|Print this story||Permalink|
Faith Ministries Inc. has slowly rehabilitated the building, which it purchased in 2002 from Sony Loews Theatres, while holding services at 57-02 Hoffman Dr., which it is calling the Rock Community Church. "It's great that they are fixing it up," said Richard Italiano, chairman of Community Board 4 which covers Elmhurst and Corona. The 2,200-seat theater began as a combination movie theater and vaudeville space under the name Queensboro Theatre, although its early years were not easy, writer and historian Warren Harris said.Harris grew up on a street just behind the theater and said his mother attended opening night when the theater ran a silent version of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and several vaudeville routines. But attendance was weak during the Depression and Harris said the building spent much of its first 18 years dark.The building had its first makeover in 1946, when the name was changed to Elmwood. In 1979 Sony Loews bought the property and subsequently divided the space into four theaters. In 1999, the possible demolition of the building was included as part of a deal proposed by the Mattone Group to build an 18-theater multiplex in a nearby site. That deal was put on hold, however, and three years later Sony Loews sold the property. Councilwoman Helen Sears (D-Jackson Heights) said the rehabilitation was good for the neighborhood."Anything they do will be an improvement because that facility needed to have repairs," she said.Michael Perlman, a Queens preservationist, said the theater was a prime example of the borough's ornate movie palaces."I am happy that in the Elmwood Theatre they decided to restore it to its former glory," Perlman said. He noted that other historic theaters, such as the Trylon Theatre in Forest Hills and the RKO Keith's in Flushing, are facing significant alterations as they are renovated. The Trylon, built for the 1939 World's Fair, is being converted into a Jewish community center; while developers plan to convert RKO Keith's into a mix of residential and commercial uses.Reach reporter Adam Pincus at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.
©2006 Community Newspaper Group
|Print this story||Permalink|
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.