Islip Cinemas

410 W. Main Street,
Islip, NY 11751

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 1, 2009 at 4:08 pm

Here’s a puzzle for Islipers (Islipians? Islipites?) The January 19, 1946, issue of Boxoffice Magazine ran an article about a contretemps in Islip. Prudential Playhouses, a regional theater circuit, had broken ground for a movie theater on Main Street at Smith Avenue (which is the location of the Islip Theater.) A group of citizens protested the location, saying it was too close to churches and a school, and would generate too much traffic.

William Egelman, President of the Chamber of Commerce and spokesman for the theater’s opponents, denied that the opposition was motivated by the fact that James Poro, operator of the East Islip Theatre, was already building an 800 seat theater on Main Street a couple of blocks from the site of the proposed Prudential house, and it was scheduled to open in April.

Prudential said that they’d already gotten to go-ahead from the town authorities, that the town had originally approached them asking them to build in Islip, and that they had heard of no opposition from residents before breaking ground. Their spokesman added that they had been planning to build in Islip for four years, and that there was no ordinance prohibiting the construction of theaters near schools or churches.

So here’s the puzzle: As the Islip Theater is in the location Prudential wanted to build at (so they must have gone ahead with their project), what became of James Poro’s theater on Main Street? Did Islip support two theaters for a while? Did Poro decide to pull out of his theater project before Prudential’s house opened, and convert his building to some other use? Is the building he had under construction in 1946 still there, and can anybody identify its exact location?

The Google Maps satellite view of Islip shows only one building on Main Street about two blocks from this theater that looks large enough to have held an 800 seat theater, on the south side of the street opposite the end of Locust Avenue. Unfortunately, Google has no street view available for this location so I can’t check to see if the facade looks at all theater-like.

wally 75
wally 75 on March 1, 2009 at 2:20 pm

and this helps the islip how….just askin'

dtc
dtc on March 1, 2009 at 1:58 pm

looks like our old friend marcalan glassberg has popped up again. it appears he has started a new life for himself as a teacher out in los angeles.

View link

atlantis7
atlantis7 on December 22, 2008 at 2:00 pm

Hi Mike,
I’m really saddened about the theater….I want to sincerely thank you for offering me the opportunity to perform there.
I have faith your genuine desire to create a community
performing arts center will succeed.
The best,
Ron M.

cynr
cynr on December 19, 2008 at 4:23 pm

I wish you luck. And a fence. And a couple of gorilla-like bouncers. I’d agree – if you run it real tight, you just might do it.

RyanForsythe
RyanForsythe on December 19, 2008 at 4:16 pm

The problem was that the people running it did not know how to handle some of the shows. There was no security, kids were running all over the place, and it just wasn’t a good scene most of the nights. I was only involved in booking so I didn’t have much say as to how to handle things even though I know exactly how to fix the many problems that were occurring. The only night that went very smoothly was my last show. The vice president of the board of the theater took control and made sure the whole place was tight as could be. I am assuming the fire department had a large influence on the theater closing because they were right next door. Kids were always in their parking lot and they were always complaining. This could have been easily solved by building a fence or tighter security. The only security we had was other kids that volunteered. I have recently emailed the landlord to see if I could get it back open and fix all of the problems myself. We’ll see how it goes…

Wish me luck.

Ryan

cynr
cynr on December 19, 2008 at 4:01 pm

They closed the Epicenter of the Northern Hemisphere? Oh noooooo!

But seriously, Ryan, I really like the idea of it being a music venue, like a Webster Hall, perhaps? Bands playing, dancing, sometimes musical acts. That would be cool. But if you’re getting complaints enough to move the Fire Marshall, the Police Dept. AND the Town Attorney to shut down the place, what is it about your plans to get it back open again as a music venue that will not generate yet more complaints? Must be the neighbors doing the complaining, I’d imagine. So much for community support!

Bway
Bway on December 19, 2008 at 3:13 pm

I had a feeling this was happening. I drove by the theater this past Wednesday, and the place certainly didn’t look like an operating theater…..and feared the worst. Now that has been confirmed. Thanks for informing us.

RyanForsythe
RyanForsythe on December 18, 2008 at 6:01 pm

Just to let everyone here know, the Islip Theater has been closed down AGAIN. My name is Ryan Forsythe, I did a lot if not all of the booking of bands for the Islip Pavilion and Islip Theater. I am extremely sad to see the theater close again. The theater had become my Job and I loved to go there and help kids out by allowing them to play a show at a local venue. Sure, the place had tons of problems…it smelled horrible, the equipment was a disgrace, and the security issue is another story, but it was a great place and I hate to see it go. I am going to do everything I can to try to get it back up and running as a music venue.

