Sag Harbor Cinema offers tours as it prepares to reopen after fire | Newsday

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Executive Director Jamie Hook talked about the renovation of the historic Sag Harbor Cinema. Credit: Gordon Grant

On a recent working day, I returned to Sag Harbor for a brief period of normal life. Several people sat in luxurious theater seats to watch George Clooney and Sandra Bullock repair satellites in space. After about five minutes of editing Alfonso Cuarón's "Gravity", there was a burst of applause. Jackie Dunphy, a real estate agent in East Hampton, smiled as he walked out of the auditorium with friends.

"Isn't that great?" said Dunfee, 66, "it really makes you aware of what you lack."

The short film introduction is part of a peek at the new Sag Harbor Cinema, the landmark of the Eastern District that was burnt down in 2016. Currently receiving refurbishment projects from private donors and national economic development grants, the cinema hopes to reopen on December 16, and it has burned its fourth anniversary. With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging, this date is uncertain. At the same time, Sag Harbour Cinema welcomes small groups to visit the beautifully decorated hotel for free. (The cinema said it has installed COVID-compliant air filters and is taking other protective measures.)

Jamie Hook, executive director of the cinema and part-time tour guide, said: “The idea came about because no one really knew what happened behind the front facade of the building’s Willie Wonka.” He said that the first few tours in October were very popular, so the cinema decided to continue. Hawke said: "Before we open up, I think this is a good way to build people's interest in what's happening here."

The Sag Harbor Cinema is located on the street near Washington Avenue and opened in 1936. The cinema was designed by the European-born architect John Eberson. It is known for its "atmospheric" cinema palace and has long been known for its elegant art deco neon lights. Sign. The former owner of the building, Gerald Mallow, cancelled the original sign in 2004, but agreed to display a copy built with donated funds. The replica survived the 2016 fire, thanks to the local business owner who rescued it from the bulldozer; it is now back where it should be on the facade of the cinema.

As Hook's recent tour shows, although the theater looks the same from the outside, it is almost invisible from the inside. The dim lobby is now a bright space with white walls, glass jars filled with candies and shiny new Nespresso coffee machines. Below the lobby is another concession area marked "BILLY JOEL'S POPCORN STAND", which is a tribute to the generous donation of the iconic Long Island Rock.

The cinema used to be a single-screen theater, and now has three auditoriums. The largest has 240 seats, a classic arched backrest, velvet red fabric and wooden armrests. (The decorative metal plate on the side of the aisle seat is the original, rescued from the fire.) This was chosen by the Hooker Theater to shield the editing of "gravity" because it has the most advanced Dolby Atmos (Dolby Atmos) sound system.

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The second medium-sized auditorium can hold 100 seats and is equipped with digital and 35mm film projectors, which Hook said will allow the cinema to show more obscure films. Hook said that the third and smallest theater has 40 seats and is a good choice for customers who want to rent a private "pod" screening room with friends or family.

He said: "In the post-COVID era, no one knows what will happen."

Almost all of the third floor of the cinema is used for communal spaces: two outdoor terraces, a large function room, and best of all, a full bar. Hawke said: "I do think this is a natural part of the filming experience."

Dunphy, the real estate agent who participated in the most recent tour, said that she would miss the "decay" of the old theater, which she likened to Miss Harvesham's "great expectations" at Charles Dickens. In the bad house. But she also welcomes the idea of ​​building an art cinema nearby. She said: "It's not only about Sag Harbor." "It's about all of us in the East Side."

The tour of the Sag Harbor Cinema at 90 Main St. takes place at 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Friday at 5 pm and 6 pm; Sunday at 2 pm and 3 pm The tour group is limited to groups of 10 people and lasts one hour. Free admission. No pets or service animals are allowed. It is required to wear a mask and to keep a distance from society. Call 631-725-0010 or visit

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