RKO Keith’s Theatre

117-09 Hillside Avenue
R. Thomas Short

Richmond Hill once had a number of movie theaters, most located in small storefronts along Jamaica Avenue. By far the largest was the RKO Keith’s Theatre, which in comparison to others was a true motion picture palace. It originally featured both Vaudeville acts and movies on its roster of entertainment. Designed in the neo-Classical Revival style, the building’s prominent street façade is clad in buff brick with white terra cotta trim and features the original marquee. Architect R. Thomas Short was known for his theater designs, among them The Grand in Astoria, and The Rialto, The Shubert and The Midwood in Brooklyn. The L-shaped RKO Keith’s theater maintains its impressive architectural presence on Hillside Avenue; the large auditorium block is visible from Bessemer Street, and on its interior, the theater’s lobby, lounge and auditorium spaces remain largely intact.