Passionate preservationist Michael Perlman, savior of Manhattan’s Moondance and Cheyenne diners, is now spearheading a campaign to reopen Queens’ historic Ridgewood Theatre, which closed this past March after nine decades in operation.
According to Mr. Perlman:
Opening its doors on December 23, 1916, and closing in March 2008, it held the record as the longest continuously operating first-run movie theater citywide, and potentially throughout the U.S. It staged Vaudeville, silent films, saw the advent of photoplays, & the first "100% All-Talking" feature, Lights of New York (1928). It was modeled after Times Square’s (long-demolished) Mark Strand Theatre, the 1st movie palace worldwide, and designed by America’s foremost Thomas Lamb. The 3-story Indiana limestone & glazed terra cotta facade is highly ornate, and its lobby also remains mostly intact. Nearby theaters with an unfortunate fate include the Oasis, Parthenon, Irving, & RKO Madison Theatre, but there’s no reason why the Ridgewood Theatre should be on the RIP list.
Acting as broker, Mr. Perlman is looking for "a historically-sensitive (preferrably arts-related &/or film) tenant or buyer, and will relay all data to the owner," he wrote in a recent e-mail.