seen @ Squire Great Neck Cinemas, Great Neck, NY
After witnessing so many movie theaters close within the past several years (the latest casualty: the Beekman on the east side of Manhattan), it’s nice to write about a new theater, one that’s independent and affordable! As I mentioned in this month’s links roundup, the staff of Movieworld, formerly in Douglaston, Queens, have found a new home on the other side of the border. The Squire Great Neck Cinemas opened in Great Neck, in Nassau County, back in April—I found out about it a couple of weeks ago—and I went there this week to see It: Chapter Two.
I knew the trip would be much longer than when I would visit Movieworld; indeed, I took two LONG bus rides plus a lot of walking—a short walk to the first bus and a much longer walk after the second bus. All told, it took me around two and a quarter hours to get to the Squire. Movieworld was about a half hour to forty-five minutes less.
It was my first time in Great Neck. It’s a nice neighborhood. Middle Neck Road, the street where the Squire resides, is made up of two and three-story Tudor-style buildings with a variety of shops. The Long Island Rail Road stops there, as does at least one bus. The road was narrow, so traffic didn’t speed everywhere. It seemed racially mixed, but mostly Jewish.
The Squire itself was small but well integrated into the neighborhood, with an old-fashioned marquee, not digital. Inside it looks much like any other multiplex—the previous owners kept it well maintained, from what I could see. The auditorium seats were comfortable and the bathroom was clean. So far, it doesn’t have a distinct identity, like Movieworld did—not just the fact that you had to access it underneath a mall parking lot, but the old school (as in Classic Hollywood) posters and portraits, the neon, the concession stand hub. It’s still kind of generic, but it’s very early. Movieworld had their space for over thirty years.
According to the guy I talked to, attracting crowds on weekends was tricky because many of the Jews in Great Neck are observant, so the crowds on Friday nights and Saturdays aren’t as big as they could be yet, but they’re gonna do things like upgrade the seating and hold contests—I saw some from earlier this summer on their Facebook page—so I expect them to grow into their niche in time.
As for the movie: I never read the Stephen King book, but I know he approved of the changes to accommodate the modern audience. Chapter One didn’t leave a great impression on me, but I thought it was sufficiently scary, and I feel mostly the same way about the second half. It was nice to recognize Freddy from Shazam as part of the kid cast—he better be careful or he’ll be typecast as the cripple kid!
I wouldn’t rule out returning to the Squire, but the journey there is killer. I’m reminded of the even longer trek to the Alamo Drafthouse in Yonkers. Both places are worth the trip for different reasons, but I don’t need to visit either one; I still have options closer to home. I just wanted to see the Squire for myself and know that Movieworld’s spirit lives on.
|The Squire Great Neck Cinemas|