RKO Keith's Theatre

135-35 Northern Boulevard,
Flushing, NY 11354

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RKO Keith's Theatre

Once one of the most celebrated movie palaces of New York City, the RKO Keith’s Theatre in the Flushing section of Queens, is only a ghost of its former self.

Opened as the Keith-Albee Theatre on December 25, 1928 with Clara Bow in “Three Week Ends” on the screen and Keith-Albee vaudeville on stage. By the 1970’s, the theatre had been tripled, and as legend has it, in 1986, after almost sixty years of showing movies, the theatre was closed and sold. Soon after, its owner attempted to demolish it before a hearing could be held to decide its fate.

Having already damaged its famous facade and with work commencing to gut the theatre, the demolition was halted by the city. The owner soon forfeited the property, and the damaged and stripped RKO Keith’s Theatre has sat and waited for its final demolition for almost 30 years.

Several plans have come and gone to convert the building into apartments, but it sits to this day.

Contributed by Ross Melnick, William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 1,302 comments)

BobbyS
BobbyS on May 23, 2019 at 7:09 pm

Round & Round we go…. We will see if this one comes true!

robboehm
robboehm on May 23, 2019 at 7:42 pm

The resolution of this issue and that of the Times Square Theater in Manhattan have been dragging on for an eternity. An awful lot of money has been expended by parties and there is nothing to show for it.

BobbyS
BobbyS on May 23, 2019 at 7:47 pm

I understand THS is going to do a tour of the Times Square Theater later in June. Is this true? Should be great to see if anything is left. I am still waiting for a new Marquee magazine since December.

robboehm
robboehm on May 24, 2019 at 7:46 am

Bobby, according to the MarQuee online site they will be “relaunching” in June so, you know how things never occur when scheduled, you may have a long wait.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on May 24, 2019 at 1:52 pm

Theatre Historical Society of America was supposed to be having its annual conclave in New York City next month. Is that still happening?

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on May 24, 2019 at 2:44 pm

Yes, it’s still happening. It’s June 23-29, but the Keith’s isn’t on the list.

It’s called TheatreCon now.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on May 25, 2019 at 7:02 am

Time marches on for Keith’s Flushing in this recent news report, which claims that demolition of two-story adjacent buildings will be completed by next February. Click here

robboehm
robboehm on May 25, 2019 at 8:46 am

Any bets that portions of the theater may be “accidentally” destroyed by debris from the adjacent buildings being demolished?

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on May 25, 2019 at 9:37 am

The whole building is going to be demolished. The land marked portions were removed. The plan is to restore them off site and reinstall them when construction is almost complete.

Jeffrey1955
Jeffrey1955 on May 25, 2019 at 8:27 pm

Ah, what’s the use. It’s been so long now, nobody but a few of us old geezers even remember there was a theater there. I don’t even know why they’re bothering to return the “restored” lobby elements to the site, since they’ve apparently been moved elsewhere for restoration. Put them in the Queens Museum. At least they’ll be appreciated by more people there.

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