Theater! What Movie Theater?
December 21, 2001
A little over four years ago I was fresh with enthusiasm. I had worked
hard to get the "Glacken Team" elected and was looking forward
to leadership that would finally bring about Freeportís long overdue
revitalization. At last, I thought, Freeport had an open-minded,
well-intended and honorable administration with an ear to the needs of the
community and awareness of its unique assets and diversification.
Based on that assumption, I immediately sought to take advantage of a
longtime working relationship I had with a respected and experienced
architect, who had expertise in the development of small neighborhood
movie theaters. I was familiar with his successful theaters in nearby
communities, such as the one on Bedford Avenue in Bellmore and their many
positive attributes. After finally convincing him to consider Freeport for
a theater location, I promptly arranged for us to have a meeting with the
newly elected Mayor Glacken. I enthusiastically offered my help, assuming
that the Mayor would welcome my input.
The meeting was held shortly thereafter with the Mayor, the architect
and me. It was a relatively long meeting, as these meetings go, and the
architect proceeded to describe his concept of the theater he had in mind.
I recalled that the cardinal rule in business is "location, location,
location" and I was not surprised by his emphasis on location. He
suggested the Atlantic Avenue area as a viable option he would consider.
The Mayor had a much different plan in mind. He placed his emphasis on
locating a theater in the old Woolworth building or thereabouts, in the
rundown, downtown Main Street area. Both the Mayor and the architect
presented what seemed to be valid points, although the Mayorís plan
seemed reasonable only if the downtown area was to experience the
significant revitalization, as promised by the "Glacken Team" in
their campaign to be elected.
Several more meetings and discussions were held. For reasons that were
never explained, I was deliberately excluded from all other discussions.
Information about what transpired during those meetings painted a grim
picture of any reasonable prospect of getting a successful neighborhood
theater in Freeport. Confronted by an unreasonable and uncompromising
attitude on the part of the Mayor and other village parties, a golden
opportunity had been lost.
Four and a half years of the "Glacken Team" have since past.
The downtown area, with the exception of a few new lampposts, is no more
conducive or desirable to a movie theater or any other upscale retailer or
restaurant, for that matter. Freeportís downtown remains downtrodden and
Freeport still remains theater less.
Mayor Glacken has failed to recognize the value of a movie theater in
town and not acted in the best interest of the residents of Freeport. We
still have to travel to neighboring communities to see a movie and perhaps
get a bite to eat afterward. Where are we going for entertainment other
than a village board meeting? Not Freeport, thatís for sure.
Rather than act in the best interest of Freeport, Glacken failed to
recognize or even consider the good judgment and experience of others more
knowledgeable than he in determining a location for a theater.
Why would a small, neighborhood theater located on Atlantic Avenue have
been so terrible? All one needs do is ride down Atlantic Avenue. The
vacant stores, closed restaurants and empty warehouses are hard to miss. A
small, cozy neighborhood theater would have improved the area and would
have attracted residents from other communities to visit and patronize
Next time, the "Glacken Team" should think twice before
squandering such an opportunity and act in the best interest of the
residents of Freeport.