Friday, October 5, 2007

RKO Keith's Theater back on the market

After more than five years of trying to develop the site of the famed RKO Keith's Theater in downtown Flushing, the Brooklyn developer who owns it has put the bedraggled property up for sale, several members of Community Board 7 said this week.

Dormant RKO Keith's theater for sale again

Members of CB 7's Executive Board said they were told by Borough President Helen Marshall's office last week that Boymelgreen Development, which bought the property in 2002, is planning to sell it, effectively ending a once hopeful bid by the developer to rejuvenate the formerly majestic site.

Flushing’s RKO Keith’s Is Up For Sale Again

And over in our sister borough, Brownstoner is Wondering about the Loew's Wonder Theater.

Photo from HopeTunnel


Anonymous said...

This fine theater was sold out many years ago......
begining in the early1980s!

First by the Donald Manes/Larry Gresser duo....
then continued by his
(most likely.... equally crooked) "protege"
Claire Shulman!

CB #7 and the
Flushing Downtown Development Corp.
(a group of Manes stooges)
merely greased the process along......
while deftly feigning interest in the RKO's preservation.

Had they put some real steam
behind their feeble "preservation" attempts....
the entire theater would be standing today
as the jewel of Flushing
and the centerpiece of its rebirth
as a truly diverse quality community.

Much later on Councilman Liu, put out his usual pound and a half of press releases
claiming that his office was instrumental in brokering the original
Boymelgreen purchase of the site.....
purely a pile of political BS !

The Boymelgreen group
came to then Councilwoman Harrison's office
a year prior to Liu's claim......
inquiring about the RKO.
They were told,"Good luck getting it away
from Tommy Huang".

Now Chuck Apelian & Co. are crying in their beer about this latest loss.
(A little too late for Crocodile tears....h-m-m-m)?

Well......maybe it's time to go back to the original intent and desires of the Flushing community.....
to turn the site into a multi-cultural
performing arts/convention center......huh ?

Let NYC use the process of eminent domain proceedings for the good of Flushing for a change
and acquire the Keith's once and for all,
like they were asked to do over 18 years ago
when the notorious Huang held it hostage.

Well.....let's all hope for some positive outcome.

It ain't over 'til it's over!

??? way back when said...

What exactly did Myra Baird Herce mean
by her quote to the Queens Chronicle
in which she stated that it would be a long process
and that she hoped that some
"...cooler heads will prevail..." ???

Was this intended as a slur against
some well respected professional hard working
Flushing community leaders
who simply refused to lie down quietly
and stood firmly in the way of letting the Keith's
be destroyed by wanna-be developer
Lawrence T. Gresser Jr. (Manes' former deputy beep)
during the period of 1980-82 ???

do you think that Herce should be spelled hearse ???

Did she, perhaps early in the game,
provide the spade
which helped to bury Flushing ???

Was she assisted by the now defunct
Downtown Flushing Development Corporation ???)

Wasn't this corporation set up at the behest of
then corrupt Borough President Donald Manes
and included Tommy Huang as a member ???
(Note: Huang was also a member of CB# 7
at that time).

Weren't Herce & Huang joint members
of both CB# 7 and the
Downtown Flushing Development Corporation ???

Or are these just a bunch of "hot head"
inspired rumors ???

After all these years Ms. Herce
still appears to be in some kind of "catbird seat".....
and fervently holding onto the reins....
apparently "somebody's" favorite "something"....
don't you think ???

Why do you suppose that is ???

Too many few answers !!!

G.S. Rotondi for the "committee to save Keith's" said...

The Committee to Save
The RKO Keith's Theatre of Flushing Inc.
has sought for a quarter of a century,
to work with any developer who offered
a reasonable proposal to redevelop
this most important
(partially landmarked) historic site.

We have attended many meetings
with i.e. Tishman,
Helmsley Spear and later Boymelgreen etc.
and willingly provided them with our assistance
and some much appreciated information.

We even attempted working with Tommy Huang !

Throughout all this, we have always maintained
a position of respectful but cautious optimism
in all our dealings with developers, consultants,
government officials, agencies or representatives.....
for that is our mandate.

We sincerely hope that this momentary setback
in the process of renewal for the Keith's
will pick up speed again......
but, frankly, little surprises us.

colly mack said...

I think Brooklyn (Kings) and Queens are husband and wife, not sisters.

Anonymous said...

After reading these articles I guess we all know the position of Community Board #7 and Councilman John Liu in regard to the building, which houses a designated NYC interior landmark. All they seem to be interested in is the “site” and not the building or the landmark.

