Ritz Theater

60-15 Myrtle Avenue,
Ridgewood, NY 11385

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Bway on August 27, 2013 at 12:24 pm

The Ritz Theater has finally lost it’s early 80’s facade renovation, and been heavily altered on the front, and now has windows on the upper floors which makes it much more attractive. It’s currently for sale for over 3 Million. http://www.masseyknakal.com/listings/detail.aspx?lst=16760

Bway on April 27, 2009 at 8:15 am

This building is currently for sale.

Bway on June 30, 2008 at 10:57 am

You could own the old Ritz Theater building if you have about $3.8 million handy. Click link below for a photo of the Ritz as it is today:

View link

Bway on June 12, 2006 at 5:51 am

Does anyone know when the Ritz closed as a theater?

Bway on April 4, 2006 at 4:58 pm

Here’s a link to a view of the former Ritz Theater on Myrtle Ave at 71st Ave. It is currently a Blockbuster Video Store (Isn’t that Ironic).
Before Blockbuster, it was “Roman Furniture”. The building was completely redone and resufaced in the late 70’s or early 80’s when Roman Furniture moved in. Before Roman Furniture, it was a different furniture store, and it still had the marquee out front. The marquee lasted until at least the mid 70’s, I remember it well, and remember watching them remove it when I was at the A&P store across the street with my mother.
Notice how it is a much smaller building than the Ridgewood or Madison Theater buildings of course, but it is still quite a bit bigger than the neighboring stores (at least one floor higher too). The former theater building towers over the adjoining buildings, and also runs street-to-street.
Here’s the link to the aerial view of the former Ritz Theater. The Ritz is the building with the blue awning in front – Blockbuster Blue:

West on top:
View link

Another angle, with north on top:
View link

Bway on May 11, 2005 at 5:07 am

Here is a photo of the old Ritz Theater building taken yesterday, now housing the Blockbuster Video. The facade of the building was resurfaced in the early 80’s when it was still “Roman Furniture”. The marquee was also removed at that point.

Click Here for Link to photo

deleted user
[Deleted] on January 12, 2005 at 8:24 am

I would believe that at the very least the Airdromes were constructed of wood. You raise an interesting point about the Van Cortlandt Airdrome being closed and not sold. Perhaps it was retained for its land. I will continue to investigate this matter.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on January 6, 2005 at 6:27 pm

Bway….I read the Times Weekly article again about Hartman and his theaters. The article claims that the Van Cortlandt Airdrome closed in 1920 and Hartman sold the two Evergreen theaters in 1921. It does not say that the Van Cortlandt Airdrome was sold. I don’t believe that he sold it. Since it was located right by the block that he was building those stores on, why would he sell it? He already owned that property, so he just had to buy the rest of the block from the Ivanhoe Company and demolish the Airdrome to begin building. I was also trying to find out who he sold the Evergreen theaters to, but haven’t had any luck with that so far.

Tom…..I don’t know what the indoor Evergreen theater was constructed of. I don’t believe that Hartman sold the Evergreen to operate the Ritz. He sold it to get the money to build the Ritz and the buildings located in front of the Ritz.

Bway on January 6, 2005 at 12:41 pm

Lost, thanks for the great information on this theater.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on January 6, 2005 at 11:42 am

Joseph Hartman, his son Jesse Hartman and his son-in-law Phoebus Kaplan, are listed as the principal owners of the McKinley Construction Company which is the company that built the stores in front of the Ritz theater and most likely they built the Ritz theater itself. I don’t believe that they owned the Ritz. I believe that they built it for the Van Cortlandt Amusement Co. I also believe that Hartman had enough of movie theaters after the Evergreen and found the construction business to be more lucrative. Hartman also owned the Alden Construction Company. During construction in the 1920’s, Phoebus Kaplan moved from East New York to a house on 67th Street so he could better surpervise the construction. Hartman’s McKinley Construction Company also built the McKinley Homes near 69th st.
In 1921, to give builders an incentive to start construction, legislation was passed whereby all houses where construction was started by a specified date would be eligible for a tax-exemption for a number of years. Builders could use the tax exemption as a sales pitch to prospective buyers. This sparked a construction boom. This exemption also applied to stores with apartments above them. The same year, Joseph Hartman sold the Van Cortlandt Airdrome and the two Evergreen theaters in order to buy the land from the Ivanhoe Company to build on the block where the Ritz theater was located.

deleted user
[Deleted] on January 5, 2005 at 5:47 pm

The Van Cortlandt Airdrome is shown as closed in 1920 but was not sold until 1921 along with the two Evergreen Theatres. It is therefore unlikely that the Ritz Theatre operated at the same time as the Van Cortlandt Airdrome.

