MAMARONECK, N.Y. – Vincent Jewelers and Sarlin Opticians will be torn down with the Mamaroneck Playhouse after the building owner, Bow Tie Cinemas, decided to close the theater Sunday.
Phil Silder, who owns Vincent Jewelers with his brother Paul, had already planned to retire and shut down the shop after 45 years. However, Sarlin Opticians had no plans of closing and now plans to move down the street to 323 Mamaroneck Ave. when Bow Tie gets its demolition permit. Both stores are in the same building as the theater.
Village of Mamaroneck Mayor Norma Rosenblum said Bow Tie won’t be able to get the permit overnight, but that it has the right to do what it wants with the building.
“It’s so intertwined in the history of the village that it’s just a shame,” he said of the storied playhouse, which opened in 1924.
Bow Tie bought the Mamaroneck Playhouse, along with 40 other theaters owned by Cablevision, in 2013 and said at the time they would upgrade them with stadium-style seats and digital projectors.
The company, which said it didn't make financial sense to continue operating, plans to preserve the façade, including the marque.
Rosenblum said Bow Tie officials told him it doesn't plan to sell the property because it has a real estate division. It is expected to make a proposal to the village Planning Board sometime in June.
Rosenblum said he hopes Bow Tie doesn’t demolish it too soon because he doesn’t want “a whole in the ground for a year, year-and-a-half.”
The blank theater marque and empty “Coming Soon” poster frames drew curious glares from many residents passing the Mamaroneck Avenue theater Tuesday.
“I definitely am surprised,” said Adam Avila, a White Plains resident who frequents Mamaroneck Avenue. “It looks like it’s been here for a while. I was just walking by now and I realized.”
When the Mamaroneck Playhouse opened it had one screen with a large stage, a piano and balcony.
“I remember going there as a kid and how cool the theater was inside because it was an old vaudeville house,” Silder, of Mamaroneck, said.
Rosenblum, 71, first went to the theater at age 6, when a quarter would buy a ticket for two movies, plus cartoons and you could "eat like a king" with $1.
He added that smaller theaters seem to be going out of style.
"I definitely see that happening a lot more," Avila said. "I don’t personally think it’s a terrible thing. But, it definitely is when you come by a place like this when you see what it’s doing to them."