Comments from gtdriver98

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gtdriver98
gtdriver98 commented about Port Washington Cinemas on Jun 30, 2006 at 10:59 am

I managed this theater for nearly 6 years from 1998 to 2003. Clearview Cinemas operates it now and has for the past 10-12 years or so. For much of that time, including when I worked there, they only did the bare minimum to keep the place running. We ended up doing a lot of work ourselves because the contractors they hired were terrible. You can see from the poor design of the candy stand and the shoddy work they did overall with the lobby renovation in 1998-99. Management at Clearview has changed since then for the better and I understand they are preparing to make some more renovations, including a handicapped bathroom on the ground floor and joining the 2 tiny theaters to make 1 larger auditorium (though they may have some trouble with that as a major support column runs through the wall separating the two). They already replaced the curtains in the auditoriums and are also supposed to be replacing the seats in the entire building.

As for the days of old, when the theater was known as the Beacon theater and was a single screen house, much of that can still be seen if you do a little digging. Behind the screen in Theater 1 is a closet which leads to a covered up stairwell. If you open up the small access hatch and climb down into the basement, you can see the stairwell which came from behind the original stage. Climb through another small opening and you’ll find the entire orchestra pit still there and largely intact, sitting under the front of theaters 1 & 2. The back theater was built across the stage and I suspect that the stage was destroyed in the process. The owner of the building insists that he had the organ buried in concrete when the theater was cut up, but I can assure you that it is not there. The only remains of the organ are what is left of the blower, made by the Spencer Turbine company. Going back up into the closet, you can pop a few ceiling tiles and lo and behold, you come across a metal rung ladder. Climb about 25-30 feet up and you’ll find the original catwalk. The presidium arch over the stage is still there and peering down through a stage light opening, you can still see the floor of the front of the stage.

I’ve heard that the theater has fallen apart in recent years, which is a shame. It was never the nicest theater around, but it was a great place to see a movie with friends or family. I hope the renovations are done the right way- and maybe they will help make it a great place once more.