Long Beach has been without a movie theater since Superstorm Sandy flooded the aisles of the Long Beach Cinemas nearly three years ago, but moviegoers have some good news coming soon.
Last year a glimmer of hope appeared when a sign was posted outside the closed venue, advising the deprived moviegoers to “Look 4 Grand Reopening.” But they still had a very long wait in store. Showtime finally arrived Wednesday, meaning Long Beach officially got its cinemas back before the Fourth of July.
“I think we’re very much the symbol of what was destroyed when Sandy came,” said Seth Pilevsky, co-president of Philips International, which owns the cinemas. “We want to open strong and stay open.”
Not only will the cinema be re-opened, but it will be revitalized. New 3D and digital projectors, as well as larger leather cushion seats, will be added to the four-screen theater at the corner of East Park Avenue and Long Beach Boulevard.
The delays have been frustrating for the owners and moviegoers alike.
“It took over a year to get any money from the insurance company,” said Pilevsky. “We had to fight to get the money for the theater.”
But now, with the cinemas’ reopening, the City by the Sea can continue to move on from the devastation leftover by the 2012 superstorm.
Aside from symbolizing the city’s restoration, with the cinema’s return Long Beach natives will finally once again be able to save a lot of unnecessary travel time to movie theaters farther away.
“It’s another positive step in for our city’s recovery and yet another sign that Long Beach continues to move forward,” said City Councilman Anthony Eramo. “My wife and I are looking forward to taking our kids to the Long Beach theater for the first time since Sandy.”
His colleagues agreed.
“This has been a long time coming,” observed City Councilman Scott J. Mandel. “Having our movie theater back is a real boost to the community and a great symbol of Long Beach’s comeback.”
Long Beach moviegoers couldn’t agree more.
“I’m very excited about the theater coming back,” said Dan Bulger, a Long Beach native. “We won’t have to travel all the way to Rockville Center anymore and even have the option of walking there using the boardwalk again.”