010 at 1:56 am

John, here is my feedback:

Item 1: This is a major theater designed by Thomas Lamb, being that it is one of his earliest, where he experimented with a number of styles, and it proved successful.

Item 2: Very true

Item 3: I am aware that in April 2010, a tour was given of the theater’s auditorium, which was formerly multiplexed. One would think that in order to accommodate the multiplexing, the authentic and rare Adamesque features would have been destroyed, but many features remain to the public’s astonishment, although not in the best condition. I have seen photos in the Times NewsWeekly. Any restoration is a labor of love, and volunteers should be recruited, as in the case of Loews Jersey and the Beacon Theatre. Banks can serve as benefactors too. A treasure was unearthed, so we feel strongly that it shouldn’t be compromised now after awaiting rediscovery for decades. We have a greater chance of preservation if we urge parties to respect and restore the rare surviving auditorium. The last thing we want is a banal box.

johndereszewski on November 20, 2010 at 1:45 am

Luis, thanks so much for being the voice of reason on this page. You really hit the nail on the head.

While I do not wish to repeat the extensive comments I made last Sept. 11th, I think a few points need to be reiterated.

  1. The landmarking of the Ridgewood’s facade was a TERRIFIC victory for which those of us who played a role in its enactment should certainly be proud. This action represented a recognition on the Commission’s part to designate popular architecture in the outer boroughs based on the historic importance of the building – even if the designated building was not, in fact, one of the architect’s major works. I think my testimony on point made this case most effectively.

  2. In bulding upon this victory, we need to be realistic and reach out to the parties who can actually make a difference in making a resurrected Ridgewood building a practical reality. This means making meaningful contact with the local elected officials, the Ridgewood Economic Development Council and Queens Community Board 5. While these groups may have to me challenged to make this issue a prioriy, it will go nowhere unless they do so. This is essentially the strategy that ultimately worked for the Loews King.

  3. The last thing that should be done at this time is to make new demands upon potential buyers. This is why I respectfully requested that a moratorium occur regarding requests to landmark additional portions of the Ridgewood. This will only scare away potential investors, including those who would like to respectfully redevelop the place but do not want to deal with mandates and demands. On the other hand, we should certainly encourage potential buyers to voluntarily preserve the Ridgewood’s lobby and main staircase – the two remaining items of any substantial archetectural significance.

Hopefully, if we take the approach that I just laid out, we may be able to pull this off – though, as Luis noted, this is very much of a long shot. If, on the other hand, we ignore this path, I fear that we will just be spinning our wheels.

NativeForestHiller on November 19, 2010 at 12:02 am

TLSLOEWS, please visit the Facebook Group for Friends of he Ridgewood Theatre, which I created in 2008. Also, visit us on flickr, which links to it via Facebook. We won landmarking the facade as a start. It became a reality on Jan 12, 2010, after 2 years worth of advocacy, due to the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s routine for this case. The owners or future parties would need to file for State and National Register of Historic Places status to help acquire grants and tax credits for restoration and upgrades. NYS Council of The Arts (Queens Council) and the National Endowment of The Arts can provide funding for programming in many cases. Let’s have faith. Please feel free to ask questions. My e-mail is

  • Michael Perlman
    Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre, Chair
    Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance, Queens VP
NativeForestHiller on November 18, 2010 at 11:56 pm

Has everyone seen photos of the extent of architectural detail that was revealed after the multiplexing was removed in the auditorium? It was “unearthing a treasure,” and now we can ask “Was it done only to be destroyed?” Thankfully, one of the earliest Thomas Lamb theater interiors extant citywide exists, although not in the best of state. Nothing is impossible to restore with some dedication and a visionary mind. There are uses for just about everything too. Volunteers can be recruited and there are grants available for acquisition costs and restoration through various programs. banks can serve as benefactors. If you know of performing arts organizations and film operators, as well as related art and cultural groups, please do YOUR part by reaching out, and putting us in touch. May “word of mouth” pay off.

LuisV on November 18, 2010 at 11:11 pm

We have to look at we we HAVE accomplished. We HAVE saved so many palaces: The Hollywood, Radio City, The Ziegfeld, The New Amsterdam, The Beacon, the Paris, remarkably all five Loew’s Wonder theaters (Valencia, 175th St, Paradise, Jersey and Kings), The St. George, The Elmwood and just recently the Jackson was purchased and the owner said he would restore it. Still to come? The Loew’s Canal, the Brooklyn Paramount and the The Staten Island Paramount. Still possibles? The RKO Keiths Flushing and the RKO Keiths Richmond Hill. New York still has the country’s largest treasure trove of remaining movie palaces. We will lose a few, but I believe we will keep about 90% all of those remaining. I am most pessimistic about the RKO Keiths Flushing and yes, the Ridgewood.

