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A single man’s quest to preserve a historic staple in Ridgewood: the Ridgewood Theater

The preserved facade of the Ridgewood Theater

The arts are coming back

Despite what recent reports may say, there is still hope for the classic Ridgewood Theater. According to latest news, a single person is trying to reboot the historic site by turning its ground floor into a fine arts or performing arts space.

The man is question is Anthony Arroyo, a fan of the theater since he was a young child. According to him, it was very saddening to see the historic place be turned into a rental space with commercial units up for grabs. Because of this and the nostalgia the Ridgewood Theater brings for him, Anthony has been making a plan that will not only put the theater back in motion but will keep the arts in the area. His main goal? For new generations to enjoy the theater just like he did.

Arroyo is confident that because Ridgewood has such a thriving artistic community, there will be no problems when it comes to establishing a new artistic site right there in the classic theater. It is a win/win situation after all: the theater would remain an artistic place and the community of Ridgewood would be able to enjoy it in a way they have not yet.

A man of action

What’s more important than good intentions? Well, actions, and Arroyo has been very active. He already contacted the current owners of the theater. Later, he learned the rental units are all occupied but there is available space in the commercial area in the ground floor. Because of this, he has set up a GoFundMe page in order to finance the transformation the 15,000 square feet space needs. This way, this will be project that will have its own community involved. The money obtained via crowdfunding will finance the theater until they can get grants or investors interested in their work.

Anthony also contacted the COO of a different theater company, who also loved the idea. Arroyo insists in how the Ridgewood-Bushwick area has been changing in the last few years, and the public and community that live there is not the same that when the theater closed. As far as community involvement, besides the crowdfunding campaign, Arroyo has big plans. He wants the theater to host talent shows, independent movie showings, plays and more.

It is apparent that Anthony Arroyo is very passionate about his idea. He has also printed lots and lots of flyers that will be handed to local businesses and individuals in order to attract even more attention to the project. For Arroyo, the Ridgewood theater is a necessity in a time where everything changes constantly.

A brief theater bio

The Ridgewood Theater had a long run. It first opened back in December 1916 and closed in March 2008. In the 80s it was turned into a multiplex with several screens. Nevermind all these changes, the facade has been considered a landmark by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commision since 2010, so the front has been preserved. [QNS]