Babylon Cinemas

34 West Main Street,
Babylon, NY 11702

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Babylon Theater

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Located on W. Main Street, just west of Deer Park Avenue. The Capitol Theatre was built by the Riley Brothers in 1922 as a sister theatre to their Capitol Theatre in Riverhead, NY. Designed by architect J.H. Phillips in a Colonial rRevival style. Seating was provided for 1,050 in orchestra and balcony levels. The property entered into bankruptcy and closed on December 20, 1924. The theatre reopened under new ownership with the name Babylon Theatre in February 1925.

In later years it was operated by Prudential Theatres(1929). It was remodelled in 1956 to the plans of Maurice D. Sornik. Later operated by United Artists, then by Clearview, as of June 2013 it has been operated by Bow-Tie Cinemas.

The Babylon Cinemas was closed on September 7, 2014.

Contributed by Robertr

Recent comments (view all 58 comments)

NYer
NYer on September 10, 2014 at 10:00 am

And yet The Babylon was very successful for 80 or so years before Bow Tie entered the picture. When Prudential/United Artists owned the theater. is was first class all the way, same building in the middle of the street, same tiny parking lot behind, combined with top management. They were first run, getting the best pictures first, sometime directly from Radio City Music Hall. It was a “Red Carpet Theater”. People who came knew where to park and lines around the building were common. It’s sounds like Clearview AND Bow Tie gave on a grande dame. Babylon’s loss.

gfm8959
gfm8959 on September 10, 2014 at 1:57 pm

There was a fire in April 1955- I didn’t see it mentioned anywhere in the comments. I guess that’s why it was remodeled/reopened in 1956?

robboehm
robboehm on September 11, 2014 at 6:58 am

Some sources say that the theater was destroyed in that fire. Wrong. Unlike the, supposedly, fireproof Edwards (East Hampton) and Rialto (Patchogue), the Babylon survived it’s fire. For the other two the walls came down. The original Capitol/Babylon walls still survive. Only the street facing facade is different.

And re the South Bay again, if they knew they were going to tear down and rebuild why go digital now?

Orlando
Orlando on September 11, 2014 at 7:56 am

The South Bay was digital about a year and a half now and the option to close and rebuild was decided within the past three months. They’d be closed now had they waited to install digital. They switched over theatre by theatre while film was disappearing and not all at one time. To NYer, Bow Tie is not to be blamed for the closure since they had the theatre for a little over a year. Clearview (Cablevision) is mostly to blame for the closing of the Babylon.

joemasher
joemasher on September 11, 2014 at 8:30 am

Thanks Orlando! The Babylon Cinemas was converted to digital over a year ago. Unfortunately it was no longer a viable operation, and had not been for many years.

robboehm
robboehm on September 11, 2014 at 1:41 pm

At the time Bow Tie took over Clearview outlets I seem to recall not all made the transfer. Then, subsequently, at least one closed.

There is nothing to say that Bow Tie, or someone else, might choose to resurrect the Babylon for the period when the South Bay is down. Might be to their advantage to rebuild an audience for the house.

jpark377
jpark377 on September 11, 2014 at 2:05 pm

I worked at this location for many years as a contractor when it was a UA (going back to even before it was tripled), and the market place has changed tremendously over the years. There’s really nobody to blame here: Main Street style theaters are really just a thing of the past. Years ago, larger towns could have many theaters of this style (Patchogue and Bay Shore, as examples, had many movie theaters like this one), and support every one of them; but nowadays, these theaters are a dying breed. And forget about it: if you don’t promote birthday parties or group sales with this type of theater, you’re finished. Everybody talks a good game that they like the classic old-styled movie house: then they run down to the newest behemoth stadium seating theater and pluck down the $13 for a ticket, and then they toss $15 down on the candy stand, and then they wonder how come the Babylon or Lindenhurst theaters closed.
I’m not blaming the public for liking the newer stadium theaters (it is nice not to stare at the back of someone’s head, while sitting in a very comfortable rocking seat; and that’s with the picture and sound quality being exceptional!): just be intellectually honest, and realize that many of you voted with your wallet at the box office and candy stand for the newer stadium theater over the old Main Street type theater. 2013 was the largest revenue year for the movie industry, so when I hear people try to rationalize that the industry in-general is in a steep decline, and that’s what’s causing these theater closures, I know that they aren’t living in the real world. The customer’s choice is what’s relegating these movie houses into ancient history.

Tommyp123
Tommyp123 on September 13, 2014 at 9:08 am

As a life time movie buff and resident of the Babylon area I am saddened by the closing of one my favorite movie theaters . I saw so many movies there. I also worked there when it was United Artist in 1997-98. It’s a shame that Bow Tie couldn’t make it work even with low prices. I for one prefer to go to a local movie theater over the multiplexes. Just in the last two years I got to see such gems; Blue Jasmine, The Chef, Life of Pie, Argo and Silver Linings Playbook all at the Babylon Cinemas and It was always a relaxed and friendly experience. Sometimes I like to go to the movies alone and Babylon has always been my first choice. I wish there was a way to preserve it as a movie theater instead of making it into a bank or a pharmacy. Being that the Babylon theater is a historic building in the town of Babylon I am thinking of starting a petition to prevent them from taking it away from the community. Perhaps another theater company/owner can make it work. This happened in the town of Islip and now they have a movie theater after it had been closed for several years. So I don’t think it’s impossible. Having a movie theater in a Village like Babylon has added so much to the community; all of the local bars, restaurants and shops have all benefited from it. It would be a shame to not preserve such a treasure. If anyone is interested in helping me with this petition let me know here and we can work on it together.

Tommyp123
Tommyp123 on September 13, 2014 at 6:14 pm

If anyone has an idea about the above petition please contact me here or e-mail me at

amcbayplaza13
amcbayplaza13 on September 20, 2014 at 7:42 am

Bow tie cinemas did installing Sony 4k digital projectors, braco digital projectors and Christie digital projectors to replaced the 35mm film projectors in their theaters .About 6 years ago Clearview cinemas was gonna brought the Loews American Theaters in the Bronx to make the guest to happy but no Clearview cinemas screw up so the Bow Tie cinemas brought opened their theater so that the guest will be happy to see a movie in the community. In 2008 Bow tie cinemas took over the Loews American Theater in the Bronx but Bow tie cinemas closed their theater in Parkchester because their theater wasn’t convert into a digital projection.My uncle went to this theater when it was owned by United Artist in 1997 and now it’s not fair to see Bow Tie Cinemas couldn’t be more like AMC, Cinemark, Carmike, National Amusements and Rave motion pictures theaters honesty if the only way I could talk to AMC to covert this theater is to an 18 screens stadium style seating theater instead of seeing this theater turn into an bank,pharmacy,TJ maxx, and school building.

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