“The site will be redeveloped...the building is a dilapidated shell of its former self…someone will build there.” Thank you Chuck for selling us out once again! I’m bored with Community Board #7 already!

“Huge potential for the site…no shortage of buyers because it is in a pivotal location…approved by the city…whoever buys the property will have to follow the plans exactly.” Have a buyer in mind Johnny Liu? Maybe cousin Tommy can form another bogus corporation (if he hasn’t already) and buy it.

Then to read that Myra Herce is “disheartened”, was hysterical! She was the chair of Community Board #7 when Donald Manes decided the fate of the Keith’s Theatre in favor of, then community Board Member, Tommy Huang. Manes appointed both Huang and Herce to CB #7. Myra is a phony and she’s not to be trusted. She speaks from both sides of her ass. It is pathetic that this is going on for 20 plus years.

According to the City Register, Arbor Realty SR, Inc. has a vested interest in the property as of September 5, 2007. It looks as though a sale is already pending.

ken said...

there's another old movie theatre on Jamaica Avenue by the Central Library, in Jamaica. It was turned into a church many years back. I've never been inside. Wonder if any of the interior was saved?

Carol said...

“The site will be redeveloped...the building is a dilapidated shell of its former self…someone will build there.”

As a lifelong Flushing resident, I love that dilapidated old shell. I hate to see it in the condition it is in. I have such wonderful memories of Main Street and the RKO Theater. What can't they just rebuild it - make a jazz club/playhouse/gallery out of it.

Everything now is soooo very boring - every store is the same 5 Deli's and nail places on one block GAPS and Walmarts. Why can't we add a little class and sass to the area the way Flushing Town Hall does?

Anonymous said...

an entertainment club of some sort would be great. Maybe J Lui could be convinced into supporting the plan by promising him that he'd get to perform on stage on occasion. He seems to love publicity so this tactic might actually work.

eamallc said...

The damage that has occured inside this theater makes me sick to my stomach, but I dont believe it is necessarily beyond restoration as the community board wants us to believe. This was an absolute gem that has been around 80 years. Why would you want to tear it down for "condos".I dont understand why no one has stepped forward to convert it back to a movie theater, as dowtown Flushing currently has NO movie theaters. The area had two at one time. Now it has NONE!

?????? said...

Wasn't it the same Myra Herce
that wanted the grass and trees
in the middle of northern Blv'd.
removed for parking spaces
many years ago?

Anonymous said...

Chuck can't even take care of his own block
on which he lives.....what a mess!

And Liu doesnt live much further away from him.......
he'd pee in his own petunia patch!

Anonymous said...

This whole damn daisy chain.....
CB# 7, Herce & her Flushing Chamber Pot,
the beep's office, Ackerman, etc......yadda, yadda....
have been up each other's bung hole so long
that they can't see the light!

It's time to flush out
this stagnant corrupt political
mutual ass kissing society!

What was Herce's reward for playing the "Judas Goat" ?

Anonymous said...

I've been inside....the interior is intact.
The exterior is a municipal landmark.

Anonymous said...

Myra's brother, Bill Baird, (hence Myra Baird Herce)
was an abortion activist during, I believe,
the early to mid 1960s
when this procedure was still illegal.

He aided, advised and directed many women
to out of the country facilities
where these operations might be performed.

(Just a note of added information
without taking any position on this matter).

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't John Liu and cousin Tommy Huang
go into partnership and buy the Keiths ?

Convicted crook....Johnny's daddy.... Joseph Liu
might help "get the money" from Taiwan !

verdi said...

Whatever happens to the Keith's.....
you can expect that BS artist john Liu
will claim to be its savior!

What is the ratio of his press releases
to his actual accomplishments......
about one thousand to one ? !!!

Anonymous said...

It's not the first time Myra Herce speaks of "cooler Heads". Check this out:

RKO Keith’s Project Floundering In Flushing

It's like the sale was being planned a year ago. Somethings up.

Carol said...

"as the community board wants us to believe".

Absolutely! This is what they said about Flessels - the 125 year tavern and rooming house that was demolished a few years about. It was not declared a landmark - but, it had to look and feel of long ago College Point. The handcarved bar inside was amazing. When they knocked her down, they wasn't a dry eye in the Point. We still think of her from time to time with regret.

I do not want to see this happen to RKO. Bringing back a movie theater would be wonderful also - NO CONDOS, NO WALMARTS - give RKO the respect it deserves!

ken said...

good to know that the Jamaica theatre interior is intact and that the exterior is landmarked. So maybe there's hope for RKO being salvaged too.

verdi said...

