Hempstead Town Notebook: Liquor License Update

A weekly look-in at news from around the Town of Hempstead.

Town Holds Rally at Levittown Movie Theater

Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray and Councilman Gary Hudes gathered with Levittown residents on Saturday outside of the AMC Loews Nassau Metroplex 10 to the liquor license application from the national theater chain.

Murrary and Hudes called the concept "outrageous" and referenced the "safety of our children" as a major concern. However, AMC sees the situation differently.

"We understand officials in Hempstead sent a letter to residents about our interest in a liquor license for the AMC Loews Nassau Metroplex 10, but the letter voicing concern was never addressed with AMC directly," AMC Vice President of Film Marketing and Communications Sun Dee Larson told Patch earlier this week. "Our intention is always to work with local officials to hear and address any concerns. We reached out last week to begin those discussions and our calls have not been returned.

Larson added: "We are confident when residents and members of the municipality fully understand the nature of our new concept and signature menu – which encompasses a much broader upgrade to the food and beverage offerings at this location – we believe the concerns will subside."

Residents can fill out a letter addressed to the New York State Liquor Authority (NYSLA) on the Town of Hempstead website. The letter is a plea to NYSLA Chairman Dennis Rosen to deny the license. The letter states:

... 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.

Pat W. December 25, 2011 at 12:08 PM
AMC has opened "Dine in Theaters" in other places in the country, including Walt Disney World in Florida. The theaters are nicely renovated to include a dining counter in front of each seat. There is waiter/waitress service to take your food order from a menu that is much more extensive than popcorn and hot dogs. Your meal is delivered right to your seat/table. Supervisor Murray, Councilman Hudes, and anyone protesting should educate themselves about AMC's plan, and if there have been any problems at their other locations, before creating a public outcry against something that could be beneficial to the community.
Robert Demarco December 25, 2011 at 02:15 PM
The concept is a change from the typical movie therater model. It brings renovation to the theater, and perhaps more business. Murray has this 1950's mentality that things should not change. She and Hudes should have endeavored to understand the concept before criticizing it.
Chris Wendt December 25, 2011 at 03:13 PM
Where are you coming from with that suggestion? I understand the concept in pretty much the same way that Kate Murray and Gary Hudes understand it. It is a bad concept. If "bringing more business to..." a theater, the beach, the park, the grocery store, or the public library were what liquor laws and zoning laws were all about, then we should sell booze anywhere, any time to any one. Thankfully, liquor laws and zoning laws are not all about bringing more business to...every place that wants more business.
Joseph Barbuto MBA December 25, 2011 at 04:26 PM
The business concept is a good idea. My concern is the execution of the idea. If you are going to have young 18yr old kids serving the liquor then the problem is that chances are they will serve their young friends. Yes, we do have to be concerned about helping businesses. Businesses are paying the bulk of the taxes. As the taxes keep going up so will the price of movie tickets until the cost of a movie ticket is so unreasonable that no one will go to the movies. I own a small 1700sq ft commercial building and we pay $24k a year in taxes. Can you imagine what the taxes are on a building the size of movie theatre? Did you ever wonder why there are no drive in theatres around in this part of the country? Businesses must constantly innovate revenue streams or perish.
Lloyd December 25, 2011 at 07:15 PM
Let them serve liquor as the Broadway theatres, Radio City, and Westbury do.....as do bowling alleys and sports arenas. Ya gotta be fair about this. But on the other hand, the laws have to lighten up regarding smoking.......which I view as a much less dangerous vice.
Chris Wendt December 25, 2011 at 08:56 PM
Re Joseph Barbuto MBA's assertion that " Businesses are paying the bulk of the taxes"... That statement is not factual. Information from the Nassau County Assessor's Office indicates that there are 200,204,646 parcels of Class I residential property and 10,670 parcels of commercial or industrial property in the County. Information from the NY State Office of Real Property Services indicates that in 2010 the assessed value of taxable residential property in Nassau was $209.3 Million. For the same period, the assessed value of all taxable commercial property was only $105.9 Million. The relative taxable value of residential property is nearly double the taxable value of "business" property. The concept of relaxing our liquor and zoning laws simply to promote (more) business (for existing business owners), taken to its logical conclusion, would see many Nassau businesses, the general business climate in Nassau, become what has been described in one hotly contested zoning appeal, "LAS VEGAS-STYLE". Las Vegas is in Nevada, where drinking, gambling and prostitution are all legal and lawful. Nassau County does not need the "Las Vegas Style" taking root here, in order for business to grow.
Mac December 25, 2011 at 09:00 PM
