Squire Cinemas in Great Neck permanently closes

Squire Cinemas in Great Neck has permanently closed its doors to the public after 85 years. (Photo by Robert Pelaez)

After 85 years of serving Great Neck, Squire Cinemas on Middle Neck Road has permanently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The theater’s marquee now reads “CLOSED” with “1935 2020” directly below, indicating how long the theater was in operation.

“We are closing due to the pandemic. With no revenue for 6 months, and our rent and utilities piling up, there is no way to continue,” the Squire wrote, according to a Patch.com article.

Efforts to reach a representative from Squire Cinemas or MovieWorld, the theater’s ownership group, for comment were unavailing. 

While the coronavirus pandemic led to the Squire’s shuttering, during the crisis the theater hosted online movie screenings and donated popcorn to people who worked at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset.

“It is a shocking sight to see the last movie theater in town close their doors after 85 years in the community,” Great Neck Business Improvement District Vice President Jay Corn said. “The challenge now is going to be what fills this vacuum.”

The Squire had partnered with the Gold Coast Arts Center for sneak previews of independent and foreign films and Q & A sessions with filmmakers throughout the years.

Regina Gil, founder and executive director for the Gold Coast Arts Center told Newsday “it is a dark time for film presenters.”

“It just couldn’t survive the ravages of the pandemic,” Gil said. “It is a huge loss to the downtown, to the community, and to us at the Gold Coast Film Festival.”

The Squire was converted into a triplex in the early 1980s, according to the CinemaTreasures website.  The theater had seven screens by 1998 when it was acquired by Clearview Cinemas.

After ownership was transferred to Bow Tie Cinemas, the Douglaston-based company MovieWorld gained ownership of the theater last year on April 1.

The Squire is the latest local movie theaters on the North Shore to close. Bow Tie Cinema in Port Washington closed two years ago due to poor attendance and low revenues.

Local theaters and entertainment venues still in business on the North Shore include Gold Coast, Roslyn Cinema, My Father’s Place, Manhasset Cinemas, Bow Tie Herricks Cinemas and Soundview Cinemas.

Movie theaters throughout Long Island have yet to reopen their doors to the public due to the pandemic.

“Movie theaters, I think, are next [to reopen],” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in late August. “They’re congregate. They have a centralized ventilation system. People by definition are not moving around. You’re in close proximity to another person for a prolonged period of time.”



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