Maybe Myra Herce is going to get a "finder's fee"
for the latest pending sell out !

Yes it's confirmed....."Arbor Realty SR"
according to the records of NYC Dept. Of Finance
(ACRIS search)
is "involved" with the Keith's.

Something is rotten in the state of Flushing.....
once again (as is usual) !

Anonymous said...

Was Myra one of Manes' original "party girls" ?

In her day (25 years long gone) she sported......
blazing red hair and a fiery shade of lip paint
that would have made one of the painter Lautrec's Parisian whores look demure !

Anonymous said...

Seems like there are a few people who are not happy with Chuck Appelian. Check this out:

Issac Sasson was a CB#7 member until recently. He knows how Appelian works. I'd like to see the determination of the Conflict of Interest Board. Does Appelian have any relatives in the Armenian Home?

The Conflict Of Interest Board should look into all the members of CB#7, the staff and most importantly, the District Manager.

Anonymous said...

Is Chuck going to be the next Chir of CB#7? He seems to be in the press more than John Liu lately.

Anonymous said...

Sasson is another horse's ass !

Anonymous said...

Asians won't buy the Keith''s bad luck.
There was, I believe, a double fatality there
in the 1950s.

A driver lost control of his car after suffering a heart attack....plowing under the marquee
(missing the box office) and killing a pedestrian.

It's haunted....and it's those ghosts
that finally drove Tommy Huang out !

Boooooooo !

Anonymous said...

The cost of restoring just the ticket lobby
and grand foyer of the Keith's was estimated to be about 20 million dollars in Boymelgreen's project.

I'd love to see the theater returned to its former glory
but it doesn't seem likely
with the gang of political pigs that run Flushing
like it was their mob turf!

Anonymous said...

How about an indoor Chinese
grand prix go-cart race track ?

The Shanghai team against the Taiwanese team....
with a hot ping pong game finish in the lobby !

ken said...

the intersection of Main Street and Northern Blvd, where RKO sits, has a massive amount of traffic on it. Something should be done to make it safer for pedestrians.

Anonymous said...

In the early 1980s......
Claire Shulman was vehemently set against
the interior landmark designation of the Keith's.

She had been representing her corrupt boss
Donald Manes at the Board of Estimate
confirmation hearing for the Keith's.....
spending a good part of the day lobbying
the board not to ratify the designation
of the theater's grand interior spaces.

At the ultimate spiteful "behest" of Manes.....
the abridged designation that we see today
includes only the ticket lobby and the grand foyer.

With Myra Herce & Tommy Huang
being placed on both C#7
and the Downtown Flushing Development Corp.
the stage was set for Huang to acquire the Keith's.

Don't trust any of the players that are still around since those early days.....
particularly Myra Herce who keeps on popping up
like a bad penny....sporting various titles.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you "Ken".....
this is one of the most dangerous intersections
in Flushing .

Is that why John Liu recommended a senior center
to be included in the RKO Boymelgreen project ?

What an idiot this area has for a councilman.....
who also happens to be the son of a convicted crook !

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Shulman will rest well in eternity
for her betrayal of the Keiths ?

I hope she doesn't meet up with any
old vaudeville souls....wherever she winds up.

Anonymous said...

Yes I remember.....
around 1986 Shulman was sent 3,500
petition signatures requesting the reinstating
of the original entire interior designation
of the RKO that was cut down by Manes.

She stubbornly refused to support it!

She's was worse that her corrupt boss.....
and still is......a pompous sneaky coward.

At least Manes was out in the open
with his arrogant anti landmarking position.

There were, in fact, more landmark designations
under Manes than there were under Shulman.

What a treacherous malevolent creature
posing as a kindly grandma she turned out to be!

jerry rotondi said...

The situation that exists today at the RKO Keith's
is the legacy of the Shul/Manes administration.

Now Flushing is left, once again, to pick up the pieces
in this latest debacle !

Anonymous said...

The situation that exists today is a result of those actions taken by Community Board #7 and Chuck Apellian. His team was overly concerned about the variance and the loft spaces.

jerry rotondi said...

I'm talking about the root cause of the sad status quo
which began way back in the early 1980s.

The Keith's was first sandbagged by Manes
and the job was continued by his protege Shulman
after his suicide.

They were Huang's original accomplices.....
before and after the fact!

Had the Keith's been fully landmarked....
the whole interior....instead of just a portion.....
and the theater turned into
a performing arts/cultural center
as the community had overwhelmingly desired....
all would be well today.

Two professional feasibility studies
that were done in the past
concluded this option to be possible
as well as cost effective.

