Ridgewood Theatre

55-27 Myrtle Avenue,
Ridgewood, NY 11385

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johndereszewski on April 8, 2015 at 12:56 pm

You are absolutely right Bway, especially since the lobby could have been a terrific gateway to the residence. But I guess the bottom line – and a severe lack of imagination – said otherwise.

PeterKoch on April 8, 2015 at 12:53 pm

Yes, one would think that the lobby could have remained intact as the entrance to the apartment building that the Ridgewood Theatre is being made into.

Ironically, on Page 2 of the March 26 – April 1 2015 issued of Time Out New York Magazine is an article titled “Ridgewood On The Rise” about new bars and restaurants in Ridgewood. Bierliechen at 582 Seneca Avenue between Grove and Menahan plans to serve sauerbraten, which will make it the first place to serve German food in Ridgewood, other than the Blau Weiss Gottscheer Hall at Fairview and Linden, in a LONG time.

Bway on April 8, 2015 at 12:44 pm

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.

Bway on April 8, 2015 at 12:42 pm

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.

PeterKoch on April 8, 2015 at 12:41 pm

Yes, John. Quite true. “We’ll always have Paris”, so to speak, regarding the Ridgewood Theatre.

johndereszewski on April 8, 2015 at 12:39 pm

So sorry to hear the bad news Bway – but thanks for being the messenger. It is too bad that none of the proposals for the retention of at least a small portion of the old theater that some local groups had presented went anywhere. But at least we wil have our memories – and this terrific page.

PeterKoch on April 8, 2015 at 12:38 pm

Thanks Chris. I can well relate to your feeling of horror. Like a piece of one’s past, irretrievably gone, forever. Ugh !

Bway on April 8, 2015 at 12:36 pm

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.

PeterKoch on April 8, 2015 at 12:31 pm

Thanks Bway (Chris). I’ll have a look at what’s left of the Ridgewood Theatre the next time I’m in Ridgewood.

Bway on April 8, 2015 at 12:28 pm

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.

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on April 8, 2015 at 12:23 pm

That’s a damn shame.

PeterKoch on April 8, 2015 at 12:14 pm

Thanks, Bway. Sad day indeed. Does the Myrtle Avenue facade remain intact ?

Bway on April 8, 2015 at 12:10 pm

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: http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/4021/photos/122229

PeterKoch on November 12, 2014 at 11:10 am

Indeed we do, Bway, many of which I have posted on this page.

Bway on November 11, 2014 at 1:20 pm

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.

PeterKoch on November 5, 2014 at 2:23 pm

I can well relate. The last time I was in Jahn’s, it was so dark and quiet, I have literally been in funeral homes that were more cheerful. Add to all of the above the closing of the Richmond Hill LIRR station in early March 1998.

LuisV on November 5, 2014 at 2:17 pm

With the loss of the Ridgewood, the last and best remaining unrenovated theater in Queens is the RKO Keith’s in Richmond Hill. I went over to the RKO Ketih’s Richmond Hill page and here is my post after my last visit in 2012:

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.

LuisV on November 5, 2014 at 2:06 pm

It’s pretty desolate from a retail standpoint. As you said, all the things that made this former hub something are now gone! Jahns, Hofbrau and Salerno’s. That’s no accident. Oh, and the crowd that comes to play bingo doesn’t help matters at all. Likely contributed to the loss of the others.

PeterKoch on November 5, 2014 at 12:41 pm

The former Austin is now the Kew Gardens Cinemas. The Keith Richmond Hill is not in a trendy hood, at least not since it lost Jahn’s ice cream parlor, and the Hofbrau and Salerno restaurants, but is still at a major transportation hub and crossroads, and is still downtown Richmond Hill.

LuisV on November 5, 2014 at 12:37 pm

You should see it Mike, but check the schedule to see when it is open. I think there may be a flea market on weekends as well. The location of this theater is the very reason it is still with us. It’s not in a trendy ‘hood, not a great shopping area. And certainly not a big movie going area. The nearest theater is the outstanding Austin on Lefferts Blvd in neighboring Kew Gardens which has done very well as an art house cinema. It is less than a mile away from the Keith’s, but a world apart. It would not work well as a performance space, nor I’m afraid as a theater, so I’m not sure how long this building is for this world but it has been a bingo hall since it stopped showing movies in the late 60’s (I think). The Keith’s is one of New York’s hidden gems hiding in plain sight.

PeterKoch on November 5, 2014 at 12:31 pm

You’re most welcome, Mike. Last time I was inside RKO Keith Richmond Hill, summer 2006, most of the theater stuff was still inside, except for the orchestra level seats.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on November 5, 2014 at 10:38 am

I’m going to have to check out the RKO Keith Richmond Hill link in person. Thanks for the tip.

PeterKoch on November 5, 2014 at 10:31 am

RKO Keith Richmond Hill may still operate as a bingo hall, but the benefit is that anyone can walk into it from the street and see the inside, and see that it was once a movie theater.

LuisV on November 5, 2014 at 10:29 am

It was announced a while ago that the theater was being converted to residential. It is being converted to 50 apartments as well as first floor commercial space. As the interior was not landmarked there was never any expectation that any of it would survive. The facade however IS landmarked and that should be spared. Here is the link: http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2014/07/10/ridgewood_theaters_residential_conversion_moves_forward.php The best preserved unrestored theater in Queens and quite possibly the entire city is the RKO Keith’s Richmond Hill. I am shocked that it still operates as a Bingo Hall.

PeterKoch on November 5, 2014 at 9:23 am

Thank you, harvvi. Sad, but not unexpected. R.I.P. Ridgewood Theatre. What next ?