Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Supermarket to inhabit Ridgewood Theatre

From the Daily News:

A landmarked Queens movie theater that opened during World War I and became the longest continuously operated theater in the nation will be transformed into an Associated supermarket, the Daily News has learned.

The Ridgewood Theatre - shuttered since 2008 - will turn from film to food next year, changing its use for the first time since the Myrtle Ave. mainstay opened in 1916, sources said.

"Oy!" exclaimed Orlando Lopes of the Theatre Historical Society of America. "A part of history is lost, and that is really terribly sad."

The movie house earned city landmark status this year, protecting its ornate facade from alterations or demolition. Insiders insist its stage and grand staircase are beyond repair.

Still, the sale raises questions about the site's future.

Associated can't change the exterior without city approval, but it can wreck the largely intact lobby and other interior attributes of the two-story venue.

Harry Laufer, president of the Long Island-based chain, estimated the store will open in "maybe six months." But he said he did not know the renovation plans of franchisee Tony Guzman.

Guzman's attorney did not return calls seeking comment.


Rego-Forester said...

The Ridgewood Theatre witnessed the evolution of vaudeville and cinematic history, and exhibits one of the earliest designs of America's most influential theater architect, Thomas W. Lamb. A restoration architect confirmed that much that was unveiled in the auditorium (when multiplexing was removed) exists to merit a restoration. The lobby is intact too. The facade has been landmarked, but the interior is in limbo. Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre is in the process of working with Ridgewood organizations, citywide and statewide preservation organizations, electeds, and we are reaching out to the owner. Creative & adaptive reuse is not impossible, and has been conducted successfully nearby. For example, the former bank on Myrtle Ave became a Rite Aid, and they preserved the period features. Also,the Meserole Theatre in Greenpoint underwent several transformations with preserved interior and facade features as well. Please read the following to acquire an idea:


Feel free to comment. Also join the Facebook Group called Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre.

We value your support.

Anonymous said...

What's the point of landmarking if it only is protecting the outside. An owner cannot necessarily afford to maintain a landmark, thus there should be assistance to do so if landmarking is performed against an owners wishes. Otherwise it is next to impossible to fully economically restore an interior years later.

Unknown said...

It's a shame that no one can step up & fix up the location. It would be good to see it come back to life as the movie theater it once was.

Rego-Forester said...

A landmarked facade and interior on city, state, and federal levels are eligible for grants and tax credits, and a number of funding programs for owners for property owners. Redevelopment can be done in a vision-minded way that doesn't sacrifice the rare interior architectural features of this theater. It has been conducted elsewhere, and can happen here. One of the many benefits is improved property values and a more appealing venue for customers, boosting revenue for the owner. It could be defined as a win-win by some parties.

Anonymous said...

This is disgusting to see our city being destroyed by our inept bureaucrats. A supermarket? What's supposed to be on the second and third floors? A 99 cents store and a laundromat?

This city is revolting now.

Anonymous said...

It is disgusting. The ownership walked away. They had someone who was interested in creating a performance venue. The city should take over the sight. I'm thinking Loews Kings.