RKO Keith's Theatre

135-35 Northern Boulevard,
Flushing, NY 11354

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RKO Keith's Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

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 1,299 comments)

BobbyS
BobbyS on October 18, 2017 at 11:06 am

What is new about this concept? Cinerama & theater seats shaking have all been done before 30+ years ago. I knew there was an audience out there in Flushing. It has to be a foreign company to realize it I guess.

Jeffrey1955
Jeffrey1955 on October 18, 2017 at 12:04 pm

It’s a Korean company. And, of course… “When we discovered the opportunity to be an integral part of Tangram, we knew being in this economically vibrant and evolving neighborhood was where our first East Coast movie theater had to be,” said Paul Richardson, COO of CJ CGV. Yep — economically vibrant and evolving neighborhood. Just can’t possibly support refurbishing the Keith’s. Only a new building a couple of blocks away will do. Sad.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on October 19, 2017 at 5:43 am

I would guess that means South Korean company (not North Korean). Does South Korea produce enough movies annually to supply a multiplex, or will films from other nations be programmed as well?

BobbyS
BobbyS on October 19, 2017 at 7:52 pm

Probably two screens for these films and the rest of the same from Hollywood that all the other bland chains show every week. Wonder if will have dine-in options and recliners like seems to be the norm today?. I was at one once and never again. People chewing and talking and sending back the food because it wasn’t warm enough and ordering drinks. Would make Marcus Loew shed a tear!

optimist008
optimist008 on October 20, 2017 at 7:52 pm

Is their “Screen X” three sided screen similar to the USA Barco screens???

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on October 21, 2017 at 6:40 am

“Queens Residents Not Ready To Give Up” news article

BobbyS
BobbyS on October 21, 2017 at 8:35 am

Now if this company has any vision they would put their project into the RKO and retain and use the lobby in a grand fashion. Maybe put condos & apartments on top for extra income in case the movie house flops.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on November 3, 2017 at 6:49 am

“Final Push To Save RKO Keith’s From Demolition” news article

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on November 3, 2017 at 6:52 am

Direct link to online petition here

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on November 17, 2017 at 7:25 am

An update on preservation proceedings here

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