Young Andrew Beberman is to be congratulated on his letter, “Bow Tie Cinemas” (Port Washington News, Dec. 19), explaining why our beautiful movie house on Main Street, should be preserved. He is absolutely right. That movie house is a cultural and an architectural landmark in Port Washington and it should be preserved.
However, Andrew, I must tell you that I think that it won’t be preserved. I think that it will be torn down and that two or three apartment houses will be built on the site. And that those apartment houses will be affordable, so that the new immigrants who are pouring into Port Washington will be able to live on Main Street and will not have to seek apartments in already overcrowded parts of Port Washington. Based on past history, change in Port Washington is not determined by our community or by a committee of concerned and learned citizens from our community, but it’s determined by the powerful real estate owners of Port Washington properties. These real estate owners rarely, if ever, act in the best interests of our community, but they always act in the best interests of their pocketbooks. If a movie house with amenities like a restaurant, or a cafe and a concert hall is no longer a viable financial proposition in Port Washington, then the Bow Tie Cinemas can’t be preserved.
When I first moved to Port Washington 52 years ago, the movie house on Main Street was the only movie theatre in Port and I believe that it was then called the Beacon Theatre. It wasn’t a multiplex back then. Back then, we also had a wonderful bowling alley, called Bay Bowl, located in the Soundview Shopping Center, where the Target department store now sits. Bay Bowl was a very popular place for our entire community, but especially for younger residents. It should have been preserved, but it wasn’t. When Bay Bowl could no longer pay the rent asked for by the landlord, it disappeared and was replaced by a King Kullen supermarket. Residents Forward will tell you, that’s progress.
Chances are, Residents Forward (formerly, Residents For A More Beautiful Port Washington) will probably tell you that they are in favor of two or three new affordable apartment houses being built on Main Street because they want to make Port Washington more walkable—whatever that means. At least, that’s what Mindy Germain, the executive director of Residents said a few years back, when Residents pushed for the rezoning of Main Street to create more apartment buildings there under the town’s Model Blocks rezoning proposal. These days, Residents acts, in many ways, as an agent for the big real estate owners in town. I can give you an impressive list of major real estate project proposals that Residents aggressively pushed for, that were ultimately rejected by the vast majority of Port residents. However, that is a subject for a different letter to the editor.
Thank you for trying, Andrew, and always be true to your beliefs.