7. The Historic Ridgewood Theater building is now a Blink Fitness Center

Exterior of the Ridgewood Theater
Exterior of the Ridgewood Theater, which has since been transformed into a Blink Fitness Center.

Constructed in 1916 by the Ridgewood Operating Company — established by Levy Brothers Real Estate — the Ridgewood Theater was located on Myrtle Avenue in Ridgewood’s rapidly developing commercial area. Its design, curated by architect Thomas Lamb, draws inspiration from classical and geometric elements such as pilasters and heavily encrusted shields made from glazed terra cotta. In addition, the building’s white facade distinguished it from the surrounding area, modeled after Strand’s theater. Built during the early stages of the development of movies, Ridgewood’s theater helped to bring the new art form to the local community for the first time. For more than 90 years, the 1950 seat Ridgewood Theater showcased movies on a continual basis, spanning the era of “talkies” all the way to the modern motion pictures of the 21st century. 

The Ridgewood Theater joined William Fox’s movie chain in 1923, which at the time was the dominant force in the film industry. Following lawsuits from competitors and the economic problems of the Great Depression, Fox was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1936 and three years later the theater was sold to the Nately Operating Company. During the 1980s, the Ridgewood Theater became part of the United Artists chain and was converted into a multiplex theater with five screens. In March 2008, the Ridgewood Theater was shut down, ending its reign as one of Brooklyn’s longest-running theaters. As a result of the building’s landmark status, which it earned in 2010, the theater’s facade has remained the same. On the inside, the building was gutted and replaced with a Blink Fitness Center.