Monday, July 13, 2009

Council candidate wants RKO Keith's restored

From the Times Ledger:

[James] Wu said he would...mount a major effort to restore the long-abandoned RKO Keith’s theater on Northern Boulevard to its former glory. Wu said he believes working with existing city institutions to purchase the property could result in transforming the historic theater into a major community arts center.

“You realize in times of economic crisis how much people need the arts. People flock to these centers,” Wu said. “There’s no reason we can’t make this that major center for the community in northern Queens.”


Jerry Rotondi Committee to Save Keith's said...

I think that this is the first time the community has heard of candidate Wu's desire to restore the RKO Keith's Flushing Theater to its former glory.

If he's serious he can contact me directly, via the community board, or the new group that Ed Tracey has formed.

If not this perennial hot issue continues to be a convenient political football and just in time for the upcoming elections!

I appologize in advance for my frankness.

We all await your pleasure Mr. Wu.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like Julia Harrison is behind using the Keith's issue to get Wu into a city council office.

Didn't Harrison support James' mom Ethyl Chen to take over her spot in the city council after she was term limited out of office.

So why not push her son James in so she can still dip her finger in politics?

At 80 years've got to give Julia credit in beating out the "Energizer Bunny's" record for refusing to run out of juice!

Anonymous said...

H-m-m-m...(ha, ha, ha)
everybody's hot to save the Keith's!

So where were they for the last two decades while it disintegrated ?

These "champions" seem to appear on the field only during an election year!

district voter said...

Nevertheless...of all the crummy candidates on the roster...Wu appears to be the best.

Anonymous said...

I just do not want to be "Wu'd" by another candidate with false hopes and unfulfilled promises. The Keith's holds a special place in the hearts of Flushing old-timers.

Erik Baard said...

In fairness, two decades ago James Wu was a teenager. Another candidate was six years old.

FJF said...

Great! I hear Hong Kong Supermarket is looking for a bigger place

Jerry Rotondi Committee to Save Keith's said...

There were many teenagers among the 3,500 that signed a petition demanding the Keith's be preserved back in all fairness...Mr. Baard.

Then there were the dozens of letters...mostly hand then Borough President Claire Shulman from Flushing High School students expressing a similar desire to preserve the historic Keith's theater !

downtown Flushing resident said...

Let's go back a little "Erik"...let's say...8, 10 or even 20 years or so.

Candidate for re-election Borough President Claire Shulman publicly extolled the wonders of the Keith's but behind the scenes actually sandbagged efforts to have the entire building landmarked!

Candidate for re-election State Senator Leonard Stavisky issued many statements to the media but did nothing really concrete to save the theater.

Candidate for re-election Assemblyman Brian Mc Laughlin dubbed Tommy Huang "public enemy #1" and then took a back seat.

Candidate for election and re-election John Liu (Tommy Huang's cousin) claimed to care about the theater but did zilch beyond comments at 1 or 2 press conferences. Is anyone surprised?

I'd call that running with a political football to make these candidates look popular among the voters.

None of them were six years old!

Councilwoman Julia Harrison was the only elected official and candidate for re-election that went way beyond the call of duty to protect this treasured landmark.

I did a walk through said...

20 million dollars was the estimate submitted by Boymelgreen, its current owners, just to restore the ticket lobby and grand foyer!

Assuming they were padding the bill a bit....what would the cost be for refurbishing back to "its former glory" the entire theater?

80 million or so?

We all love that building but where is NYC going to come up with that kind of loot during these hard times?

Candidate Wu needs a walk through the Keith's to see for himself its extremely poor condition.

Your heart's in the right place James but it looks like it's a little too late to save it all.

Anonymous said...

That ship has sailed already. The time to save this theatre was 20 years ago. Perhaps the best we can do is find homes for whatever beautiful fixtures we can save and move on.

Meanwhile, in other news, another historic piece of old Astoria bites the dust daily.

Anonymous said...

True dat last poster.

But that vessel was scuttled by Shulman and her associates in the 1980s!

It ran aground and certainly that rotted hulk won't be sailing again!

If you believe Candidate Wu's tear jerking campaign promise we've got a bridge in Queens to sell you.

That one in Brooklyn has too many "owners" already claiming it as theirs!

Put up a useful building incorporating what remains of the Keith's or move those landmarked portions to another location.

Vaudeville died in the early 1930s and now the house is gone that was once was its home!

Anonymous said...

Astoria?'ve got to be kidding us!

Nobody in city government, MAS, HDC, etc. cares a fig about the destruction of its historic sites
because they're not located within Manhattan's tourist corridor!

It's already become an over congested Flushing west and
perhaps time for you to catch the last boat out!

All ashore that's going ashore.

THAT SHIP is about to sail or sink.

Lower the lifeboats (unless you live where Don Pietro "senior" Vallone and Gloria D'Amico reside)!

You folks lost the sister theater of the Keith's...the "Triboro" (same architect) the mid 1970s.

That should have been an indicator of where Ass-toria was ultimately headed.

Now just look at low class Steinway Street!

Oh....but it's "vibrant and bustling" (heh, heh, heh) just like Flushing.

Anonymous said...

I keep hearing these people saying that they want to save the theatre but up to this point no one is willing to chip in some money to accomplish the goal. All these people are talking trash !!even those who voted to reserve the landmark. what is the point of talking and not doing?