Here is a mass email that I received from Mike Mckasty, the executive director of the theater:
Hello all,
I unfortunately have to inform everyone of the closing of The Islip Theater & Performing Arts Center.
We have made a significant effort on the parts of everyone involved to try and give this project a rebirth from the ashes of The Islip Pavilion, but the road uphill was too steep. We have tried to offer a place for the youth of Islip to congregate, but there were too many troubles associated with complaints. Notwithstanding, the Fire Marshall, the Police Dept. and the Town Attorney’s Office all called the building owner this week and told him to shut down or else be summonsed. The owner has waited the past year with no revenue from The Pavilion and is only now receiving funds from us. But the camel’s back is broken. And outside companies owed money from the Islip Pavilion are now threatening liens against the building for payment.
The troubles here are insurmountable. The current board is working on solutions and/or changes. We are seeking other venues for all our acts. Miracle on 34th Street will be performed at the rehearsal space within the 1st Congregational Church on 1st Ave. and Union Blvd. in Bayshore, once we confirm final permission. The rest of our filled calendar will be situated in another hall, theater, or movie house, once we complete those arrangements. We are hoping to find a similiar place nearby; there are some plans already underway, maybe even purchasing a “home” for us.
These are difficult times we are going through, but the talented crew we have housed here gives me hope that we can overcome this. People still need to escape the daily grind and be entertained.
This Phoenix will fly once again.

Mike McKasty
Executive Director
Islip Theater & Performing Arts Center

MikeMcK
MikeMcK on November 1, 2008 at 8:40 pm

All,
It seems that the Islip Theater has caused quite a stir among many in this community, good and bad. I would like to introduce myself, Michael McKasty, as the current Executive Director of the new Islip Theater and Performing Arts Center. We are a committed group of volunteers who are trying to rise from the ashes of what was once the Islip Pavilion. Yes, there were mistakes made in the past, and I am truly sorry if people were crossed and negatively affected by personnel connected with Islip Pavilion. But please be assured, we are a new and completely different group of individuals that are striving to bring a community arts center to the town of Islip. Yes, the past director did not work well with others, but he did save this precious building from being razed. He had lofty ideas that just weren’t financially practical; he did believe that quality entertainment should be brought in, but the theatergoers in this township would not pay the price to bring them in. And the theater was dark many a night.
Today we have filled our calendar with events that are being produced by you, the local community. Local talent is striving and starving here on the south shore. I would like to offer our house to anyone who would like to put on a show and produce it for you neighbors. Yes, we would like quality entertainment, and so far we have done very well. We have local teenage musicians from East Islip performing every month for their peers and they love it (according to ticket sales at least). We have an autistic group from the community putting on a show with all autistic artists (doing poetry readings, music showcases, and showing drawings that wlll be displayed. And even though these artists have never been on Broadway, their art is more insightful and beautiful than many others that have. So while we might have ‘quality’ entertainment here in the eyes of some, I guarantee you we do have extraordinary talent.
So I invite all of you to come down and see one of our shows, musical, comedic, theatrical, or on film. And if you have something to offer us, let’s share it with others. We are community.
Mike McKasty

Ross Melnick
Ross Melnick on October 30, 2008 at 9:38 am

All,

I have already removed several comments posted over the past month and may revisit removing others. Unless you have court-sanctioned proof of malice, theft, etc., please DO NOT post innuendo or accusations about particular individuals. If you have a grievance, please take it to a court room.

Thank you,
Cinema Treasures

bluesky
bluesky on October 27, 2008 at 6:23 pm

Friends,

Let us not be drawn into an exercise in futility; let us not indulge our egos in this battle of wit and dare-I-say wisdom. Rather, let us find a better use for our time and energy. Let us continue to work together, to remain supportive of one another and to enjoy the ride. I’ve selected some quotes that I find both inspirational and amusing. Hope they tickle you as well!

“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds”

“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former”

“The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it”

  • Albert Einstein

“Even a mistake may turn out to be the one thing necessary to a worthwhile achievement”

  • Henry Ford

“I will listen to anyone’s convictions, but please keep your doubts to yourself”

  • Goethe

“Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”
– Margaret Mead

“We must be the change we wish to see in the world”

  • Gandhi
Anne25
Anne25 on October 27, 2008 at 1:10 pm

Cynthia,

One has to wonder exactly why this has had such an impact on you that it would cause you to spend so much time on these posts. Is this personal? You seem to know a LOT of details that the rest of the community is not privy to.

smorr
smorr on October 27, 2008 at 10:49 am

Cynthia R,
After reading your response to Bluesky, I believe it is you who has “the plan”. You’re probably just waiting to be asked to present it. So….What’s your plan Cynthia R ?

cynr
cynr on October 26, 2008 at 9:18 pm

Thank you bluesky, for your thoughtful response. Though I don’t believe you can speak for all (“I can assure you that no one has perceived anything you have posted as constructive”), I have to disagree with this:

“your judgmental attitude defines your own personal character more effectively than it highlights any shortcomings this project may contain.”

Maybe what you sense isn’t judgmental, but dismay over this debacle, and from being misled and disappointed, a channeled assertiveness which gives a tone sharp and purposeful in underscoring the severity of those shortcomings you mentioned.

From what I’ve read here, no one much pointed out these evident shortcomings during the prior management’s time, the few that did, when they did, were deleted or railed against. On the other hand, we read a great many posts with this type of sentiment to them: “Hey it would be great to keep the theater open! Hey it’s going to be awesome!” – but there was no basis to believe anything positive like that would result when what we were seeing was the actual direction it was going right in front of our eyes, namely, south.

You had a guy in charge who had run several theaters down and put on some pretty poor productions. NOW you call him “ineffective”. But he was ineffective back then, that was the hard fact that no one much wanted to accept, people still wanted to believe. Then the whole thing crashed as the logical conclusion given the circumstances. The shows were poorly done, word of mouth was bad, attendance drifted off to nothing, and nothing was promoted well and perhaps maybe makeshift signs and xeroxed playbills with typos in them don’t give too much confidence in the quality of the shows, and cash dried up. Then the head honcho disappears, without warning, with a very questionable excuse, packing all his life’s belongings along with him, leaves everyone up in the air, leaves thousands of dollars of debt behind in his wake – and you still have people who say he was a great guy! This is not a judgment, this is factual. When would you have preferred the alarm bell ring?

People would rather believe the emperor has fine clothes. Well, the mark of a good con job is that afterwards, you still don’t believe that you were conned. So at this point, I don’t see any good in posting along the tone of rah, rah, yay team, let’s put on a show! things will be great, watch out world because here we come! posts, I’d rather point things out directly and not pull punches, thank you. If it bothers you, then don’t read my posts. But I’m not going to coddle the Islip Theater. That’s the worse thing you could do for it right now.

As such, I believe I’m part of the solution, not part of the problem. And I don’t think mere volunteers are the solution. I think part of the problem is having volunteers without quality leadership and direction over them from a knowledgeable, experienced director. I think part of the problem may be that the theater needs more then the bandaid you can give it. So many theatrical troupes on long island struggle with box office yet they have integrity and strive to put on first rate productions. Not Ed Wood type productions where substandard is acceptable, such as having actors who don’t know their lines or technicians who don’t observe their cues. These groups get out there and promote those good shows. It keeps them alive so they can continue to do what they love to do and it serves the community well. That’s what you have to do. I don’t see it happening. I haven’t seen it happen. I just hear “rah, rah”.

In fact, I keep asking for someone in management to step forward and explain realistically what they’re going to do and why they believe their plan has a chance, but no one has. Is that asking so much? Instead, I’m in return challenged to become a volunteer, as if that’s the solution. And I don’t think that saying you’re a small group of volunteers with busy lives who see this uphill climb as being akin to a miracle of turning water into wine is a pragmatic solution to the situation. And certainly, taking the time to instead write about my posts or to give your armchair psychologist diagnosis of my character isn’t going to do squat for the theater. In fact, it only comes across more as if you’re trying to quiet the person asking pointed questions.

One last point, bluesky: “Perhaps what you see as hype is merely optimism.”

Optimism is not hype. Optimism is not about looking toward the west and being hopeful that one day we’ll see the sunrise soon enough, rah, rah! Optimism is a positive state of mind, but underlying one’s optimism has to be a realistic, very workable plan. Otherwise, you’re just insane, according to Einstein, doing the same old thing but expecting different results. You can be as optimistic as you like. But “the cultural center of the upper hemisphere” classifies as hype, not optimism. And when what we’ve heard for the past year has been hype, and hearing it from a man without a resume for establishing thriving theaters, but whose resume consisted of quite the opposite, only to be left with such a serious degree of failure, then to now hear one drop more of hype coming from anyone associated with the theater rings loud alarm bells and we very well should inquire as to the new management’s qualifications for running this enterprise. Especially given, to paraphrase a song, that the new boss sounds same as the old boss. We don’t want to be fooled again.

So I ask again. What’s the plan?

bluesky
bluesky on October 24, 2008 at 8:56 pm

Cynthia,

There is often a disparity between intention and perception. And while I have no way of knowing what your intentions have been I can assure you that no one has perceived anything you have posted as constructive. Do you honestly think that people will read your words and feel inspired? Of course you are entitled to your opinion; however your judgmental attitude defines your own personal character more effectively than it highlights any shortcomings this project may contain.

We do not deceive ourselves into believing that we can turn water into wine. We understand that the prior management was ineffective; we are well aware that there are some people who are disenchanted; we realize that this is an uphill climb; and we are all busy people with busy lives. We are but a small group of volunteers undertaking a very large project. Yet we are willing to donate our time, talents and resources in order to add something positive to this community. Perhaps what you see as hype is merely optimism. And perhaps that optimism will prove contagious.

I can appreciate that the world isn’t simply black or white but I cannot help but believe that you are either part of the solution or you are part of the problem. Only you can decide on which side you fall.

Bluesky

cynr
cynr on October 24, 2008 at 7:37 am

Oh I see, it was a dig you posted! Thanks for explaining that you posted a dig. I guess the best defense is a strong offense, huh? I guess that’s because you have nothing else substantial to say so you result to pure digs.

I’ve already explained how there’s at least 4 points of constructive criticism in my posting, and how we’re all tired of the hype of the past year, disappointed and would like to see results instead, but because you don’t agree, all you seem to do is post digs and keep on daring me to volunteer, as if that’s really the answer to the Islip theater’s troubles, avoiding detailing exactly what steps you’re taking to turn things around. It’s like the same stuff as before is still happening.

I think that says a lot right there.

You know, you talk about how I spend my time, but if only you spent your time and energy actually improving the quality of productions in your theater instead of spending time on this board reading posts and making outlandish claims and striking back whenever someone has an honest opinion that you don’t like, maybe the Islip Theater would actually benefit from it. Maybe.

“Congrats, Islip Theater”… for what? They haven’t done anything. They only thing they’ve accomplished so far was to hype the theater and use up monies funded them and bring the theater back to nothing again and deep in debt. They saw the bills pile up but kept digging the hole deeper doing the same old, same old that got them in debt in the first place. That’s called a scam at worst, mismanagement at best. Bottom line is, that’s the track record.

We’ve heard all the hype from Glassberg before, and this is like a continuation of that. Glassberg had a lousy track record, running down several theaters before, and it was no surprise that things didn’t work out. What basis was there to believe this time he’d be successful with that poor resume? None. I posted about that earlier in the year, but the post was deleted, which only shows some Pollyanna attitude here among some, preferring to believe in something when all the evidence points otherwise. Giving money to someone who didn’t have the right resume. I recall Glassberg responded by challenging me to volunteer, same as you’re doing. I see you learned from your mentor. Stare down the watch dog.

(Or are you Glassberg behind the scenes? Still in town but hiding?)

So what’s your track record? What’s your resume say? Ever run a successful theater before? Do tell. Give details. Your website’s selling subscriptions. I’d like to hear how that’s warranted, what your story is, rather then your digs about my critique and hiding behind screen names. And if you don’t like my critique, all you really have to do to change that is to warrant it. I’m a fair person: run a successful theater with great productions, I volunteer to post great reviews.

Islip15
Islip15 on October 23, 2008 at 6:50 pm

Just to be clear Cynthia -the statement “I assure you it will the cultural epicenter of the world by early next month” was not to be taken seriously. It was merely pointing out that if YOU spent all of this time that you spend being negative volunteering instead, then the theater would have enough man hours to be turned into a huge success within a a short span of time.

No more back and forth.

cynr
cynr on October 23, 2008 at 4:58 pm

Oh, I see, Islip15… you can chide me and you see that as okay to do, but you don’t like me saying my piece?

You want to paint my criticism as being negative? Hey, I’m suggesting the new management have 1. standards of quality and that 2. they not repeat the errors of the past management and 3. not hype that pure BS as Todd and you are already so doing. I also pointed out 4. what the Engeman theater found they needed to do to make it work. That’s all constructive criticism.

And what is it with this “why don’t you pitch in and volunteer” type response when someone has a criticism? Theater critics aren’t asked to shut up and stage a show. We can criticize the dry cleaners in town without seeking employment there. We can demand that our schools do a better job without becoming state certified teachers. Be real. More volunteers won’t equate to quality productions if first and foremost management isn’t committed to quality and leads the way, period. So let those who wish to take on these responsibilities just do a great, quality job, instead of giving a repeat performance of the hype we’ve all heard before with nothing to show for it or back it up. It’s as simple as that.

“I assure you it will the cultural epicenter of the world by early next month. ”

Now it’s “the world”, not just the upper hemisphere. Early next month too, that’s a little over a week from now… Okay sir. Going to turn the whole debacle around by then? And your resume has examples of where you’ve established world class theaters before and turned these situations around? Yeah, right…

I don’t recall the Engeman theater making outlandish, exagrerrated claims before they opened, but I do recall that they simply stated what their very do-able intention was, which was to bring NY level productions to long island.

Looks like you’re more into hype then anything else. You’re really insulting the intelligence of the community with statements like that. Not only the community, but every earnest, hard working, theatrical group in the area too, by making such obviously outrageous claims.

Who wants to hear such unsupported boasting? Just make it happen first. I don’t think that’s too much to ask. THEN you can lay claim to it.

Hey Todd, then maybe don’t make claims that you need to come back and say you were only kidding about. I think you can understand that the community is a bit tired of hearing how great things are going to be yadda, yadda, and yet things never are. Really, I hope you make it work.

filmix39
filmix39 on October 23, 2008 at 4:29 pm

My sincerest apologies, the above comments were from the heart. The language was perhaps a bit too florid, if not tongue in cheek. Anyhow those are the “facts”. I will likely check out of this forum now. Feel free to peruse the website at your leisures.

There will be a bulletin board system up there as well. Bring your voices.

Yes, the theater needs volunteers. All are welcome to donate their expertise.

Islip15
Islip15 on October 23, 2008 at 4:19 pm

Wow, Cynthia R., you must be good friends with Dalro. Always so negative.

Why don’t you go down and pitch in? If you were to volunteer all the time you spend being negative, I assure you it will the cultural epicenter of the world by early next month.

Congrats Islip Theater, wishing all the best and my support.

cynr
cynr on October 23, 2008 at 4:10 pm

“We all are expecting 2009 to be HUGE… the theater is aiming to be the cultural epicenter of Islip if not the upper hemisphere.”

Todd, a word to the wise: Way less hype, much more action. The cultural epicenter of the upper hemisphere? C'mon, man! Instead of blowing smoke like some hack carnival barker, produce some consistent great, quality productions with top notch parameters that don’t tolerate substandard work, and people will say, “Wow! Those shows are amazing! This is great!”. You know in your heart where things are slipshod. If you see it, we see it too. Don’t turn a blind eye to it. Miscast actors, bad acting, low production values, inept staff, whatever, it all gets noticed whether consciously or not. They had refurbished the Northport theater, for example, but the productions were lacking. This is why after Glassberg was kicked out of that theater, the new owner’s strategy was to stage equity-level productions there, casting experienced actors from the NYC theater arena, not produce more high schoolish level plays.

“The calendar is a port from the old site. It needs to be updated yet, My apologies.”

Doubtful that the cultural epicenter of the upper hemisphere makes blunders like that. This is exactly why you need to stay away from such bravado. Makes your slipups look even worse. Your actions will always speak much, much louder then your words.

Break a leg.

filmix39
filmix39 on October 23, 2008 at 3:42 pm

The calendar is a port from the old site. It needs to be updated yet, My apologies.

dancerrlj
dancerrlj on October 23, 2008 at 1:12 pm

I see that the rocky horror show is still on. Is there a live stage show?

filmix39
filmix39 on October 23, 2008 at 12:25 pm

Well folks, the theater continues to be up and running.
There is a calendar of great events and performances throughout 2008.

I have volunteered to donate the website to the new not-for-profit that is managing the Islip Theater. It is currently under development. Any suggestions would be welcomed.
The calendar of events is posted and tickets are now for sale at www.IslipTheater.com

There is quite a bit of diversity among the new board and volunteers. We all are expecting 2009 to be HUGE.

With 3 rooms available for events, the theater is aiming to be the cultural epicenter of Islip if not the upper hemisphere.

Space is available for rent to all community groups and we look forward to bringing this venue to a great many new friends.

Stick close to the website. Things will be changing fast and furiously VERY VERY soon.

Thanks all,
Todd S.