Hampton Arts Cinema

2 Brook Road,
Westhampton Beach, NY 11978

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Showing 26 - 39 of 39 comments

robboehm on October 21, 2010 at 12:35 pm

In a continued effort to upgrade the theatre the old marquee has been removed. I’m curious to see what will cover the gaping hole in the front of the building. I would presume they would then address the box office, refreshment stand area.

robboehm on May 7, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Haven’t been there for a while, but am happy to report the new seats are in. Nothing fancy but functional. Walls look in good repair. I see no change in the “box office” or the refreshment stand. The Hampton Arts painting referred to above has been relocated to the lobby wall facing the street. Other new, semi-bizzare images adorn, what would be, the exterior wall of the auditoriums. With the new seats capacity is 279 and 277.

ptk1071 on November 12, 2008 at 1:10 pm

Hello I am writting a paper about this area at the turn of the century to about 1925 and I am particullary interested in the Hampton Arts building and the bulding that is now the westhampton steak house. If anyone has any images of these buildings during this time period I would greatly appreciate and e-mail
I would galdly give credit for any images provided.

efriedmann on October 23, 2007 at 10:55 am

It is a twin and has been since 1984. If my memory is correct, the first two features upon becoming a twin were THE WOMAN IN RED and OXFORD BLUES.

The theater is still open thanks to the Hamtons Synagogue, who purchased the theater and the property several years ago. The theater is certainly widespread in it’s selection of films – from Hollywood summer blockbusters (they showed EVERY part III sequel this past summer!) to independent gems in the Fall. The synagogue also holds their film festivals there.

efriedmann on September 25, 2007 at 8:40 am

The theatre IS open. It has never closed.

efriedmann on July 26, 2007 at 12:58 pm

Just wanted to mention that with all of the new hype regarding BLADE RUNNER: THE FINAL CUT and all of the different film versions and DVD packages that will become available, it was at this theater (when it was a single screen) that I saw the original theatrical release in June 1982.

It’s still the best version!

efriedmann on May 3, 2007 at 6:41 am

Chelydra, I remember Scarlett’s. I was a semi-regular there in the late ‘80’s before eventually switching to Marikesh on Main Street. That building (Scarlett’s) is now Westhampton Steakhouse. I still have yet to go there.

BobT on May 3, 2007 at 3:27 am

Growing up on Long Island, as a kid I learned of “Night Of The Living Dead” from their weekly midnight show ads in Newsday. Showed it way before the rest of the country. Of course my parents would never have taken me to a horror midnight show,(they did have their limits, dealing with a movie obsessed kid), and I didn’t drive so when it played as a double feature with “Ben” the sequel to “Willard” at The UA North Babylon Theater, me and my friends ran. Of course we were terrified and I regretted never having gotten to the Hampton Arts. 30 years later I have the DVD signed by director George Romero and star Judith O'Dea. I still remember that ad.

efriedmann on May 3, 2007 at 2:46 am

Hello. I’m a brand new member. This is the first movie theater I’m speaking about.
I’ve been a seasonal resident of Westhampton Beach since 1977. The first time I ever saw this theater, ROCKY was playing, fresh off of it’s Oscar victory for best picture of 1976. I remember the theater went twin in 1984, playing THE WOMAN IN RED and OXFORD BLUES.
This theater continues to represent the last of the intimate movie house experience that I can get anymore, as it has become obvious that amusement park-style multiplexes have taken over our culture like a disease.
Those who know this theater well will also know of the “Smoking Upstairs” painting that hung on the wall for years depicting the
theater in an abandoned setting, with the movie titles “Night of the Living Dead” and “State Of Siege” on the marquee. In fact, it was this painting that first got me interested in seeing this classic 1968 original “Dead” film. Today, it’s one of my favorite horror films of all time. That painting is no longer on the wall, but I surely hope it wasn’t destroyed. There was another painting they had which depicted Paul Newman playing pool in a classic scene from “The Hustler."
This coming weekend (5/4/07), the Hampton Arts will show SPIDERMAN 3 on both screens. I have no intentention of seeing this movie, but to my knowledge, this is the first time this theater has dedicated both screens to a movie.
I’m glad this theater continues to remain open. I hope it never closes.

ericscrow2002 on April 6, 2006 at 2:46 am

I live in the West Hampton Beach area, and I am doing some reserch on the theatre too, and this information has been very helpful. To clear up some missing information:
The theatre has 2 screens now, and since the Synagogue has taken over the building, everything (Unless otherwise marked on the package) is kosher. The popcorn is great, matinee shows are 6 dollars, after 6PM the shows are 9 dollars, and tuesdays are 4 dollars for every show.
We expect renovation to happen soon (Possibly within this year, I hope :) ) and some ideas include adding 2 more screens, a downstairs bathroom, new seats, new walls (Because the old ones in the theatres are ripped) and a new candy stand/ticket booth. I’m not an offical spokesperson for this theatre, so what I say may change.
If any other reserchers need some info, or would like to give me some, please contact me at

