Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ridgewood Theatre auditorium cannot be saved

From the Daily News:

The Ridgewood Theatre, once the longest continuously operated moviehouse in the country, may have run its final flick.

The Myrtle Ave. landmark - shuttered in 2008 and now being sold - has garnered just a few potential buyers who want to show films again, according to several sources close to the negotiations.

In fact, the theater's auditorium has deteriorated so much that restoration costs may exceed $25 million, said Ted Renz, executive director of the Myrtle Ave. Business Improvement District.

Locals who have been allowed inside the Ridgewood in recent months described an unsalvageable mess with half-collapsing ceilings and busted statues.

"It's all gone," said Paul Kerzner of the Ridgewood Local Development Corp. "There's absolutely nothing left. What you got left is the facade, and you got the lobby and the staircase."

The city designated the Beaux-Arts theater as a landmark in January, crediting the Daily News for "crusading" reports that had alerted city officials to the structure.

But landmarking protects only the ornate exterior of the theater, which was designed by renowned architect Thomas Lamb and welcomed its first customers in 1916.

Sources said that the lobby and staircase, which remain in good condition, are slated to be incorporated in any plans for the site.

But the auditorium, which originally offered films and vaudeville acts for crowds of 2,500, will likely be gutted due to its poor state.

Photo from Forgotten-NY.


Anonymous said...

I thought that Michael Perlman was going to save it like he did with the Trylon Theater.

Anonymous said...

(LOL) You mean the "diner king"?

Anonymous said...

Queens Presevation Council! 4 boros!


Get a Queens Mark!

Joe said...

Like the Bushwick Theater somebody likley drilled holes in the roof.
It wasnt that bad just a year or 2 ago.

Dan shame Jackie Gleason had his guest and dressing room up there, A private bathroom, mirrors and its original brass fixtures were still up there 10 years ago.
If you look up from Cypress ave the rooms & windows are under the water tower facing east

Anonymous said...

"It's all gone," said Paul Kerzner of the Ridgewood Local Development Corp. "There's absolutely nothing left".
The same will be said for all of Queens in the not too distant future.

Michael Perlman said...

Considering the style of the Daily News article, who can guarantee that the journalist has been inside the theater?

Thomas Lamb's Adamesque architectural features were awaiting discovery in the auditorium, and the treasure was unveiled upon the removal of sheet rock and multi-plexing. Now, all of a sudden, it is in shambles, and "must be demolished." Ironic how it wasn't that way in 2008 when the theater closed. The $25 million restoration cost affixed to the auditorium is a great tactic. You smell a rat here?

We continue to work with potential buyers, as well as tenants, should the co-owners maintain the theater in their holdings. The city should consider taking over the theater, and redeveloping it as a performing arts center. There are endless possibilities, rather than the "easy way out."

To the first 3 anons: You are likely the same person that has a low self-esteem as a blog reader (not a doer), so you make fun of others. Face it...What have you spared from demolition, and do you know what it involves to save a single historic site? I'd like to see YOU spearhead the cause to designate the Ridgewood Theatre an Individual Landmark, but you can't. It's already landmarked!

Also, you have no idea what it entails to broker deals to rescue historic freestanding diners from demolition, not to mention transporting them. When the Landmarks Preservation Commission doesn't fulfill their role and landmark such cornerstones, we have to be creative thinkers.