Ritz Theater

251 Port Richmond Avenue,
Staten Island, NY 10302

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Showing 1 - 25 of 90 comments

robboehm on January 21, 2016 at 6:58 am

According to the lead the murals are still visible. How come no one has taken interior pix?

tjcpt on January 20, 2016 at 10:11 pm

Sorry, I saw Cactus there in 1972. Rusty Day and Jim McCarty were very much in the band. I was in the front row. McCarty played his Les Paul through a Fender Head with a 6 x 10" speaker cabinet. Just ask him, he is on Facebook and he is very polite. He would probably answer you.

dasratsel65 on January 20, 2016 at 7:11 pm

I still have my ticket stub from a ritz concert. Cactus in ‘72. Jim McCarty and Rusty Day were not with the band anymore. Can I upload the foto of the ticket here? The price was about $5

victoria hallerman
victoria hallerman on December 1, 2015 at 9:41 am

I was just there yesterday doing research for my blog www.startswednesday.com (this week’s post is about the Ritz when it was in serious decline, after it stopped being a theater). I took a peek inside what was once the auditorium and took some pix, but saw no murals…

robboehm on October 4, 2015 at 7:02 pm

Shame no one has taken pictures of the murals and other interior elements mentioned in the heading.

dasratsel65 on October 4, 2015 at 6:47 pm

I saw Cactus play there in spring 1972. My 1st big concert. I met Carmine Appice recently and he remembered the Venue. Bring back the Ritz !!

garn98 on February 11, 2014 at 12:25 pm

Is there a list of all the acts that played there in the 1970’s ? I am particularly interested in late January-March 1970. Thanks

cath61 on January 10, 2014 at 4:01 pm

Cool memories! I only know about this theatre because of the architect (who I’m researching now). James Whitford Sr. He did several other theatre’s and his son did a few as well. Just thought I’d throw that tidbit out – I’m an architectural historian so finding out the architect of these amazing buildings is what I love! Thanks for the great stories!

RosesAndYarn on January 6, 2014 at 10:10 am

Did any bands play at The Ritz on Staten Island in 1969 ?

tjcpt on January 2, 2011 at 8:16 pm

I saw many shows at the Ritz. My first one was front row right orchestra for MC5 and Iggy and the Stooges, Halloween night 1970. I was tripped out. Iggy walked off the stage after some jerkoff hit him with an egg. But man, did they rock….. I also saw Sabbath, Humble Pie, King Crimson, Cactus, Alice Cooper, Allman Brothers, Quicksilver, Billy Preston, Lord Baltimore, Savoy Brown, Long John Baldry, Fleetwood Mac, Dr. John, and Yes. Between the Ritz and the Fillmore East I saw some of the best shows in rock & roll history.

KenJones on October 19, 2010 at 9:03 pm

As a kid living on Castleton Avenue in West Brighton, I remember walking to the Ritz on many Saturday afternoons. For $0.25 we got 100 cartoons and a movie.

On 1 particular Saturday, my younger sister and I went to the Ritz on a day they were giving out prizes. They’d call a ticket number and you’d have to fight your way to the stage to collect the prize.

They called my ticket number for a prize that was a new Schwin bike. But, being in the back on the ground floor near the popcorn stand with hundreds of screaming kids crowding the aisles, we couldn’t even get out of our row and was unable to collect our prize.

I saw the numerous 1st run movies at the Ritz, including the original “War of the World” at the Ritz in 1952, Elvis' 1st movie, “Love Me Tender,” and Pat Boone in “April Love.” Then, there were the classics like “Ben Hur” and “The King and I,” not to mention the Disney classics, like “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” and “Davey Crockett.” Man, what a great life if was, then.

The smell of that theatre was so pleasant and distinct. And, the majesty of the deep, rich carpet; the beautiful chandeliers, and those wide, marble staircases.

I’m very greatful to have lived at such a wonderful time to have experienced this, and other great theatres on Staten Island.

