RKO Keith's Richmond Hill

117-09 Hillside Avenue,
Richmond Hill, NY 11418

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Article from Queens Tribune.

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Located in the Richmond Hill section of Queens. The former RKO Keith’s Richmond Hill Theater opened in March 1929 with Radio-Keith-Orpheum Vaudeville on stage and the talkie movie “Strange Cargo”. It later showed second-run fare and double bills.

The RKO Keith’s Richmond Hill Theatre closed on June 25, 1968. Since then it has been used as a bingo hall and flea market.

Contributed by philipgoldberg

Recent comments (view all 419 comments)

LuisV
LuisV on October 26, 2009 at 1:43 pm

I also have to add, that I never saw any of these theaters while they were actually showing films. But I was able to enjoy and admire them many times during my “disco” years. I couldn’t even pick a favorite as each was spectacular in its own way; particularly The Palladium, Club USA and of course, The Saint!

Bway
Bway on October 28, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Was Roseland in Manhattan a theater at one time? I have been in there a few times for concerts, and it seems like it may have been a theater at one time.
And of course there’s the Hammerstein Ballroom, still used for concerts, with the seats ripped out, but still has a lot of it’s theater features. I think it was the Manhattan Opera House.

William
William on October 28, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Roseland was once a ice skating rink and later converted to a roller skating rink.

Bway
Bway on March 8, 2010 at 7:01 am

What a shame the new owners of the building decided to take the historic RKO Keiths name off the marquee that was restored about 10 years ago.

LuisV
LuisV on May 29, 2011 at 5:46 pm

So it has been over a year since the last posting on this theater. It appears nothing has changed, which I guess is good as that means it is still there and maintaining itself as a flea market. The RKO Keiths, along with the Loew’s Canal in Manhattan have got to be the largest and most promising of the unrenovated theaters in Manhattan. Unfortunately, the location of the Keiths makes it unlikely that the money will be spent to properly restore it. Ironically, it is the location that has allowed it to last this long relatively undisturbed.

angekmk
angekmk on September 6, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Has someone already mentioned the old days when stars came in support of their films? I remember seeing Judy Garland plugging “Gay Purree.” Jahn’s ice cream parlor next door was an added aatraction.

jimwhite
jimwhite on July 30, 2012 at 12:48 pm

I have been reading all the wonderful things you all have been saying about RH Keith’s and the surrounding neighborhood where I went to HS, 59-63. Unless I missed it I haven’t hear anyone mention the DELIGHT DINER on Jamaica Ave and Lefferts Blvd and Glenn’s Bar, directly across from the Keith’s and Salerno’s. I spent many a night in both!

LuisV
LuisV on September 20, 2012 at 11:04 am

I visited this theater in late August as I was in the area. Sad to say, it was incredibly depressing. The theater was hosting one of their Bingo sessions and the foyer leading from the front door to the auditorium reeked of cigarette smoke. The people were frightening. It literally looked like an SRO resident convention. None of these people looked like they should have any money to gamble on Bingo and yet here they were. Yes, the theater is still basically intact but I can’t imagine any situation where this ever gets restored. It simply is a rotten location for any performing arts use. I’m not even sure where these people came from since the area is basically a middle class neighborhood. Even more upsetting is that Salernos looks like its been long gone. The space is empty. Jahn’s Ice Cream Parlor (on the other side of the theater entrance) has been gutted and turned into some king of “club” but I couldn’t tell if even that hadn’t already gone out of business. The old Triangle Hoffbrau restaurant is also gone and gutted into medical offices. The beautiful Simonson Funeral Home was torn down and a strip mall is taking its place. Will likely be hideous. Next door to that, The Republican Club reflects its party. It has been completely hollowed out and is a shadow of its former stately self. Have no idea what’s happening there.

On a good note, the Olympic Diner on Myrtle is STILL there. Rubies Costume Shop is still on Jamaica Avenue. The Queens Public Library has been restored and it beautiful with loverly landscaping.

I have now sold my nearby investment apartment and will likely never be back to this area. I wish it all the best but I fear for the RKO Keiths. What a shame.

LugosiResearch
LugosiResearch on December 29, 2012 at 5:58 pm

On Saturday 3 February 1951, Bela “Dracula” Lugosi presented his in person Horror and Magic Stage show at RKO Richmond Hill. Currently I am conducting research on all things Lugosi; if anyone out there actually saw this show and/or has memorabilia (poster, handbill, photos) related to this show, please contact Bill at Thanks in advance for any assistance!

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