Ridgewood’s embattled historic movie house may get a reprieve from the wrecking ball as the city Landmarks Preservation Commission will soon decide whether to consider the 92−year−old theater for landmark status, a Landmarks official said.
No date has been set yet, but a discussion of the theater was expected to be on the calendar for a meeting in the near future, the official said.
News of the pending decision buoyed Forest Hills resident Michael Perlman, an avid preservationist who founded the Friends of the Ridgewood Theatre and advocated for its preservation last year.
“I was feeling elated,” he said. “Official landmark status would be the crown to a landmark in the eyes of the majority [of neighbors]. It would ensure a rare survivor’s longevity for future generations to cherish.”
Community Board 5 District Manager Gary Giordano did not return phone calls by press time Tuesday.
The five−screen theater, at 55−27 Myrtle Ave. in Ridgewood, opened as a vaudeville house in December 1916 and was converted into a movie palace the following year. The Ridgewood operated as a first−run movie theater through the world wars, Great Depression, golden age of television and advent of video and DVDs.
The theater closed its doors for good in March after a 91−year run and was put up for sale two months afterward for $14 million. At the time it closed, it was the longest−running theater in the country, Landmarks said.
Perlman conducted a letter−writing campaign to the commission and organized a petition drive to save the theater. On the group’s MySpace Web page, he posted a message asking preservation−minded investors to contact him about possibly buying the theater.
The Ridgewood Theatre was designed by the prominent theater architect Thomas Lamb for the Fox movie chain. Fox added sound to the theater in 1927 and the next year showed the first all−talking feature, “Lights of New York.”
©2009 Community News Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.