Ridgewood Theatre

55-27 Myrtle Avenue,
Ridgewood, NY 11385

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PeterKoch on November 12, 2014 at 1:10 pm

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

Bway on November 11, 2014 at 3:20 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 4:23 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 4:17 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 4:06 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 2:41 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 2:37 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 2:31 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 12:38 pm

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 12:31 pm

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 12:29 pm

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 11:23 am

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

harvvi on November 5, 2014 at 11:20 am

As of last week, i have seen the whole in side of the theater destroyed. everything is gone! nothing was saved. I have seen the floor removed, its down to the dirt. about 10 boxes of new toilets & tanks waiting to be brought inside the building. at first it was said that it will be a supermarket but that fell through. Now i’m not sure but i have Michael Perlman on facebook putting up dates and fotos of the Ridgewood theater.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on November 3, 2014 at 10:06 am

That is a beautiful shot of the proscenium and stage curtain. Lovely house. We should all look at that new picture a lot to get it on the home page.

johndereszewski on November 2, 2014 at 9:59 am

Jeff, thanks so much for the two terrific photos which were probably taken just before the theater was divided. It certainly seemed to be in very good shape at the time, something that I was surprised to see.

Jeff M.
Jeff M. on November 1, 2014 at 6:58 pm

Hello All: I just posted 2 photographs taken of the auditorium in January 1977. One shows the details of the stage left organ screen and the other was taken from top balcony center looking towards the stage. The late Carl Weiss and I were visiting the house prior to it opening for the day and we were able to get into the organ chamber on stage right. Most of the organ’s sound effects were there including a thunder sheet which, when shook, caused the manager to frantically asked what happened. The pipe organ was a Moller, Opus 2408, possessing 3 manuals & 16 ranks of pipes. It was installed in 1917 at a cost of $5,250.00 according to my records. We did not find the console. Probably long gone by that time. The house was in very good shape and well taken care of at the time we visited. I hope they can find a way to save it.

johndereszewski on July 11, 2014 at 10:51 am

Thanks Metropolite for the update. The reference to first floor usage for an entertainment/cultural venue is interesting. Hopefully, it might represent a concession to those local parties who pushed for such a use in a portion of the old theater. This would certainly be preferable to the creation of still another drug store on the ground floor.

Metropolite on July 10, 2014 at 3:54 pm

On July 10, 2014 NY.Curbed.Com reported ….

Plans for Ridgewood Theater’s residential conversion were announced last fall, so what’s going on at the site now? Not much, but that may soon change; permits for the project were approved this week. The plans call for adding two stories to the three-story building, and created 50 apartments (10 more than previously reported).

Owner Bushburg Properties recently told Curbed that they are still in the planning stages of the development, working to bring contractors on board and finalizing their designs. The first floor will be an entertainment/cultural venue, and the permits make clear that the existing exterior of the theater, which is landmarked, will remain. Nataliya Donskoy is the architect.

PeterKoch on March 26, 2014 at 2:46 pm

You’re welcome, Lost Memory.

PeterKoch on March 24, 2014 at 4:06 pm

I walked past the Ridgewood Theatre this past Friday March 21 2014. No change since my last visit March 22 2013.

PeterKoch on February 18, 2014 at 3:39 pm

Only time will tell, Lost Memory.

PeterKoch on February 18, 2014 at 1:12 pm

RobertR, I don’t know. I may visit Ridgewood before this Friday Feb 21 2014. If I do, I will pass by and observe the Ridgewood Theatre and report here what I have seen.

RobertR on February 18, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Has demo on the interior begun?

Bway on October 22, 2013 at 2:44 pm

That’s a shame the church group didnt get it, as that would have been the best possible conversion the theater could have gotten second only after theater itself.

LuisV on October 20, 2013 at 10:18 am

Booo indeed. My friend’s church didn’t get it.