Chris it is your opinion that is is a "bad concept". However AMC has proved it to be a beneficial concept to both the theaters and customers in other areas. We should'nt sell booze anywhere your sarcasm is a bit over the top. If the alcohol os served within the limits of the law and it is controlled it shouldnt be a problem. I think kids have a better chance of getting alcohol at a place like Chili's, asking an adult in front of 7-Eleven or from their parent's fridge than at a movie theater. Chris are you against selling alcohol at the bowling alley, Citifield, Yankee Stadium, Nassau Colseum, Dave and Busters or anywhere children or adults mix or just the movie theater? Joseph Barbiuto do you know the age for serving alcohol? Because it is different from selling I believe. It is just too easy for people to say no. Let Kate and Gary vote it down then have ANC leave Levittown also. It is exactly what we can use here. We will just add it to another huge piece of empty real estate on the Turnpike. How about the politicians look for a way to make this work for everyone instead of trying to shoot it down.
ADNK December 25, 2011 at 09:27 PM
If this change were to come with a more sophisticated choice of movies (say, an occasional "Art House" flick ) I say kudos.
Concerned Levittowner December 25, 2011 at 09:41 PM
I agree with a more dinner theatre atmosphere where there are sophiticated movies would perhaps make it more acceptable, where a responsible, mature audience will attend for the movie not the fact that the can drink. if you want to drink and watch movies stay home, the reason the movie industry is failing is of their own accord, why pay $12 to sit in a room where people are rude and inconsiderate when you can stay in the comfort of your own home with a movie, if someone wnats to chat they do it outside of the movie area. You already have those giant TV's, a movie surround sounds and movies for a lot less than what you are charged as a theatre. Does AMC really think people stopped going to the movies becasue there's no liquer?? Are they afraid to improve their theatres wothout the promise of people going to them by enticing them with alcohol, It's just another sign of gree, be innovative, think outsid ethe box and come up with something of mmore interest to attract people, we can do it without alcohol!
Mac December 25, 2011 at 11:41 PM
Concerned Levittowner who said it is ok to drink and drive? If I choose to have a drink or two watching a movie while being there for 2 hours then driving home is it a difference than going to Porto Fino having dinner and 2 glasses of wine in an hour and driving home? Nobody should "snark down a load of liquor" then drive home regardless of where they are. Then nobody KNOWS how to drink and drive in any circumstance. IsAMC innovative or an old relationship? Cant be both. I do believe it is a different way of thinking if there would be waiter service, a higher quality of food and within the legal limits of the law. there is no reason it couldnt work. Why is it anyone who is against it reminds us that people get drunk and obnoxious. There is a whole group of people who do drink responsibly and have designated drivers. Then you mention a disney movie and drinking well a responsible adult shouldnt be drinking at the movies with their child. But if an adult is irresponsible it doesnt matter where that person drinks. I think the point with the comparison to Disney is that the big sticking point is why have alcohol served where children will be. If it can work in Disney why couldnt it work here?
Jon L. December 26, 2011 at 02:39 AM
Concerned Levittowner: For starters, If your post is indicative of your knowledge I would be careful about telling others that they are "so out of knowledge it's embarrasiing". The only fair comparison of Disney World to Levittown is that the people that run both places still believe in fairy tales.
Jon L. December 26, 2011 at 02:43 AM
Using the logic in these posts, alcohol should be sold nowhere in the Town of Hempstead because it might get in the hands of children. So rather than make the debate about responsibility of sellers and consumers of any age restricted product or parenting let's attack and vilify the business looking to revitalize a dying business model by infusing the age old concept of dinner and a movie under one roof. It is time to cut the nonsense with the Nanny State here in the Town of Hempstead. At some point personal responsibility and active parenting have to move to the front seat. The argument about 'our children' getting their hands on alcohol is silly. There are 50 million other ways for 'our children' to get their hands on alcohol so they better shut down all of those operations as well. There is NO SUBSTITUTE for good parenting. It is becoming apparent to me that the Supervisor and Mr. Hudes would be all for the reinstatement of the 18th Amendment to 'protect the children.' All of the problems with our children are linked to alcohol and drugs, it has nothing to do with bad parenting. It is an odd comparison but this is why abstinence only education has been a failure. By hiding the truth and not educating our kids about good decision making you make the problem worse. Now I'm not saying that we need to slug down shots with our 14 year olds but sweeping the problem under the rug only makes it worse. (I know I'm going to get flamed for this one)
Jon L. December 26, 2011 at 02:45 AM
Again the Town acting as the nanny of the children does not want something new and innovative. I think that it would be a neat concept but again because the placards were already printed and the politicians are more concerned about shaping public opinion than hearing what the opinions of constituents, it does not stand a chance. Maybe one of the elected officials leading this charge should give parenting a child of their own a whirl, then tell me how to be a parent to my kids. (again flames coming)
Lloyd December 26, 2011 at 02:55 AM
To Chris W. Prostitution is NOT legal in Las Vegas or in most of Nevada. It is in a few outlying rural counties. And theres plenty of "legal and illegal gambling going on here in Nassau Co....from Church and Temple bazaars and BINGO, to Belmont Race Track, and to your friendly football and basketball pools in your office. Prostitution. Plenty of that right here on the streets and on Craigs List. So why deny a liquor license to a movie theatre? Dont be a hypocrite.
Lloyd December 26, 2011 at 03:08 AM
