Tuesday, April 10, 2007

RKO Truth

This letter appeared in several Queens newspapers in response to a local newspaper article about the RKO Keith's Theater in Flushing:

To The Editor -

We would like to correct some serious misinformation in a recent news article regarding the historic RKO Keith's Flushing Theater.

Wellington Chen stated in the article that, "We tried to landmark the RKO Keith's... but there was no public investment"... the support was not there."

With all due respect, as Mr. Chen was not ever a member of the Committee to Save the RKO Keith's Theatre of Flushing, Inc., he may be unaware of some details:

Overwhelming community support was, indeed, behind landmarking the Keith's. The community was betrayed by some of its elected officials.

In the early 1980's, it was Deputy Beep Claire Shulman, herself, who lobbied at the Board of Estimate hearing on behalf of her boss Donald Manes to reject landmarking the Keith's grand interior spaces. The community was sold out when a compromise deal was struck that abridged the designation to include only the ticket lobby and grand foyer. Manes was said to have convinced Tommy Huang to buy the Keith's in 1986.

Our committee then requested the Landmark's Preservation Commission to reinstate the original entire interior designation.

Over 3,500 petition signatures of support were sent to Shulman, with copies to then-Mayor Koch and the LPC, by certified, return-receipt mail. Shulman denied receiving them. LPC clearly told us they were willing to re-designate all the Keith's interior spaces if then-Borough President Shulman would show her support. She flatly refused by stubbornly stonewalling, thus sealing the theater's fate.

Therefore, Shulman has the role of accomplice to Tommy Huang for the sad status quo. It was her job to protect her constituents from the likes of a convicted criminal like Huang. Instead, like her corrupt boss Manes, she turned her back and looked away.

Of course, the inept Department of Buildings went along with all of it, too.

All we ask is that your readers remember the true, shameful legacy of the "Shul-Manes" administration and over a quarter of a century of the (unpaid) work of our committee on behalf of this wonderful landmark. We tried our best, and so did the active members of our Flushing community. Thank you all.

Jerry Rotondi
Acting President
Committee to Save the RKO Keith's Theatre of Flushing

15 comments:

georgetheatheist said...

And this old crone Shulman is in charge of developing Willets Point? Oy vay, is mir!

Anonymous said...

Isn't Wellington Chen on the board of Bowne House, that monument to the dedication of Queens to history? Correction: he is on the board but we understand from a fellow board member that he is MIA when it actually comes to meetings and susbstanial involvment.

(Bowne House: the poster child as to the reason NOT to bring the Remonstance to the tender mercies of the local talent)

Maybe the library board can find a place for him. Seems that would be good company for his ilk.

She's a Shul-man baby said...

Glad to see exposed what I was saying all along. Claire Shulman was another in the long line of polical hacks who became Borough President. The fact that she was a Manes assistant should have been a red flag for voters. You would think that by now Queens voters would reject the Democratic machine party hacks and their candidates who care nothing about the neighborhoods they represent.

Anonymous said...

But, dear fellow, the people in Queens are not given any other choice, the press has a hands off attitude, and as to any city-wide civic group opening our eyes, our clumsiness is not their problem (indeed, while we remain clueless, all sorts of goodies goes to them, to say nothing of thier cheap staff that lives out of sight and out of mind in Queens).

They will remain on the sidelines until it starts to hit them in the pocket book. For example they are just waking up to the reason they are paying higher utility rates -- more demand from our chronic illegal conversions in Queens needs more capital spending.

Yes, indeed, 'cheap' staff that can be taken advantage of does come with a price after all.

Anonymous said...

Gee, the newspapers did not cover this Jerry?

Now how can we trust them if they withhold information from the people of Queens to protect the clubhouse?

Crappy Queens Rags said...

Queens newspapers are part of the problem. They give Queens elected officials a free ride and do not hold them accountable. Again it's money. Elected officials in return advertise in their newspapers on every holiday. The big losers? Queens residents and taxpayers.

Elected officials use taxpayer money to pay for their ads and in return newspapers fill their pages with boring photos of elected officials posing with countless proclamations and awards. Queens weekly newspapers: now that's the real Queens Crap.

Anonymous said...

With people like Tommy Huang on CB#7.....yes, he was a member.....I think that CB#7 was highly suspect too!

Anonymous said...

Chen is also on CUNY's board....and on a lot of others.

I guess he's got an eye ???? on things ripe for the taking....don't you think????

Anonymous said...

Let's see if Chen's group wins the bid for the Willets Point job....then he and Claire can team up in a vaudeville act!

Get your rotten tomatoes ready folks!

Anonymous said...

Do you know that there were actually more landmark designations in Queens under that crook Manes than there was under Shulman! Check the record!

Enough BS about this "caring" kindly grandma .

Like in the "little Red Riding Hood " fairy tale, "grandma, what big teeth you have"!

She's a wolf in disguise!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

The truth is - when ANY political party becomes too entrenched in power - there is a problem. Ask yourself this question - when was the LAST time there was a NON Democratic Party Beep in Queens? (answer - NEVER)

BTW The CUNY spots are often used to send money via the student Govts to who the Pols want to get money. Gee - you run a small printing company, and get Queens College to send all it's student Newspapers (at that time, 2 majors and a couple of smaller) to you...

Anonymous said...

I think Harvey in 1941 was a Republican.

But the point is that Queens is treated like a 3rd world country, a system of petty corruption and indifference to change and running unopposed and newspapers with tales of fearless leaders and inherited power and the like.

For many of the tweeded that have moved here from foreign countries, instead finding a system suggesting they aspire to the American political ideal, in Queens they find a system that has them cynically fall under the sway of a way of life that far too many people live under: a patronage mill with little more than the trappings of democracy.

If I was a politician, I would not want the middle class, or yuppies, of even people that have lived here for generations. Too many problems. Too many complaints. Too much work. Too little money.

I would want wall to wall immigrants.

Anonymous said...

The person to really keep an eye on is Myra Baird Herce! She's with the Flushing LDC or the Chamber of Commerce??? (2nd in command?) ????? or whatever.

This girl's a leftover from the old Manes days and keeps bouncing back as one of the most consistent players in the downtown area for nearly a quarter of a century!

There's a letter on file somewhere (early 1980s) from Manes to Herce re: RKO that reads in part, "......you will be pleased to know........that the lobby .....foyer......" etc. are landmarked....yadda, yadda, yadda. Were they both in cahoots????

Herce was on CB#7 (I believe) and the Downtown Flushing Development Corp. at the time.

Note: Myra Baird Herce (we've been told) was the sister of Bill Baird who was an abortion pro activist in the 1960s.

Herce, probably, has the "skinny" on the whole damn Keith's scandal....if she would talk!

Myra is the one that thinks (recently published opinion) that the Muni Lot #1 project looks fine . H-m-m-m-m!

Queens West said...

Shulman was as guilty as Manes. She was his right hand MAN. She set the wheels in motion for Queens being used as a dumping ground.

Helen Marshall is more capable and works much harder for the borough then Shulman ever did.

Anonymous said...

Ha....Helen Marshal is "capable" and "hard working"???? For who....the builders???? !!!!!

Somebody is dreaming or naive!

She's on the developers' payroll like practically every borough president that we've ever seen since the office was created!

Let's wake up. That smiling jovial blank faced woman is a politically talented and cunning shark!