Saturday, January 16, 2010

Ridgewood Theatre Facade Earns Individual Landmark Status on 1/12/10 & The Broader Picture

The Individually Landmarked 1916 Ridgewood Theatre!

The broader picture by Michael Perlman, Chairman of Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre, in affiliation with Rego-Forest Preservation Council....

After attending the Landmarks Preservation Commission 1/12/10 Public Meeting, I am elated to report that the historic Ridgewood Theatre was unanimously voted by commissioners as an Individual Landmark! A nearly 2-year effort under Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre as Chairman (since March 2008), in affiliation with various preservation and cultural groups, members of Cinema Treasures, elected officials, and a mass audience, truly paid off! I extend my thanks to the broad coalition of supporters, and the Landmarks Preservation Commission for doing the right thing on behalf of the people.

The LPC Commissioners vote on the Ridgewood Theatre facade
in the public hearing room

The Ridgewood Theatre landmarking cause can be perceived as a case study, from the theater's sudden closure to the hearing and public meeting, through the theater's future. It represents a new and intriguing 21st century chapter in the theater's extensive, varied, and distinctive history dating back to 1916, considering that it was deemed the "longest continuosuly operating first-run theater countrywide" upon its closure." It emphasizes the ideal of progress for an "ultimate public institution," and exemplifies how the public can work cohesively and effectively with each other, and the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Landmarks Preservation Commission's Chair Robert Tierney expresses his pride in a "Queens" site!

Hopefully, the Ridgewood Theatre's Individual Landmark status will set off a chain reaction of more Individual Landmarks and Historic Districts in Queens, stemming from our advocacy and the LPC's calendaring of properties for a public hearing (most democratic when it results from the consensus of the majority of citywide citizens). Many dormant preservationists emerged from the woodwork, and established bonds. In the coming months, many more Queens properties will be proposed for landmarking.

Ridgewood Theatre's Ornate Lobby

Although the Ridgewood Theatre facade is now safeguarded as an Individual Landmark, it is also highly significant for Interior Landmark status to be extended to Architect Thomas Lamb's mostly intact theater lobby. Lisi DeBourbon of the Landmarks Preservation Commission said the LPC cannot consider that at this time, since interior spaces must be customarily open to the public upon review. However, Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre in affiliation with Rego-Forest Preservation Council, hopes the owners will respect and restore the mostly intact theater lobby, and the Landmarks Preservation Commission will consider extending designation in the near future. We must also make sure that the Ridgewood Theatre remains in a good state of preservation in the long-term. It is essential to continue to be proactive, and have a voice in city government.

Cameos with angelic muses in theater lobby

How You Can Further Help:

Please visit, take action, and forward these links to your friends and colleagues:

1. Join Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre MySpace Page:

2. Sign & comment on Ridgewood Theatre Petition requesting Individual Landmark status (granted) and also requests Interior Landmark status (comment on Architect Thomas Lamb's theater lobby):

 3. Visit the Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre Flickr Photoset:

Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre hopes to further assist the owners preservation-wise and for its reopening, so patrons can take a front seat!

1 comment:

  1. This is the Ridgewood Theatre Individual Landmark Designation Report, courtesy of the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission:

    - Michael Perlman, Chair of Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre