Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New committee formed to protect RKO Keith's

From The Real Deal:

A grassroots organization, "Friends of the RKO Keith's Flushing," has formed to protect the RKO Keith's building, a former movie theater.

The group, which has over 1,000 members, hopes to preserve the building and find a use for it that fits with its past role as a theater.


Anonymous said...

Anything to screw Boymelgreen is my happiness. I know this project. I know access problems, finance problems and much more.

Anonymous said...

The building in the picture is the RKO Keiths in Richmond Hill, not the one in Flushing.

Queens Crapper said...

Sorry, I thought it looked funny, but was half asleep when I wrote the post. Thanks for pointing it out, it's now corrected.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous #2:

No it isn't! This is an old photo of the theater in its hey day. If you blow up the photo, read the top. Also, just Google both theaters and you will find photos of both. The shame is that the former Flushing theater is in such a poor state of repair. Our elected officials have no respect for the past for having looked the other way and allowing an unscrupulous developer to damage the facility to such an extent!!!

Alan said...


Don't have second thoughts. You were right in the first place!!!

Queens Crapper said...

No I had the photo from the article which is here and obviously not the Flushing theater.

Alan said...

The photo currently posted on this site is the correct photo for the Flushing venue. I was not aware that you posted the incorrect photo earlier. Good job and good catch.

faster340 said...

This is insane. The owners are going to wait out the public till this building becomes so dilapidated that the city will have no choice to condemn it and have it torn down. If they haven't done anything by now it probably won't get done. It's a shame too...

jerry rotondi comm. to save keith's said...

To correct any misinformation
that might be circulating out there let me provide a very brief chronology of past events.

In the year 1984 the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission had designated ALL OF THE INTERIOR SPACES within the RKO Keith's Flushing Theater.

Shortly following...it was the late, corrupt, Donald Manes who was responsible for
the rejection of the Keith's ENTIRE INTERIOR (consisting of the auditorium, lounges, mezzanine, etc.)
from receiving landmark status.

At Manes' behest the designation was abridged by the old Board of Estimate to shelter ONLY the ticket lobby and grand foyer.

It was his then Deputy Borough President Shulman who actually lobbied at that hearing on Manes' behalf to CUT the designation.

This information was passed on to me by our founding committee members who personally attended that hearing.

Apparently, it was Andrew Stein and Harrison J. Golden Jr. who were the hold-outs.

One of them caved in and voted for the shortened designation.

And much more sadly, when we forwarded Borough President
Shulman over 3,500 petition signatures in 1986
Landmarks Preservation Commission's designation.

This would have, once again,
reopened the case and have protected ALL OF THE INTERIOR SPACES within the RKO Keith's Theater.

Thus, she chose to IGNORE the request
by thousands of her constituents for reinstating the LPC's original 1984 designation.

In fact, Shulman had the gall to deny she had received these petitions to one of our committee members at a "Queens Unity Day" event held in 1987 at the Reception House on Northern Boulevard!

Those petitions were sent certified mail/return receipt!

This was a very shabby move on her part to avoid this thorny issue.

I would say that in addition to
Tommy Huang's criminal negligence and destruction
the community might just as well hold Claire Shulman responsible as as an accomplice in the crime
of destroying a national landmark.

Anyone is hereby invited to look up the old records of that 1984 Board of Estimate landmark designation hearing
regarding the Keith's and see who attended and check out their votes
to verify what I've just said.

Anonymous said...

8,000 signatures could not save Astoria's Loews Triboro.

Of course, in classic Astoria fashion, no one was present when the Board of Estimate overturned designation forever redlining that community (as far as the mainline preservation community is concerned) from any future preservation efforts.

Anonymous said...


We wish.

They actually pull the rug out from any preservation efforts by the community.

Damned Architect said...

At my former architectural office back in 2000, we were asked to draw up this theater for some filing job. If I recall correctly, the owner wasn't sure what to do with the building and wanted to eventually get the site rezoned for other purposes. Don't recall whether that involved saving Keith's or not.

Michael Perlman, Friends of The RKO Keith's Flushing Theatre said...

I would appreciate a photo credit, as displayed in my flickr photoset: "Courtesy of Michael Perlman Postcard Collection"

Anonymous said...

Michael, I think there are far more pressing issues than giving you photo credit for an old public domain postcard even if it came from your personal collection.

You're just making this new organization look foolish by employing the use of their name in that meager regard too.

Everybody wants credit but what about the sad state of the Keith's?

Anonymous said...

one of the things wrong
with the so-called "preservation" community in Queens is that they are often far more concerned with receiving credit for their limited role than actually doing something major to prevent the loss of our history.

Anonymous said...

one of the things wrong
with the so-called "preservation" community in Queens is that they are often far more concerned with receiving credit for their limited role than actually doing something major to prevent the loss of our history."

Everyone wants to be a "star" and no one wants to work in the "chorus".

Anonymous said...


The showboat's comin' to town and nobody wants lend a hand pullin' on those heavy ropes to facilitate docking her safely.

But everyone's surely auditioning for the vaunted role of the Keith's
savior these days!

No doubt....even Myra Baird Herce will be playing her flute soon.

Or is it to be somebody else's?

A developer in the wings maybe?

What's CB#7 up to these days?

I hope they continue making "protecting" this partial landmark a top priority.

Queens Crapper said...

I took care of it by changing the photo to the one Real Deal now has posted. Besides, the one sent to me by the Committee was a public domain photo as per Cinema Treasures.

Anonymous said...


Tommy Huang blocked the original fire egresses
to the Keith's by building on them....one building lot on Farington St. and the other lot behind the stage house on 35th Ave. (the old Biordi owned property).

A theater needs fire egresses in order to comply with NYC building codes.

That will have to be remedied
before any performing arts center can open on this site.

Anonymous said...

I would urge every new committee member (is it 1,000?) to call CB#7 and see what they think should be done with the Keith's.

Better yet....WRITE THEM A LETTER.

Anonymous said...

Screwing Boymelgreen isn't what it's all about. It's about finding a use for the Keith's.

Shya's company seems to be already facing great financial difficulties and the RKO's price might be coming down
even more from that preposterous 24 million he's asking.

If you want to screw anyone....nail Shulman's hide to a barn door right next to Tommy Huang's.

And what will that serve to accomplish
after you've vented your rage?

Manes, the kingpin of the Keith's betrayal, is already dead by his own hand.

Time to move on folks!

Anonymous said...

Since when has Michael Perlman
become a member of the
"Friends of The RKO Keith's"?

He managed to show up very late at this inaugural meeting from what we were told afterwards.

And that's certainly "a great" start!

There, apparently, was only a sheet passed around to collect names and e-mail addresses of interested parties.

Was any membership actually being discussed?

It looks like it's bandwagon time once again.

And pseudo preservationists appear to be climbing up on board.

Anonymous said...

Oh, but didn't Michael "save" the "Moondance Diner" by helping to have it moved way out west somewhere very far away from NYC ?

I'd call that a loss not saving it
at all.

What has this staunch "preservationist" been successful in preserving anyway?

The Trylon Theater?

Go and take a look at it!

It's a mess that might have been better off if it were torn down.