Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray and Councilman Gary Hudes led several hundred angry residents at a rally on Saturday, December 17th to shout their disapproval for a proposal to sell alcoholic beverages at the AMC Theatres Nassau Metroplex 10 (commonly known as Loews Theatres) in Levittown.
Earlier in the week, Murray and Hudes outlined their disdain for the plan in a letter sent on December 12th to the chairman of the New York State Liquor Authority. Murray and Hudes called on the state Liquor Authority to deny the AMC’s application to sell booze in addition to the traditional cinema fare of popcorn, soda and candy.
“If movies booze, families lose,” Murray said. “The safety of our children is at stake. The sale of alcoholic beverages in a wholesome neighborhood cinema is an outrageous idea.
In addition to the rally, Murray and Hudes encouraged residents to submit letters to the Liquor Authority in opposition to the plan to sell booze at the movie theatre. Objection form letters were distributed at the rally. For those who were unable to attend the rally, the letters are available in printable and e-mail format on the town website.
“Join us in our fight to keep this popular movie theatre booze-free,” Hudes said. “Otherwise, the coming attractions will show alcohol and trouble.”
The sale of beer, wine and liquor at the Loews Theatres, located just west of the Nassau Mall at 3585 Hempstead Turnpike in Levittown, generates a host of concerns for patrons and neighbors, especially children in the community. Parents who drop off youngsters to enjoy wholesome entertainment have legitimate concerns about exposing their unsupervised children to drunken adults.
Additionally, the mix of ten separate theatres and several hundred people in dark rooms combined with the consumption of alcohol is an invitation for mischief, underage drinking, vandalism and violence. Finally, the theatre’s location in a tremendously busy and chaotic parking lot that serves the cinema and surrounding stores makes this an especially bad location for the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages.
In response to the criticism, AMC invited Murray and Hudes to meet with representatives of the company to discuss the plan. Murray and Hudes will instead call on the movie-theatre company to withdraw its application for a liquor license until it meets with the community to consider the concerns, views and priorities of neighbors.
“AMC should have met with the community in the first place, before it put in for a liquor license,” Murray said. “It would have been the proper and respectful thing to do as a member of the community.”