by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
Left, RKO Flushing; Right, Keith Albee Huntington
Left, RKO Flushing; Right, Keith Albee Huntington

Huntington loves its Keith Albee Performing Arts Center, which without the dedication of its former owners, the Hyman family, could have been in the same shape as the RKO Keith in Flushing.

The West Virginia movie palace opened in 1928 and designed by Thomas Lamb is an atmospheric venue just like the one in flushing. 

A petition has been started to "save" the RKO, which even now is undergoing dismantling. Due to political misconduct, the entire structure once held landmark status. However, it was changed to the lobby and foyer... about 4% of the building.

A high rise condo will be constructed and the landmark portion replicated.

Chris Kellberg who wrote a book on the RKO visited Huntington to tour the Keith Albee during the gala. He's shown with Lauren Littlepage, a model and historic preservation supporter.
Chris Kellberg who wrote a book on the RKO visited Huntington to tour the Keith Albee during the gala. He's shown with Lauren Littlepage, a model and historic preservation supporter.

New York 1 , a TV outlet, and other publications have seized the moment (finally) to intervene before the bulldozers and headache ball destroys the structure. 

 https://www.change.org/p/nyc-council-member?recruiter=632095226&utm_source=share_for_starters&utm_medium=copyLink

 

Please restore the RKO Theater's original landmark status and restore the physical theater itself.

The RKO Keith's Theater in Flushing is one of two atmospheric theaters left in Queens (the other is presently a church and not used as performance space). In February, 1984 it's interior was fully landmarked, but most of the theater lost that status due to an ambiguous decision by the NYC Board of Estimate in July of that same year. Since then it has passed hands from owner to owner and it's currently in a state of ruin; shuttered and cut off from the outside world. Recently it was bought by Xinyuan Real Estate who, while restoring the landmarked portions, will turn the actual theater part into a high rise luxury condo and has no public plan for public access to the landmarked lobby. 

Is this worth preserving for future... or should it be destroyed or auctioned from the RKO
Is this worth preserving for future... or should it be destroyed or auctioned from the RKO

Other theaters across the country and in New York City have been restored and there is no reason why the RKO has to be left to die. Since the theater has been shuttered there have been attempts to make it into either a museum or performing arts center in Queens, an equivalent to BAM. This may be our last attempt to save a piece of our history. While the Flushing area does have Flushing Town Hall and the Queens Theater, those performance spaces are much smaller, have a fraction of the seating capacity, and are in no way atmospheric in the same degree.

We are not asking Xinyaun Real Estate to give up the performance space, but understand that a functional restore theater with the character and beauty of a RKO would attract more people to the area and could be a profitable venture.

So please sign this petition to save the RKO Keith's Theater before one of our great buildings is gone forever.

This petition will be delivered to: 5 more decision makers...