The Space at Westbury
250 Post Avenue,
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Opened on November 10, 1927, the Westbury Theatre was one of (at least six) Calderone Theaters in Nassau County, Long Island (Westbury, Glen Cove, Lynbrook, Mineola, two in Hempstead including the Calderone Concert Hall).
The theater was designed by architect Douglas Pairman Hall in a unique medieval-Tudor style that remains evident to this day. The beautiful and expansive auditorium originally seated 1,600 and included orchestra, loge and balcony sections. By 1957 it was operated by Liggett-Florin Booking Service.
Twinned "down the middle" in the late-1970’s, the theater managed to make the conversion without altering much of the interior. However, for the last 20 years, it continued to lose patronage as the current owners ran it into the ground, failing to make repairs and charging first run prices for second run fare. A loss of customers initially and incredulously came to a head in the late-1980’s following a much publicized local debacle in which the theater owner called the police to have a senior citizen customer forcibly removed from the auditorium after he refused to give up his cough drops! The windfall from this affair, coupled with the construction of nearby multiplexes ultimately left the Westbury Theater for broke.
In 2001, with crowds dwindling and the leaks growing, the Westbury Theater was forced to shut its doors, having been cited for various building safety code violations. The future of the theater is now uncertain. While the very same owners would actually like to save and restore the theater, and, according to the marquee have formed a campaign for this purpose, it appears as though it might be too little, too late. Years of neglect, a seemingly disinterested local neighborhood, the shaky relationship that appears to exist between the theater owners and local businesses and politicians, and finally, the real estate allure of the location make a second act unlikely for this old neighborhood gem.
By October 2010, work had begun on demolition of the dividing walls in the auditorium, restoration and clean-up, with a formal ‘ground breaking’ ceremony held on October 22 to convert into a performing arts center. Reopened as The Space at Westbury in late-2013.
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