Ken Jones

harvest on August 7, 2010 at 8:11 am

Bob, Thanks for all the info. Now I’m sure I didn’t attend the Elephants Memory show. I was at the Procol Harum show and as you said there were no incidents whatsoever. (Procol Harum were excellent,by the way.) I have several more Ritz stories,and I will be back to share them in the future.

madshadows on August 7, 2010 at 12:12 am

Yes they did play the Ritz Harvest.In april of ‘72 from what I remember,they opened for the J.Geils Band.Also on the same bill was Detroit featuring Mitch Ryder and a band called Uncle Buck….who a lot people thought was John Lennon using one of his pseudomyns and was going to play with Elephant’s Memory….which of course wasn’t the case. I worked there through the ungano’s years and helped booked that show with Nicky.

I just found this site.I’d like to clear up a few things that have been posted here.

Yes, Bill Graham had a 2 month 50 mile radius unwritten deal with some agencies with the artists he booked….That didn’t affect us….Bill decided on closing the Fillmore’s in april of ‘71 and we opened that may….it wouldn’t have mattered anyways,we were friends of Bill’s and Staten Island back then was considered to be like Siberia (and still to this day is) and would have little to no effect on the well established Fillmore East….That ban was really for Howard Stein and Ronnie Delsener.

The other thing I see mentioned here a few times is the june Badfinger show that the “Pagan’s” supposively disrupted tha late show.

First of all it was the Breed not the Pagans and they had nothing to do with the late show being cancelled.Yes there was a few memembers (about 6 to eight)of that club that were hanging out in the upper lobby and yes a few of them were acting up with some of the females.They had their colors on (their jackets) and probably said a few things that scared people that were in that area,but believe me….It was nothing and it had nothing to do with badfinger not playing the late show.

Anyone who went to the Ritz during the Ungano’s era would remember our bouncers and would know that this so called “almost a riot thing” is bs.Our bouncers were not just older (over 35),they were not your typical rock theatre security guys….They were very big and armed. They did go up the lounge that night as soon as they were aware of any potential disturbance and Big Jim (people might remember him) and Bobbo (who mad Oddjob look small) and the crew quickly resolved any fears that our the members of the audience that were in that area might of had.

Anyways,the real reason Badfinger cancelled the late show was they were looking for a record deal (their Apple deal was expiring) and they had invited just every a & r and record company (including Clive Davis) executive to that june show. It was suppose to be one show as per the contract,Nicky messed up and put two shows on sale when in fact they were booked for one.

We did have them just a few months back (that march) for two shows,but this time around it was for one show and they weren’t willing to do another show.The band was on edge with all the record company people there and this was more of a show case for them.

After a good hour or so of and a lot of us trying to convince them to do another show,they held firm and finally left the theatre.And I repeat it had nothing to do with any so called threats of a riot by anybody including the Breed,the band came to play what they thought was going to be one show they were booked for and left after they did.

We had several shows afterwards including Procol Harum,Dave Mason,Cactus,Billy Preston,Quicksiver Messenger Service,Buddy Miles,Savoy Brown and The Doors….all went on very peacefully.

I hope this clears up a few falsehoods that were posted on here.

All the best,

Bob Herman

harvest on August 6, 2010 at 8:35 am

Been thinking about the Ritz a lot lately and it just occured to me…. Does anyone remember if Elephants Memory played at the Ritz? I don’t remember seeing their show but for some reason I seem to remember seeing their name on the marquee. Would appreciate a reply, Thanks.

TLSLOEWS on August 2, 2010 at 10:03 am

Interesting history.

harvest on August 2, 2010 at 8:47 am

P.S. An interesting fact about the photo of the Ritz marquee submitted by Lost memory (see above). If you look carefully next to the word “Heavy Sound” you will notice it says “Featuring Lights by Pablo and sound by Hanley.

harvest on July 30, 2010 at 2:07 pm

My band “Harvest” played at the Ritz several times in 1970. We played shows that featured local bands only,which I believe were on weeknights. We also were the 3rd act with Mountain and Insect Trust on Saturday, April 11th,1970, and with Canned Heat and Pig Iron on May 23rd,1970. I believe we also played a show with Hot Tuna,although I don’t remember the details. I have a photo of the marquee from the Canned Heat show. I lived near the Ritz and attended several shows as an audience member,as well. The bands I remember seeing were Procol Harum,Yes,Frigid Pink, The Chambers Brothers,Mountain,Rotary Connection,and Rhinoceros.

limnos on April 15, 2009 at 6:14 pm

Re: Somoman’s posting on March 3rd:
I visited with my brother this past week (RITZ usher), and he was able to answer the question about the RITZ tickets that you had, and hopefully this solves the mystery as to why some were printed (like the Fillmore East and some of the RITZ tickets; and why some were stamped, as the example you posted.

