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Use it or Lose It

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We would like nothing more than to see the RKO Keith’s Theatre on Northern Boulevard in Flushing restored to its former glory. The theater that opened in 1928 features a landmarked lobby and was in its day one of the most magnificent buildings in Queens.

But 24 years ago the theater was closed. Since then, it has become an eyesore, bringing down an entire neighborhood. In 1999, a developer, Thomas Huang, purchased the property and attempted to destroy it by allowing oil to spill in the building’s basement in an attempt to get around the restrictions of the landmark status.

The property is now owned by Shaya Boymelgreen, a once-prosperous developer who built thousands of apartments in the city at the turn of this century. He had hoped to turn the property into a 17-story condo. That did not happen and he now wants to sell the building.

That will not be easy. Nevertheless, members of the Friends of RKO Keith’s are not ready to throw in the towel. They held a fund-raiser at a comedy club last week in the hopes of raising money to restore the landmark theater.

We wish them well, but there must come a point when the city says “enough.” The boarded-up property is at the gateway of downtown Flushing. The city should set a date when the restoration of the property must be completed. If not, the landmark status should be removed and the space should be developed in a manner that is financially viable.

We would hate to lose the RKO Keith’s, but it is not fair to the residents and business owners of Flushing to allow this property to remain in this condition for another 25 years.

Wave Goodbye to Scandals

It has come to the point in New York City where a prosperous strip club cannot get any respect. The owners of Scandals, a strip club in Long Island City, said they are being squeezed out of their present location by new city zoning laws.

Good. These clubs exploit and degrade women. If adult women want to participate in pole dancing, lap dancing and other forms of degradation, that is their constitutional right. It is likewise the right of the city to help families protect their children from exposure to this business.

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