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Historic Mamaroneck Theatre Shuttered

mamaroneck movie theatre

The old Mamaroneck  Playhouse on Mamaroneck Avenue, rumored to soon be demolished to build condos, has closed for good.

“Yes, sadly, it’s now closed,” says Carol Akin, a resident who has been active in local preservation efforts. “The last movie started at 9:20 pm Sunday night.   But a bunch of us are determined to stop the demolition, and to try to find either a donor who could buy it from Bow Tie Cinema, or we could work out a compromise, to keep the theater and build apartments on top.”

According to Suzanne Clary, President of the Jay Heritage Center in Rye, the structure is not on an Historic Registry. (Correction from earlier edition:)  The theatre was erected in 1925.

Mamaroneck Village Trustee Andres Hallstrom summarized the result of various meeting with representatives from Bow Tie in an earlier post.

“We’ve lost so much history in recent years, including the oldest building in Mamaroneck, the 1790 Gedney Farm House two years ago, which we shouldn’t have lost, and we’re in danger of losing the next oldest 1792 DeLancey-Cooper House, if a developer buys it, said Akin. We just can’t lose any more significant history, and the Movie Theater is a central and significant part of Mamaroneck.”



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concerned resident
concerned resident
April 23, 2014 1:48 PM
April 23, 2014 8:51 AM

With the word spreading rapidly of the upcoming demolition of the Playhouse, and more and more outrage being expressed, a few of us have met and have formed an informal group of “Mamaroneck Villagers for Saving the Playhouse”. Here is what we’ve found out, and then we’ll tell you below WHAT YOU CAN DO!

1. Bow Tie Cinemas bought the Mamaroneck Playhouse with the clear intention of turning it into condos. We’re including information about their plans (including description and design) pasted below this email, (if you’re interested) which is dated 2013! This is why they’ve let the Playhouse go — why it’s dirty, the floor’s sticky, and it’s uninviting…, They’ve put no money into it at all so that people wouldn’t be encouraged to come, and they can use the excuse that attendance is low and they now can’t afford to keep it open.

2. At their first meeting with the Mam’k. Village Board months ago, there was no mention of demolition. Only in the last three weeks did they meet with a few Board members and explain their plans…that the theater is not profitable.. Their website talks of how they want to support and be part of the communities where their theaters are….This company has bought into our village with deception and hypocrisy!

3. Bow Tie is a 4th generation company running theaters, dating back to their great grandfather’s contracts with early vaudeville performers. They tout their dedication to continuing quality theater tradition for the community. (Really?) Bow Tie also has a real estate branch. This is where we must focus our protest. The headquarters of the company is in their own Bow Tie building in the heart of Times Square (between 44th and 45th Sts.) with several of the famous lighted billboards. (Google it if you wish.). They also have a branch in Colorado. The grandson and great-grandson of the founder are the two owners…Charles and Benjamin Moss.

3. The Mamaroneck Village Board is discussing (as of this week!) passing a law which would require anyone wishing to demolish a building in Mamaroneck to get approval from the Land Use Board first, before a demolition permit could be issued. As it now stands, if they meet the requirements (an environmental impact study, etc.), the Building Department must issue a demolition permit. Monday, April 28th, the Board will put this law on their public meeting’s agenda.

Passing this law would at least buy us some time to formulate our resistance, possibly plan a protest, and even see if we could meet with Bow Tie, to find some kind of compromise, where we might keep the Theater operating and condos could be built above it.

4. The Mamaroneck Historical Society is working to find and promote many documented memories of the rich, nearly 90-year history of the Playhouse, built in the 1920’s, where vaudeville acts were at the Playhouse and the movies of famed early moviemaker D.W.Griffith were shown.

5. Phil Reisman had a wonderful article about the proposed demolition of the Playhouse in this past Sunday’s Journal News — on page 2! You can find it online.

6. Under Bow Tie’s plans for the condos we’ve pasted in below, we have added some residents’ comments on the Loop’s story on the Playhouse this week. Some remarks re very powerful and have interesting information…!

7. There are many possibilities suggested for its continued use as a theater — we could have live performances, arts festivals there,as well as continuing as a movie theater. A Jacob Burns format could be very successful in Mamaroneck.

Bow Tie used all sorts of excuses why those wouldn’t work. They want the income from the apartments.

6.. NOW …PLEASE!! –WE NEED YOU TO WRITE TO BOW TIE!! — IMMEDIATELY!! They need to hear from hundreds of residents of Mamaroneck that we don’t want to see our Playhouse destroyed! There is no email available for Bow Tie –you’ll have to type your letters, print them and mail them to the following address. It’s possible that hard copies mailed to Bow Tie of our strong protests, our outrage, against demolition of our historic Playhouse may have even more effect than emails! We’ve included the phone number, but it hasn’t been answered when we call. Letters can be a much better documentation of protest. Here’s where you can write:

Msrs. Charles and Benjamin Moss

Real Estate Division

The Bow Tie Building

1530 Broadway

NY, NY 10036

Tel. 212 – 764 – 7000

Please forward this to as many friends as you can. Bow Tie must understand that the Playhouse has played a central role in Mamaroneck Village’s community history and all of us want to see it continue…!

For more information or to add someone to our email list, please email us their name and email address,

or call: (914) 834-2983.

Thanks for your interest, and willingness to help Mamaroneck save it’s historic Playhouse!

Best regards,

Mamaroneck Villagers for Saving the Playhouse

Mamaroneck Movie Fan
Mamaroneck Movie Fan
April 22, 2014 9:57 PM

First Clearview let the Playhouse languish, and then Bow Tie let it go downhill further, and now they want to close and convert it to condos. We don’t need more condos and more traffic in Mamaroneck Village — we need our movie theater!!! It’s an important part of Mamaroneck’s identity and culture, partly because its history goes back to the early days of movie-making and vaudeville, but also because all generations have grown up (or are still growing) going to the movies there. The Playhouse used to make money, and still has the potential to be successful if the owners would just clean it up, make it a little nicer experience.
Closing the theater tears a hole in the heart of our community. It’s not fair to the families, kids, couples that enjoy going to a movie in their own town. Also, it’s bad for business in the Village – especially for places like Sal’s, where people go before or after a movie. This is just another example of heartless, clueless outsiders with money running roughshod over local citizens and what they value in their community.
Let’s not let them take our Playhouse without a fight. I noticed in the comments of the earlier Loop article about this that someone is organizing opposition to Bow Tie’s plans, and they gave a phone number if you want to be on their email list for action updates — 914 834-2983. Let’s stand up for what we care about.

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