Save The 1916 Ridgewood Theatre!

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  • Send To:
    NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission & NY City Council
  • Sponsored By:
    Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre
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The Ridgewood Theatre (55-27 Myrtle Ave, Queens, NY) has architectural, cultural, & historical significance, and it is of the utmost importance to designate the glazed terra cotta & Indiana limestone facade, and the mostly intact theater lobby, as a NYC Individual Landmark & Interior Landmark for present and future generations to cherish. It would also contribute to the appeal of an up & coming neighborhood, and increase the likelihood of creative adaptive reuse.

The Ridgewood Theatre shuttered in March 2008, marking the end of its nearly 92 years as a first-run theater. Opening its doors on December 23, 1916, it was considered the longest continuously operating neighborhood theater citywide, and potentially throughout the U.S. The theater staged Vaudeville and silent films. It also saw the advent of photoplays i.e. Down To The Sea In Ships (1923), the first 100\% all-Talking feature, Lights of New York (1928), and classics i.e. The Ten Commandments (1958) and Quo Vadis (1964). Its original seating capacity was 2,500, but currently contains 5 screens, seats 1,950, and merits creative adaptive reuse.

Modeled after Times Square's long-demolished Mark Strand Theatre (the 1st movie palace in the world), the $250,000 Ridgewood Theatre was designed by America's foremost Thomas W. Lamb and built by the Levy Brothers. The 3-story Indiana limestone & glazed terra cotta facade is highly ornate, incorporating unique geometric patterns, medallions, a frieze, pilasters, and proudly boasts Ridgewood Theatre across the top. Interior murals originally depicted the history of Ridgewood. Some nearby theaters with an unfortunate fate include the Oasis, Parthenon, Irving, & RKO Madison Theatre (retail), but hopefully the Ridgewood Theatre won't be on that list.


(In addition to this petition drive, it is essential to play a role in the theater's future by joining Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre, established in March 2008:
The website contains status updates, history, press, & photos. Please help spread the word to your colleagues.)