Bow-Tie Port Washington Cinemas

116 Main Street,
Port Washington, NY 11050

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Bow-Tie Port Washington Cinemas

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The Beacon Theatre opened on October 15, 1927, and was once a large, venerable single screener. In the early-1970’s it was one of the first local theatres to be triplexed, with the balcony becoming one theatre and two downstairs.

It was later converted into a quad (with two upstairs), then a five-plex (with the old stage being turned into a theatre), and finally a seven-plex, with the addition of two alleged "theatres" that hold around forty people over six rows of beat up seats. Operated by Clearview Cinemas from September 1995, it was taken over in June 2013 by Bow-Tie Cinemas, who took most Clearview locations. It was closed January 28, 2018.

Contributed by SteveSmith

Recent comments (view all 31 comments)

bmccinemash
bmccinemash on November 26, 2015 at 9:09 pm

Thank you Orlando for clearing up some things. Clerview3 took over in September of 1995. I took over running the theatre after you left in 1991

GregT
GregT on February 17, 2018 at 11:22 am

Does anyone have any information about the fate of the organ? It was restored in the mid-1970s (the “ New York Times” did a feature on it on page 57 of its February 1, 1976 Edition), and was thought to be the last working theater organ on Long Island. Nobody seems to remember what happened to it when the Beacon became the Port Triplex. Thank you!

robboehm
robboehm on February 17, 2018 at 5:46 pm

Re the storefront theatres mentioned by Orlando way back when, the only time I was in this theatre was in one of those. Film was, I believe, A Death in Venice with Dirk Bogarde.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on February 18, 2018 at 8:28 am

Have you tried contacting New York Theatre Organ Society at , or by phone at 845-457-5393?

GregT
GregT on February 18, 2018 at 10:27 am

Hi, Comfortably Cool – Yes, I e-mailed them about a month ago, but haven’t received a response. Thank you very much for the suggestion!

Texas2step
Texas2step on April 2, 2018 at 5:12 pm

This one opened as the Beacon Theatre on October 15, 1927.

Orlando
Orlando on May 22, 2018 at 1:16 pm

The organ was played right up to the time of the Disney Festivals of 1975-1978, by a POrt Washington THS member who told me she played Disney standards during the festivals. Mr. Djiji was offered money for it but wanted more and as he was soon triplex the theatre. Sadly, the organ console, pipes and motors were destroyed in the conversion of the theatre and he didn’t get a dime for a still playable organ. The projectionist at the time I was there told me about it and he had a piece of it which was of wood that said “Chime”. Glad to add this for you since if I would have died of a heart attack that I had this past March, this tidbit would not be here today for you to rest your minds of the Beacon’s organ.

Orlando
Orlando on May 22, 2018 at 1:21 pm

“Death In Venice” came out in 1970-1, the small theatres didn’t exist then, it was a different Dirk Bogarde movie, maybe “Daddy Nostolgia” if my memory still serves me.

GregT
GregT on May 23, 2018 at 4:40 am

Hi, Orlando – I am so happy to know that you recovered from the heart attack, and certainly not because of the tidbit(!), for which I otherwise am grateful. It was an important and now iretrievable piece of history, the last of its kind on Long Island, as well as a unique and beautiful instrument. (As a full time professional musician of more than 30 years – part of a rich Port tradition, actually – I can attest to the fact that no two instruments of any sort are exactly alike.) I heard a rumor that, after learning about the organ’s restoration, Count Basie once came to Port from his home in Queens during a tour break to play it. He always loved theater organs, and was taught to play on one in Harlem by Fats Waller. I could swear that I heard about it at the time of his alleged visit, as well as plans for a full concert with the band featuring Basie at the console, but I haven’t found a shred of evidence that either of those things ever happened. I turned 12 late in 1976. Kids tend to hear lots of things that are just talk and believe them to be facts. Regardless, thank you for putting this sad story on the record and the matter to rest. I wish you continued good health and a beautiful Summer – and hopefully, on my weekly visits to town from NYC, I’ll see you at the Town Dock!

GregT
GregT on May 23, 2018 at 4:59 am

GAH! I wish I had seen the earlier comments when I first came to this site back in February, I didn’t know they were here! “Sticky” posted over a decade ago that he went to hear and see the Basie Band, and met them backstage! I really wanted it to be true that it had happened. The fact that we know definitively that Basie played it makes the loss of the organ all the more tragic and infuriating. The story until now was that the organ had not been removed, but was intact nonetheless.

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