Anonymous said...

As far as Apelian and the CB#7 gang being
overly concerned about the variance
regarding the loft spaces.....
and being worried that it might encourage opening illegal businesses in these apartments....bah !

There are already so many illegal businesses
operating in Flushing....what's one more?

Now an opportunity has been lost .

Anonymous said...

Put the blame on on Boymelgreen !

Appearing to want the cooperation
of the community in its desire to "develop"
the Keith's......they played kissy-face with CB#7.

The project was already begining to hit a snag
about a year earlier in the game.

Real estate markets
were begining to show a slow down
and Boymelgreen was looking for a way
to maintain their high profit margin.

If that failed,
I'm certain that they were prepared
to get out of the deal and sell off the Keith's
as they are presently doing.....
finding themselves stuck in the middle
of a downhill market.

If they wanted a larger FAR for the loft spaces.....
they could have bypassed CB#7's vote
(which is purely advisory)
and gone directly to the BSA (Board of Rubber Stamps) for approval .

Shya Boymelgreen is a street smart "hondler"
from the old school.
The Keith's was begining to become
a financial hot potato.....
a burden for his company.....the restoration costly.....time to get out !

That's the plain truth of the matter.

I doubt that we'll be seeing a new buyer
for this Albatross for quite a long time
despite all the hype to the contrary!

Maybe the city should
take the property via eminent domain....
of course compensating Boymelgreen
at the assessed value of the Keith's.....
and correct the great wrong that was done
to the Flushing community
some 20 years ago!

Anonymous said...

If CB#7 can arrange to arrange
to skim off some of the profits
of all those Asian gambling, prostitution,
counterfeiting and smuggling enterprises
flourishing in the area.....
perhaps the community can buy back the Keith's
and restore it!

Anonymous said...

"Forget it's Chinatown" !

Anonymous said...

Flushing is not even a town or a city
it's a whole other country....
where everyone looks the other way
adopting a policy of "leave it alone"!

Things "go on here" that the government
won't even acknowledge or admit to.....
so long as Asian cash
continues to drop into the pockets of local politicos come election time!

Tommy Huang started it all....
and his cousins (John Liu etc.)
are following in his footsteps.

Is Myra Herce also on the payroll ???

Anonymous said...

If Myra is (???) "on the take".....
she's been at it for quite some time.

She must have some retirement account by now
if what you say is true (???) !

Anonymous said...

Maybe (???).....
but a long time "player" like herself.....
I'll bet she's got the goods on everybody....
don't you think ?

Anonymous said...

Boymelgreen won an Excellence in Historic Preservation Award for his River Lofts project in Tribeca. Leave it to a bunch of assholes from Flushing to turn down his request to do the same here.

Anonymous said...

I feel some folks could not face the fact that Flushing's most prime piece of real estate was going to be developed by someone who was not Asian. Flushing could have had a project, developed by an Israeli millionaire who has a track record of quality buildings. But, oh no, that could not happen here in Flushing. It would have to be one of the locals. If it were not an Asian developer, how would Myra Herce be able to show her face in public after the years of spreading the propaganda that the Asians “saved” Flushing?

Flushing is a mess because of Myra and her buddies like Chuck, Tommy and Wellington.

Anonymous said...

You should really check out Boymelgreen's
earlier record in Brooklyn.

Shitty looking HUD money projects for Hassids .....
wasn't it near the old Brooklyn Navy yard (???).....
complete with space for harvest holiday huts!

Anonymous said...

Not to kiss Ms. Herce's ass but....
I was at one of the CB#7 meetings......
It seemed to me that Myra was in favor
of the Boymelgreen projct.

It should have gone through....
without the overly fussy picking
through every mini detail
with a fine tooth comb.

Nobody looked that carefully when Tommy Huang
presented his plans to CB#7 !

Would you prefer he or one of "his boys"
built over the Keith's ?

Anonymous said...

Now we can all look forward to at least five more years of passing by that rotting carcass on Northern Blv'd!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

A first class firm was going to be used by Boymelgreen
to restore the ticket lobby and grand foyer
of the RKO Keith's.

Our local bored (CB#7) jerked his chain so long
that the real estate market fell in the meantime.....
and now (like any smart businessman)
Boymelgreen wants out !

Thank you CB#7 for screwing us all once again.

Anonymous said...

I'll bet Wellington Chen gets the Keith's!

(He appears to have access to Shanghai money).

And I'm sure he'll do his best to get it de-landmarked.

Anonymous said...

John Liu is probably on the phone right now
to Taiwan pimping for his cousin Tommy Huang.

