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Flooded Long Beach Cinemas to reopen

Long Beach Cinemas, a key part of downtown

Long Beach Cinemas, a key part of downtown business that has been closed since it was flooded in the Oct. 29 storm, “will definitely reopen,” it's owner says. (Nov. 28, 2012) Credit: J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Long Beach Cinemas, ravaged by superstorm Sandy, will reopen, though when is unclear, the owner said Wednesday.

The seaside city's only movie theater is also a linchpin of one of two commercial districts. It's located at the busy intersection of East Park Avenue and Long Beach Road.

Owners of some nearby restaurants had expressed concerns that the four-screen theater would remain closed. They recalled how it was shuttered for six weeks in 2011 before a community outcry led the owner to reopen.

"We will definitely reopen," said Seth Pilevsky, managing director of Philips International, the Manhattan-based real estate company that purchased the movie house around 2000.

"We're working with our insurance company," he said. "I cannot tell you the timing of the opening, because I don't know yet. But we intend to reopen."

Pilevsky, a Nassau County resident, said Long Beach Cinemas was flooded with two feet of water and the roof was damaged during the Oct. 29 storm. He said high-definition and 3-D projectors were destroyed, along with carpets, screens and other equipment.

"It looks like nothing is salvageable," Pilevsky said in an interview.

Long Beach officials are happy the movie house will continue. "It's a very important piece of a vibrant, thriving downtown -- to have a theater where folks can come as a gathering place -- and it supports our restaurants," said city manager Jack Schnirman.

Without Long Beach Cinemas, city residents would have to travel to Rockville Centre, Valley Stream, Lynbrook or Baldwin for the latest flicks.

Long Beach was once home to multiple lavish movie palaces.

Philips International remodeled and expanded the old Lido Theater by demolishing an adjacent store. The renamed Long Beach Cinemas got another face-lift last year after a brief closure. That event had led residents to deluge Philips with telephone calls, email messages and personal pleas to Pilevsky to save the theater.

At the time, Pilevsky told Newsday he stopped showing movies because a deal to sell the property to a national retailing chain appeared imminent. Pilevsky also said the theater was profitable.

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