Regarding the tickets that are stamped:
“The day was stamped because they didn’t know if the band would be playing or not. It all depended on how many seats were sold. They had to cover the cost of the band”.

limnos on March 17, 2009 at 5:40 pm

ok, ok, I have it. The 3 x 5 trifold schedule 1967 The Rheingold Central Park Music FestivalEither you have it, or you don’t Rheingold Extra Dry Lager Beer
Cover. All tickets… $1.00 All concerts are listed June-July – August. Also found one ticket stub Torn in half. Could they have torn any better?
All that’s visible is The Rheingold Central Park Music Festival – Wollman Skating Rink # 00117

limnos on March 17, 2009 at 5:31 pm

OK guys, now I’m searching the archives here for: The Rheingold Central Park Music Festival.
Found amongst the collection. RITZ photos of Three Dog Night, and Woodstock photos… never before published.

EcRocker on March 17, 2009 at 11:59 am

Oh how I wish CT had an optional spell checker. After reading my last posting just now I nearly crapped.
I was on the Uriah Heep web site yesterday and noticed that they had played the Ritz in 1971 but did not list it as the Ritz.


(First) US Tour
Mar 26 – Fillmore East, New York City, NY
Mar 27 – Fillmore East, New York City, NY
Mar 30 – Ungano’s Club, New York City, NY
Mar 31 – Ungano’s Club, New York City, NY

somoman on March 16, 2009 at 7:35 pm

My apologies, you are correct. It was indeed the Rheingold Music Festival before it was the Schaefer festival.

EcRocker on March 14, 2009 at 5:45 pm

There was another good summer venue in NYC as well. Galic Park in the Bronx. How ever their were to many neighborhood complaints such as noise and crowds that put an end to that. Where as the Wollman Rink was a bit more regulation restrictive was also a great place to see a show. The downfal was when the city claimed that the main surface for the rink had some major cracks and was in need of repair and the city was getting screwed over by contractors asking way to much and to much time. Donald Trump stepped in and took it over and came in under budget and under time. When the rink was completed i remember the city making excuses as why they were no longer interested in using it as a concert venue. One was that they were afraid that all the weitght from the people sitting on the rink floor would cause major damage and crack the concrete and pipes. The city also claimed that it was costing to much in OT for the extra police detail primarily used during and after the show. To much crap as far as i was concerned and it forced the event to move to another location. It was never the same and eventually ended. BTW it was Reingold Beer not Budweiser

Here is a copy and paste from Wiki

The Rink has been used as the venue for several summer concerts. The first annual summer music festival at there was sponsored by Rheingold beer company and opened on July 1, 1966. The Rheingold Central Park Music Festival also took place during the summer of 1967.[1] The first annual Schaefer Music Festival opened on June 27, 1968 and ran each summer through 1976.[1] The first annual Dr. Pepper Music Festival opened on July 6, 1977 and ran annually through the summer of 1980 (the 15th, and last annual music festival held at the Wollman Rink).[1]

somoman on March 14, 2009 at 7:38 am

Although this site focuses exclusively on theaters, let me offer up my opinion on what I feel was the best venue in New York. The Wollman Rink at Central Park, aka the Budweiser Music Festival, then the Schaefer Music Festival and then the Dr. Pepper Music Festival. When the weather was right, and the band was up, it just didn’t get better. The Byrds in 1971 races to mind. By that time the band featured Clarence White on guitar and Skip Battin on bass. The Byrds were always feel good, and when Roger played his 12 string, the crowd would light up. Oh yeah $2.00 tickets didnt hurt the experience