deleted user
[Deleted] on December 31, 2004 at 5:48 pm

Very good lastmemory. Both Evergreen Theatres were sold in 1921 to raise capitol for the building purposes further up Myrtle Avenue. The link between the Airdrome and Ritz Theatre is obvious to me. I would also like to speculate on the fate of the Evergreen Theatre. It could have been a hastily built theatre that could not meet more stringent building codes in the late 1920’s and therefore had to be razed. Hartmann must have seen the writing on the wall. Why else would you sell a 1200+ seat theatre like the Evergreen to build a theatre like the Ritz which had half the seating? Do we even know if the Evergreen Theatre was brick or perhaps a wooden structure which would make it unacceptable in the late 1920’s due to strict fire codes implemented in NYC.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on December 31, 2004 at 4:15 pm

We were trying to find a connection between the Van Cortlandt Airdrome and the Ritz theater. The Ritz theater was built in 1921 as was already stated here. The following is from an article on the owners of the Van Cortlandt Airdrome. “In 1921, Joseph Hartman and his son-in-law, Phoebus Kaplan, built a row of brick store fronts with a dwelling on the upper levels on Myrtle Avenue beginning at Anthon Avenue (60th Street)”. The owners of the Van Cortlandt Airdrome are the same people that built the stores in front of the Ritz and most likely the Ritz theater itself.

deleted user
[Deleted] on December 24, 2004 at 4:22 pm

When I collect enough data on the Van Cortlandt Airdrome I will be happy to add it Bway.

Bway on December 22, 2004 at 4:56 pm

Tom, if you want to add it….
I don’t anything else about it other than was mentioned in the Evergreen Theater section.

deleted user
[Deleted] on December 22, 2004 at 4:33 pm

Since the Van Cortlandt Airdrome was seperate theatre it should be accorded its own listing just like any other theatre.

Bway on December 20, 2004 at 8:01 pm

Yeah, that’s probably enough for the Van Cortlandt Airdrome. It was very short lived, and probably a ramshackle building. The triangled block is quite small, so the airdrome couldn’t have even been all that large. I guess it’s probably enough to mention it under the Evergreen Theater section. I don’t think there’s much else to even say about the theater, which was probably nothing more than an open air theater with bench seats. I still do believe though that the Ritz Theater was probably the “indoor” part of the Van Cortlandt Airdrome, as most of the outdoor “summer” theaters had indoor counterparts, and seeing that “Van Cortlandt Amusements” built the Ritz, it’s probably too much of a cooincidence not to be the case.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on December 20, 2004 at 6:44 pm

The Van Cortlandt Airdrome isn’t listed by itself. It was included in the description of the Evergreen Theater because it was owned by the same people.

deleted user
[Deleted] on December 19, 2004 at 6:41 pm

I do not see a listing for the Van Cortlandt Airdrome on Cinema Treasures.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on December 19, 2004 at 12:32 pm

I found that the Van Cortlandt Airdrome had its address listed as Van Cortlandt Ave and not Myrtle Ave. The modern address for the Airdrome would be 69-26 71st Ave. I assume that the entrance to the Airdrome was also on Van Cortlandt and that is why the Airdrome wasn’t called the Myrtle Airdrome.

RobertR on December 19, 2004 at 5:52 am

So there were still theatres showing only silent films into the 30’s?

Bway on December 18, 2004 at 7:59 pm

In all likeliness, the theater only lasted about 10 years or so.
What with all the competition that popped up after the opening up of the Ritz, like the Glenwood across the street, the Belvedere and Oasis not far away, and the major players, the Madison and the Ridgewood Theatre, the 600 seat Ritz didn’t have a chance, so they probably didn’t think it would be worth it to convert from silent films.

As for the Van Cortlandt Amusement Co/Van Cortlandt Airdrome possible connection, I think it’s quite possible, and probably likely. Many of the open air theaters had “all weather” indoor theaters built next door to their open air theaters. The Evergreen and Grandview Theaters in Ridgewood are examples. The Van Cortlandt Airdrome was only a few hundred feet away, in the triangle block formed by what is now 71 Ave, 60th, and Myrtle Ave (Flowerama now occupies this old airdrome site). Since it was a very small triangled block, I speculate that the Ritz could have been the “indoor” part of Van Cortlandt Airdrome.

deleted user
[Deleted] on December 18, 2004 at 4:56 pm

I show an opening date of 1922 with no listing for this theatre after 1932.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on December 16, 2004 at 12:21 pm

The building is listed as being built in 1921 so the Ritz might have opened in 1922 or 1923. The original owner is listed as the Van Cortlandt Amusement Co and they sold this building in May of 1937. Did the Ritz theater remain open until 1937 or did it close earlier and the building sat empty until 1937. Less than two blocks from this building was the Van Cortlandt Airdrome which was supposedly closed before this building was constructed. I’m curious if there was a connection between the Van Cortlandt Airdrome and the Van Cortlandt Amusement Co.