TLSLOEWS on November 18, 2010 at 7:29 pm

Thanks LuisV,I understand ,not everbody has the love of old theatres as we do,but we can not save them all.I was just making the point that of all the posts on this theatre that someone could do something.But if the theatre is in a bad neighborhood it will never happen.I hope the the Loews Kings thing will work only time will tell.And the hidden Loews Canal maybe will make a comeback.Have a great day.

LuisV on November 18, 2010 at 6:51 pm

Hey tlsloews, I share your frustration but it is not a fair statement to say that “no one can even try to save it” People have, but this is a very challenging building to save. The truth hurts, but this theater is not in a prime neighborhood. While the theater is historic, except for the facade (which was recently landmarked) the interior itself is just not that interesting. It has none of the grandeur of any other theaters that have been saved or should be saved. Theaters like the RKO Keith’s Flushing, RKO Keiths Richmond Hill, Loew’s Canal, Brooklyn Paramount and others are far more deserving architecturally. Who can be expected to invest their own money without an expectation to make it back? This theater is a tough sell. There is a reason why the Loew’s Kings was able to get tens of millions for restoration. It is truly a palace in every sense of the word. Sadly, the Ridgewood is a historic neighborhood theater that has great sentimental value but not much else.

PeterKoch on November 18, 2010 at 5:38 pm

I’ll let NativeForestHiller answer that one.

TLSLOEWS on November 18, 2010 at 5:31 pm

Over 3000 posts on this theatre and no one cand even try to save it!

lfreimauer on November 18, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Obviously there are none.

PeterKoch on November 18, 2010 at 3:46 pm

That’s OK Fred. I wonder who the PROTECTORS of the Ridgewood Theatre are right now.

PeterKoch on November 17, 2010 at 8:49 pm

That’s a proJector, Fred, not a protector.

fred1 on November 17, 2010 at 8:09 pm

Here is a short ditty about one of the Ridgewood protecters

NativeForestHiller on November 17, 2010 at 7:06 pm

Thank you! If you are friendly with any nearby arts, culture, or film organizations, please feel free to forward the appeal to them.

PeterKoch on November 17, 2010 at 3:09 pm

I’ll do what I can, Mike.

NativeForestHiller on November 17, 2010 at 10:57 am

URGENT UPDATE!!!! PLEASE HELP IN ANY WAY YOU CAN! This entails the greater picture of our boroughs. Friends of the Ridgewood Theatre is seeking a historically-minded performing arts group &/or film operator ASAP, or the rare Adamesque interior by Thomas Lamb will be GONE FOREVER, & Queens and Brooklyn will be robbed of a true theater of great potential for emerging artists and NYC patrons. The outside is landmarked, but that is not enough. Please spread the word, and e-mail

These are some photos:
View link

Also join the Facebook Group for Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre, & encourage your friends to by clicking on “invite people to join.” Its future is up to US!

  • Michael Perlman,
    Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre, Chair
    Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance, Queens VP
PeterKoch on November 8, 2010 at 4:10 pm

You’re welcome, Mike. I must confess I have no idea whatsoever as to what’s going on inside the Ridgewood Theatre.

NativeForestHiller on November 6, 2010 at 4:24 am

Thank you for a very descriptive update. What you saw would be perplexing to just about anyone, except the owners.

PeterKoch on November 5, 2010 at 4:20 pm

I passed by the Ridgewood Theatre 11 a.m. this morning Friday November 5 2010, on my way to work, after buying pants at Carl’s Army and Navy Store next door, as I have been doing for at least the past forty years.

No change in the theatre since I last passed by. No phone number or message on the marquee. There are five or six mannequin heads with made-up faces and wigs on them in the box office. Between the outer open mesh gate and the doors into the inner lobby is a boom box on a table and four or five desk chairs on wheels.

Last time I passed by (last month), the gate was up, the boom box was playing, and there were four or five loud Hispanic-sounding guys sitting in those chairs and arguing loudly and profanely, about what, I cared not to listen to.