The 1939 New York World's Fair

The Trylon Theater

Rego Park section of Queens, NY

Trylon Theater
Trylon Theater Facade & Entrance Pavilion 1999

From Michael Perlman:

My first preservation committee was the Committee To Save The Trylon Theater.

Experiencing the destruction of the Trylon Theater's Trylon-adorned mosaic ticket booth in July 2005 was what awakened the dormant preservationist state within. I was shocked that I would witness something with vast cultural and architectural beauty and significance being destroyed. I tried not to let my emotions go astray, and re-directed my feelings towards organizing my first preservation committee, and networking as much as possible. It was a moment that changed my life.

I learned the workings of the Landmarks Law, and that it grants the public the right to advocate for sites they believe merit a public hearing and landmark status, on the basis of its architectural, cultural, and historical qualifications. I also learned that the architect of the Trylon Theater was Joseph Unger, who also designed homes Queenswide and elsewhere. In summer 2006, I was able to track down and interview 1 of his 2 sons, Ronald Unger.

Trylon Theater Shamefully Stripped Glass Tiles from Marquee Feb 2006
Trylon Theater Shamefully Stripped Glass Tiles
from Marquee Feb 2006

In late 2006, in response to the 100th anniversary of Forest Hills and Rego Park and the growing number of demolitions and insensitive alterations, I founded Rego-Forest Preservation Council, with a mission to advocate for the preservation and creative reuse of sites that exhibit historic character, and hopefully prevent such destruction through avenues such as city Landmark status, and State & National Register of Historic Places status.

It is our hope that if the Bukharian center would consider selling, they should sell it to potentially us or another preservation-minded film, performing arts, or preservation organization. They should also reconsider their views, and work with us towards restoring the Trylon Theater's 1939 World's Fair Art Deco elements that were lost in 2005, to pay homage to a true landmark's history and the sentiments of some national fans.

The Trylon Theater Project

Located in the Rego Park section of Queens. The Trylon Theater opened in 1939 and was named after the famous centerpice of the 1939 World's Fair which was held in nearby Flushing Meadows.

This once popular Art Deco style movie house closed on December 31, 1999 after its lease expired. It was purchased by the Bucharians, an orthodox Jewish group, for use as a cultural center. However, preservationists tried lobbying to retain the features of the building and obtain Landmark building status, but it stood empty for several years, until the new owners finally got their way and destroyed most of its historical features.

Contributed by Cinema Treasures

Trylon Theater 98-81 Queens Blvd, Forest Hills, NY, Mosaic & Terrazzo Art Deco Entrance Pavilion, 1996
Trylon Theater 98-81 Queens Blvd, Forest Hills, NY, Mosaic & Terrazzo Art Deco Entrance Pavilion, 1996
Trylon Theater Entrance Pavilion Shameful Demolition Work Aug 10, 2005
Trylon Theater Entrance Pavilion Shameful Demolition Work Aug 10, 2005

View the collection of Michael Perlman's photos on flickr.

Read more about this project on Michael Perlman's Blog.

Michael's Affiliations:

  • Rego-Forest Preservation Council, Chair (Rego Park & Forest Hills)
  • Four Borough Preservation Alliance Corp, Queens VP
  • Queens Preservation Council, Bd. of Dir.
  • Central Queens Historical Association, Bd. of Dir.
  • Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre, Chair
  • Friends of The RKO Keith's Flushing Theatre, Member
  • Committee To Save The Forum Diner/Cheyenne Diner/Moondance Diner, Chair

Contact Michael