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Wow, so sad to see!
John, I can’t believe they didn’t even keep the lobby intact, or at least attempt to keep the beautiful plaster in the lobby and retrofit it to whatever they will be doing with that space. It’s a real shame.
Presumably, the next step (considering that scaffolding and dust collection cloth has been draped around the theater on the Cypress and Madison sides of the building), will be the process of punching window holes all along and into the side of the Ridgewood.
The Ridgewood couldn’t have had a worse fate other than total demolition. Less remains of it now than even the RKO Bushwick which sat in shambles for 30 years. It’s really unbelievable.
I was walking down Madison St (on the other side of the street) yesterday, when I noticed the Cypress and madison sides of the theater completely draped in scaffolding and black cloth to catch debris, when I noticed the old Madison St emergency doors open with workers going in and out, so I rushed across the street to attempt to get a glimpse of the inside. It reminded me of a time about 10 years ago when I did the same walk, and the same doors were open when the theater was still operating, and workers were fixing the hinges on the doors, and saw what was then the inside of the old left of stage orchestra level theater (one of 5 at the time). But this time it wasn’t the nostalgic feeling I had 10 years ago looking in those same doors….this time it was complete horror as I looked inside and saw nothing inside but the exposed brick walls, and in the distance the lobby doors to Myrtle Ave….the balcony completely eliminated and removed, exposing the windows on the second floor facing Myrtle.
I was so horrified I just kept walking till I hit Myrtle Ave, and then walked back and snapped this photo quick.
Yes Peter, nothing changed on the Myrtle side, the marquee is untouched as of yet, the facade (which is landmarked) is untouched, and it even still says that odd “Bushwick Twin” where they used to put the movies that were playing. But I was horrified when I peaked inside the Madison St side doors which happened to be open when I walked by.
I just added a photo of the Ridgewood Theater auditorium taken yesterday to the photo section.
The Ridgewood Theater is completely gutted inside to the bricks. The Balcony is completely removed. Even the beautiful lobby has been gutted. I took this photo yesterday. This photo is taken from the Madison St exit doors which were originally to the left of the stage towards lobby. The light and doors you see in the distance in the background are the old lobby doors to Myrtle Ave. Girders for a second floor have been placed through the space the auditorium once held. NOTHING remains, the walls are bare brick. The Ridgewood which puttered on for so long, and once was the oldest continupusly operating theater in New York State is now completely gutted. Less remains of it that of it’s neighbor down the street, the RKO Madison, which closed in 1977, and while the orchestra level is gutted, the Balcony level and ceiling are completely intact.
It is a sad day indeed.
Here’s a link to the photo:
Renting out theaters to church groups on Sunday morning is a good business decision, not a sign of desperation at all. It’s not like Sunday morning a big “go to the movie” time for people to go to a theater to see a movie, so it’s not like they are doing that instead of movies. It’s a win for all involved.
Save the Cinemart!!!!!
Yes, the theater was in fact multiplexed before closing. I had seen photos of it online, when they were taking the walls down before the restoration, but unfortunately, that was a long while ago, and don’t know where. If you scroll through all the comments, it may have been a link here on this site, and perhaps the link still works.
It seems the last movies played in this theater were Disney’s Frozen and Hunger Games, as the names are still on the marquee.
The theater is now called United Palace of Cultural Arts, and should probably be changed in the main heading above:
That may explain the extra seating that John described.
We have to remember that the theater also had been altered to become a store for at least 20 years. I don’t know what they did to convert it to a store, whether it used the theater ornamentation on the walls, and just took out the seats, or if it was gutted when it became a store already, to be rebuilt decades later when the church bought it.
Great photos! It seems to be in a little worse shape than Loews 46th St, but even so, looks repairable. A lot of the plaster seems to have been lost on the right side, as well as part of the Proscenium due to water I assume.
But it’s remarkably clean….the floors of the balcony and inner lobby appear to have been swept clean!
It looks restorable.
Yes, that’s when Friedrich’s moved in. It was there in the 70’s. Don’t know when it moved in however.
For many years it was Friedrich’s Childrens Clothing Store. If the 1980’s tax photos are available, it may show it as Friedrichs. I think that store opened in the theater after the theater closed. It closed in the 80’s some time, and became the church.
The Belvedere, now the Christ Tabernacle, had huge exposure this past week with the Vice President Biden, Gov Cuomo, and other officials…..along with thousands of cops attending funeral services here for Officer Ramos, NYPD shot in the line of duty.
This is certainly sad news about the Ridgewood Theater. Something that we all have been preparing for for some time, so it’s not a shock, but still very sad to hear. RIP Ridgewood Theater, we still have the memories.
A real nice project for the area. While none of the original exterior of the building still remains anyway, and am pretty sure very little if any of the interior of the old Alhambra, this does improve the building, while still keeping a small hint of it’s former purpose as a theater. A win for everyone.
The Major Theatre isn’t as intact anymore as the original opening comments are since I wrote the intro back in 2004. The junk flea market type store in the theater had closed in the late 2000’s, and a Verizon Wireless store had opened in the lobby part of the space. Of course all the old mirrors, ceiling, etc that is described in the original intro are now either removed or covered over. The marquee is still out front, and Verizon uses it for it’s store sign.
Renting auditoriums out to church groups on Sunday mornings? So what, who the heck would be going to movies on Sunday mornings anyway? Sounds like a smart business decision to me.
Judging by the street view, it appears the Peerless Theater is now being used as a Church. Anyone have any idea what remains inside of the theater if anything?
The exterior of the current store building does very much have the distinctive “Childs Restaurant” facade, and is definitely 1930’s in design. It was Hamburg Savings Bank when I was a kid, and I think it became a Greenpoint Savings Bank at some point.
The old article was very interesting. it was only about 20 years old when torn down.
The mention of “Tramps and Undesirables” in the building was hysterical!!
BTW, Mini Mart is still in the building at the corner, if you look at the street view. It was always Mini Mart in my time. Interestingly the attractive building next to the “Childs” building in the photo Themonagan posted recently was also torn down at some point, replaced with a one story building Mini Mart is in.
Speaking of the M line running at ground level, there is also a photo on the net somewhere of the Forest Ave Station when it ran on the ground, with the el being built up above the old station. Interesting the original Forest Ave station was actually on the OTHER side of Forest Ave (going towards Fresh Pond) than it is now as an elevated station.
I use the word “renovations” lightly when talking about what will happen too the old Ridgewood Theater. “Renovations”, would more be in keeping with “renovating what is there”, not destroying the theater’s features in the process, which would include interior “demolition” as opposed to “renovation”.
I hope it’s a “renovation” as opposed to demolition inside the Ridgewood Theater.
As for the Willoughby, does anyone know of any interior photos? Is there anything left of it’s theater days in the church?