Showing 1 - 25 of 42 comments
My wife and I moved to Brooklyn Heights in 2003 and go to this theater all the time. It’s a real treasure – one of the last true “neighborhood” theaters left in NYC. The management makes a real effort to program some unusual fare, and there’s almost never a crowd, so it’s easy to buy tickets at the last minute.
Alas, I’m almost nostalgic for it already. With real estate values in the Heights booming, there’s no way this place can last more than a few more years. Let’s enjoy it while it’s here.
I agree – those videos were great. Especially the “Rocky Horror” parody. Mikeyboomer – please put them back! I assumed because there were no copyright issues they would be up forever, so I was taking my time going through them.
Yes, it is the original Drive-In sign, in a nifty piece of preservation.
This must be the drive-in referred to in Paul Feig’s latest book “Superstud” as the site of several of his hot-and-heavy make-out sessions in the early 80s. Only Feig refers to it as the Macomb Drive-In.
Long live the Huntington Cinema Arts Centre – one of the very last outposts of countercultural hipness left on Long Island! They haven’t always had their own theater – I saw “The Dead” and “Wings of Desire” here in the late 80’s when showings were still held in a public school auditorium, inducing flashbacks to elementary school “assembly”. Vic used to (maybe still does) address the audience before a film. Before “Wings of Desire” he told us to expect a poem instead of a novel. What a guy! Rumour has it the HCAC started in 1973 with Vic showing films on a strung-up bedsheet in an abandon store.
Ha! – the old “be forewarned this movie is so disturbing/disgusting/boring that you may want to leave in the middle and you will NOT get your money back” trick. I’ve personally never seen these signs but I’ve heard of them being posted by theaters at 2 other movies – Soderbergh’s “Kafka” and Haneke’s “Funny Games.” Seems like a canny marketing move by the theater – virtually daring people to see the film.
Joe from Florida – you’ll be happy to hear the Westbury Drive-In never descended as low as to show XXX features. It physically couldn’t have because the screens were easily viewable from the homes and businesses nearby, including my elementary school across the street. Granted, kids generally weren’t at school after dark, but still, I’m sure the community would never have permitted it. The Westbury did, however, occasionally show some mildly exploitive R-rated fare such as the classic t-and-a film “H.O.T.S.” That may be the source of the XXX rumor, or your source may have mistaken the Salisbury adult theater (also in Westbury) for the Drive-In.
Nice single neighborhood theater – I don’t think it was ever doubled. Saw “Remains of the Day” and “Shadowland” here in mid-90s. I’m not sure when it closed, but the former location is now part of the huge “Livingston Town Center” redevelopment project.
I did some research in the NY Times archives and discovered an article from July 25, 1954 about the soon-to-open Westbury Drive-In theater. Acording to this article, the theater was built with a capacity for 2,000 cars on 28 acres, so I’m curious about the 950 listed above – after all, cars have gotten smaller so you would think the capacity would go up, not down. Maybe the theater sold off a significant parcel of land at some point.
The article continues on to say that the theater would be equipped with “a playground for about 500 children, and a nursery supervised by a matron.” Not only that, other amenities would be “a personal telephone service for professional people and patrons, and automobile maintenance facilites.” Sounds like those amenities didn’t last very long if they were ever there at all after it opened.
Interestingly enough for Long Islanders – the theater is described as being off of Exit 34 of the Northern State Parkway, because the Long Island Expressway (I-495) hadn’t been extended through Nassau County yet. Hard to believe…
I saw “Natural Born Killers” here in August, 1994 and I think it closed not too long afterwards. It’s been demolished so completely I’m not even sure where it used to be.
I believe this one is mentioned in the latest Philip Roth novel “The Plot Against America.”
Hereâ€™s an interesting factoid I just discovered â€" this theater and the adjacent shopping center, take their name from the fact that they were originally built to serve the residents of the Plainview neighborhood of Morton Village, which is directly opposite them on Old Country Road. The neighborhood, in turn, is so named because the main loop road is Morton Road.
It seems as though neighborhood names in Plainview have long faded from common usage â€" maybe they are still used by real estate agents and no one else. Does anyone still say â€œMorton Villageâ€ in reference to the actual village and not the shopping center?
Z: Since you were there from the very beginning (before the beginning, in fact) hopefully you can answer these burning questions:
1) What year did the Mini Cinema open?