Thanks everyone!

westhampton1 on March 25, 2005 at 8:54 pm

The hampton arts is still open being run by a independant with bargain tuesdays all shows are $4.00. There has been talk of a much needed renovation.

chelydra on November 9, 2004 at 5:08 am

But when Ritchie Wesley was running the place in the 1970s, there were plenty of sold-out nights, even in a huge single-screen auditorium in the dead of winter, and with his relatively adventurous movies. There were packed midnight shows (Rocky Horror mostly, but also some ancient scary movies). When Cineplex Odeon closed its doors – I think it was 2002 or early 2003, about a decade or so after they bought it – Wesley remarked that they hadn’t given much thought to the local residents' taste in movies, and just showed whatever came along.
Before Wesley’s renovations started (and before the arrival of cats), the place was kind of a disaster zone, with a terrible sound system echoing off cement walls, cold drafts in winter, and reports of rats scurrying around underfoot. By the late 1970s, it was pretty classy, with good free coffee and real butter on excellent fresh popcorn.
There was also a hippie bar next door, The Long Island Potato, with good live music. Together these places made Six Corners into a sort of cultural mecca (by Westhampton’s modest strandards).

longislandmovies on October 15, 2004 at 8:44 pm

As a twin this theater box office #s were very weak even in the summer.A nice local theater that closed i think in the late 90s

chelydra on October 15, 2004 at 6:59 pm

I worked at the Hampton Arts for a year or so 1974-75, during one of its periodic renovations. The place had quite a unique history. Before the Hampton Arts went up, circa 1925-1930, movies were shown around the corner at Mechanics' Hall (later the Masonic Hall, then a nightclub called Scarlett’s). The original owner had no insurance, and not much money, so when it burned down, he rebuilt it himself! It was home-made, with all sorts of strange little nooks and crannies where you could see the chicken-wire-and-cement structure. While he was rebuilding, circa 1937, the new Main Street Theater opened (a modest mini-palace now known at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center) – and the Hampton Arts couldn’t compete, particularly in such a small town.

I think the place was abandoned for about fifteen years, then in the early 1950s it opened as a live summer stock theater called the Hampton Star, which lasted for a few seasons. After that, irt became a struggling movie house again – at which point it was rechristened the Hampton Arts (the most economical name change available, not requiring any new letters on the sign).

Around 1958, the place was bought by Joe Puma, an impressive old guy who also had something to do with the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and other such sophisticated and cosmopolitan enterprises.
When Joe Puma was running the place, it showed almost exclusively foreign films – Fellini, Bardot, and all that – with predictably tiny audiences, and with plenty of hostility from the very conservative and provincial year-round community, who thought it was undermining local morals. There were even art shows in the lobby, as well as free coffee.

After Puma died, around 170, his widow and stepson took over, and they managed to turn it into a semi-mainstream moviehouse – but it still retained its old eccentricity. They had to work hard to compete with the United Artists chain and were involved in a big lawsuit to break UA’s monopoly on movie distribution. Their usually low-budget renovations were done by local characters who had their own odd ideas about interior paneling and exterior clapboard siding. The one big extravagance was antique cast-iron seats, incredibly heavy, with deep red plush cushions – the balcony groaned under their weight and sagged a few inches, and there was a visible crack. But like everything else, it somehow held up – the original owner’s reconstruction may have been crude but nothing ever actually collapsed. The people who worked there tended to keep cats in the theater, and I used to let in anyone I knew for free on winter evenings when no one else was around. Our wages were abysmal; I survived on peanut M&M’s. The projectionist and I enjoyed blasting the soundtrack to The Harder They Come before every movie. Several of our local loonies used to hang out, stay warm, and help me change the marquee letters. My work there ended after my boss (the stepson, an entertainingly Napoleonic character) changed his mind every evening for about four weeks running about what color spots he wanted beaming down onto the screen between shows – each change of bulbs meant another trip carrying dozens of bulbs down a narrow catwalk with no headroom, and nothing but flimsey ceiling panels between me and the cast iron seats fifty feet below.

The place was “twinned” around 1980, and then sold to a big chain (Cineplex Odeon, I think), who predictably gave up on it a few years later. (I adopted one of the stray cats and named her Puma in honor of the late Joe. The best of the murals I’d painted for the walls were looted.) The last I heard, the Hampton Synagogue had taken over the property.