Maybe a new bogus corporation can be set up
by one of Huang's sons....Henry or John.....
or maybe even his daughter Tiffany
(she must be old enough by now).

And flip flop....
that family's in business once again.

The next generation of spawn.

(Toby "the toad" Stavisky & Co. is probably applauding quietly somewhere
for their part in the 20 year sell out !
Funny when you consider....
how the Stavisky/Mc Laughlin team
never did much beyond deliver lip service
for the Keith's) !

H-m-m-m-m.....why do you suppose that is ? !!!

Anonymous said...

CB#7 needs to be flushed clean of its bumbling idiots .
They've held their positions too long!

Appelian, Berrigan, Ross, Bitterman, etc.
just to name a few!

Anonymous said...

I hope the the Huangs stay away from this property. Wellington too!

Anonymous said...

I wonder what now famous TV historian Barry Lewis
(one of the original founding members
of the Committee to Save The RKO Keith's
Theatre of Flushing Inc.)
would think of this sorry state of affairs ?

Imagine him doing a PBS "Walk Through Flushing"
with David Hartman today ?

Anonymous said...

Ross? I think he left CB#7 the hard way - he's dead!

left town said...

I used to live at 36-11 Bowne Street.
The Keith's was a place to be proud of.

I'm finally glad now that I chose to move away.
At first I had some regrets......
I loved this town..... but my instincts proved correct.

Flushing has now become a place to be ashamed of !

former member said...

all euphemisms for failure and decay.

The Keith's has become the prime metaphor
for all the filth and corruption
that's rampant in the town of Flushing!

And the lion's share of the blame
rests upon the shoulders of a badly run
community board !

Remember when they were called
"Community Planning Boards" ?

I guess that Borough Hall
was too ashamed at their lack of planning
so the name was shortened .

georgetheatheist said...

"Vlissingen?" Nah, the Anglicized "Flushing" is indeed more appropriate: it's an Asian toilet.

verdi said...

I've seen Asian mothers
pulling down their kids pants....
and letting them piss in the street
or in tree wells!

Anonymous said...

So.....wadda ya think C.M. Liu ?

Let's hear some of your posters thoughts on the matter!

Anonymous said...

So what's your suggestion
on what to do with the Keith's now.....
Myra ("Flushing's undertaker") Hearse? !!!

Anonymous said...

I was shown a copy of a letter (from the early 1980s)
from Donald Manes addressed to
CB#7's Myra Baird Herce:

" will be pleased to know........."

indicating to her that the ticket lobby
and grand foyer of the Keith's had been
approved as an interior landmark.

"PLEASED TO KNOW".....what did Manes mean.....
that Myra should be "pleased" about.....
that the auditorium etc. were removed from
the original designation ?

Were they both in cahoots on this sellout ???

Anonymous said...

Is this bitch still pulling strings backstage?

verdi said...

I forgot to mention some Asian mothers
changing their toddlers diapers
on any available horizontal surface.....
then tossing them into the nearest trash basket.

Don't go fishing for any used newspapers
even if they're on the top of the trash pile!

Disgusting !

Anonymous said...

Walk through Lippman Arcade.....
and try navigating past the vendors
who are illegally selling produce (and foodstuffs).....
grown, perhaps, in the toxic
Kissena Corridor community gardens ?

Anonymous said...



Flushing could use a rebuilt
(not necessarily a fully restored auditorium)
world class performing arts, or combination,
convention center......perfectly located
near mass transportation, highways and airports.

It would be a bold step.....but a most creative one.

It's not too late to reverse a bad situation
and improve the economic outlook
for this long abused hulk of a bulding.

This always was.....and still is.....the centerpiece location.....and could return to become the major attraction that Flushing sorely needs
to make it truly the "destination of choice"
that is printed on the BID's street banners.

A rare financial opportunity awaits
if the city has the vision for it.

Link it up with the Willets Point plan......
if it comes to that.

Anonymous said...

There's a whole "shit load" of info
on Arbor Realty SR.
who now seems to be holding the Keith's theater
(according to the NYC ACRIS records).

Google it....they seem to be connected
to Wachovia Bank...?

View corporate papers....CEO etc. salaries....????....
the internet is wonderful !

I'm wading through it all....
trying to make some sense of the financial ties and goodely goop.

Have a look for yourself .....
anyone out there who loves the Keith's!

Anonymous said...

Now that Keith Theatre need some donation to restore its original structure. Any haters want to spare some changes? I know all the haters talk crap about it all these time. Now its your time for you to make some action and give your donation.