2) Did it open as a revival house? That’s incredible if it did (i.e. that it didn’t open as a first run theater and eventually become a revivial house) but who knows? Was it the same management all along, or was there a major change at some point?
Yes, the Royal Theatre sounds correct. I am curious about the address given above for the Center Theater – wasn’t this one on Bloomfield Avenue also? Is the Belmont Avenue address a mistake?
Wasn’t there another theater in Bloomfield, a few blocks west of this one on Bloomfield Ave? I’m pretty sure I saw “Natural Born Killers” there in 1994, but when I drove by recently there was no sign of it in any form – I think it must have been completely torn down.
This was my local theater growing up – some of my earliest filmgoing memories are of seeing “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Scrooge,” and Disney’s “Island at the Top of the World” here in the early 70’s. Total mayhem when “Star Wars” played – loooooong lines entertained by jugglers and other performers. I think “Rocky Horror” even ran here at midnight at the height of the fad in 1982-1983. Not sure when it was carved up into a six-plex – I’m guessing around 1984 – but that was the death knell. One of the theaters had a screen smaller than our family television! Closed around 1990 and torn down to make way for IKEA. The marquee on Route 106/107 (aka Broadway) was reused by the all-new Nantional Amusements multiplex.
Yeah, I know, but I really didn’t have a choice considering the R-rating. After the opening shower scene it really wasn’t so bad…
I went here for the first and only time to see “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” in September, 1981 and it seemed like the theater was gone soon afterwards, so it must have closed in late 1981 or early 1982. The building was rapidly converted into yet another bland suburban office building along South Oyster Bay Road. The first of the Plainview theaters to close, the other three would also be gone by the end of the 1980s.
My only memory of this place was going there in July, 1980 with my parents to see Brian De Palma’s thriller “Dressed to Kill” and running into some other kids from my middle school who were there to see Rodney Dangerfield in “Caddyshack.” I was appalled at their lack of cinematic taste, and couldn’t believe they were missing an opportunity to see a fine De Palma film. Yes! – only 14 years old and already a complete film snob.
No, this is correct. Plainview, New York once had 4 theaters (down to zero currently) and they are now all listed here. This theater may have often been confused with the single-screen Morton Village theater, which was on the opposite side of Old Country Road about a quarter mile to the west, almost within sight of each other. I’m not sure, but I think the Old Country was the last of the Plainview theaters to close.
Stopped by last Sunday to take a photograph for this webpage. Although the theater has been gone well over 20 years now, the building is still surprisingly recognizable as the Mini-cinema – on the outside, at least. The marquee, ticket booth, and poster window are all still there. Maybe not for long, though, as the church that now inhabits the building seems to have expansion plans under way. Interestingly enough, the adjoining strip mall seems long gone also, having been converted to some kind of “Nassau Library Administrative Building.” Weird.
Drove by here last weekend for the first time in a decade and took some good pics for when addphoto becomes available again. Most interesting observation is that the theater SEEMS smaller than it was back in the ‘80s, despite the expansion, because most of the building is hidden behind a new strip mall – only the lobby is visible from the parking lot now. It is still a huge lobby, with a bank of video games, a refreshment stand, and a coffee cart. The next door Nassau Mall, from which the theater originally took its name, has been pulverized out of existence by a Best Buy and BJ Wholesalers.
My main memory of the Old Country Theater from the early 80’s is that it had a really nasty old man for a manager – yes, the only theater that could compete with the Westbury for obnoxious management. One time we were there to see a 9:30 showing of “Blue Thunder” and the theater was obviously running behind schedule. The manager ordered the projectionist to start the FEATURE while the line was still moving into the theater. As irate film goers started yelling at him that for $5 he should at least wait till eveyone is in the theater before starting the film, he offered this lame excuse – “we had to start now or we wouldn’t get out till after midnight.” Huh?
This theater has been through several incarnations in just the past decade, including a first-run film theater, a Bollywood theater, a live theater, an art film/revivial theater for MOMA (until last spring) and currently, alas, a live theater once again. Who knows what it will be next year? The MOMA partnership seemed like a great deal for both parties – there were crowds there all the time, even for weekday matinees. I can’t fathom why MOMA had to end it several months early; something about their staff needing to concentrate on the November midtown reopening. As a film theater it is a large, single screen theater, slightly run down, with sub-par ventilation and air-conditioning. I ran into several of the people profiled in “Cinemaniacs” here right after that film opened, so I knew it must be a good theater.