Just checked it out on the Internet... For those who equate serving liquor in a movie theatre to legal prostitution in Nevada, here are the facts.....Prostitution is not legal in Las Vegas, Reno, Carson City, and LaKe Tahoe. It is not outlawed in some outlying rural counties. And if it does come to Long Island, many of you guys will be first in line.
Pat W. December 26, 2011 at 03:15 AM
As I seem to have been the only poster who mentions Disney World, may I state I never compared it to Levittown. But if a major resort that deals with millions of children finds the Dine-In Theater concept works in their family oriented environment, I wonder why it would not work elsewhere. My first question would be have any of their other locations experienced problems with drunken behavior and alcohol being served to minors. If other locations have had serious issues, then I would certainly agree the concept has no place in Levittown or anywhere else.
Bengaye December 26, 2011 at 03:22 AM
I think booze and a movie is a splendid idea. If the concept is working in other areas of the country then Nassau County shouldn't be excluded from this new movie plan. This dead pan attitude by the Queen of the town and the inept Gary Hudes is just a grandstanding technique divised by these two wind bag politicians. After all the politicans don't tell you that they will create a new tax and will use this as another source of revenue. So its political folly from these two characters here in the town.
Mr Dunes December 26, 2011 at 06:33 AM
I completely agree with you. Especially considering we live within a vineyard industry and have yet to see a Council member petition for the recall of liquor licenses from restaurants, concert halls, and arenas. I have witnessed countless amounts of closing Movie Theaters, and unemployed neighbors. Government should be promoting job growth, and not oppressing it like it did with the Lighthouse Project. I'm so SICK of Kate Murray and her connection with the conflated Animal Shelter NIMBY's, and her disconnection from REAL ISSUES!
icarumba December 26, 2011 at 02:29 PM
Lloyd-at first i was against the idea of alcohol sales in movie theatres.now i have changed my mind. as long as the laws are followed,id's checked,etc there shouldn't be a problem. Again we have far more important things to worry about. While Hudes,Murray et al keep grandstanding and playing phony political games, the rest of the state- and the country -continues to pass us by economically. While Mangano offers to lay off county employees by offering $1K a year for every year worked,and threatening to close 2 police precincts, the quality of life continues to deteriorate. Find me a school where kids arent exposed to drugs. Look at the rockaways-its only a matter of time before the skyrocketing crime there spills over into the five towns. Prostitution has been around for thousands of years. Every attempt to clean it up drives it underground, to craigslist,etc. maybe its time to legalize and tax it. I just hope that people wake up and demand change- or nassau county will continue to be know as "nausea county" or "nauseous county". yuk.
Bill Sweeney December 26, 2011 at 03:07 PM
This is typical governmental nonsense. Give me a break. It's like you can't gamble...unless Indians own the casino, or the state runs lotto or horse racing. Oh, ok. Is the TGIFriday's unsafe for kids? Is the child's house unsafe if there's a six-pack of Bud in the fridge? Do you think Loew's would allow people to do tequila shots with whiskey chasers there? Have you been to the Christmas Spectacular in Rock Center...yep, it's pretty nice an there are one or two kids there...oh, and they server alcohol. Oh my. Let's get over ourselves with these dilutions and incoherent laws. Let people act like adults and let businesses take care of themselves. Loew's would be the first to police and crack down. They are not Coyote Ugly, there a chain of family friendly movie theaters. The government and whiny people do not know best.
Chris Wendt December 26, 2011 at 03:52 PM
Watching (reading) this thread as it unfolds is better than watching some movies. As the drama builds, so does the interest. Only, like really old movies, the dialogue is all too predictable. Some of my own 'lines' included! We got trouble brewing right here in River City: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s60hOgqLFGg
Cypher December 26, 2011 at 04:34 PM
Come On folks! This is Levittown. They need their liquor. Have you seen a sober Levittown trash??? ARGH!
Anonymous December 27, 2011 at 10:02 PM
Respectfully you don't understand the concept. If you did you would realize that the application for a liquor license is a non-issue. The concept is not to create a traditional theatre that caters to families. What AMC is considering is putting in a Fork and Screen theatre. It's just like Applebee's or Chili's except they show movies. If Applebee's or Chili's were opening a new restaurant there certainly wouldn't be any public outcry about the application for a liquor license. I don't see why there should be one for this situation. It's different if they are trying to sell liquor out of the concession stand vs a sit down dining environment. If Applebee's couldn't get a liquor license they certainly wouldn't open and this is the same scenario. These new theatres do not necessarily cater to families but even if they did it is no different from any chain restaurant. Applying for the liquor license is the first step to even determine if it's viable to do a renovation. The local officials should have understood what the concept was before speaking out publicly against it. They will simply end up looking foolish in the end after they realize what the concept is.
An tUasal Airgead December 27, 2011 at 11:30 PM
S4772-2011: Authorizes motion picture theatres to serve alcoholic beverages http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S4772-2011 A new state law will allow moviegoers to bring alcohol to their seats at motion picture houses that have licensed restaurants on premise and have tables at each theater seat. Since the repeal of Prohibition, the state of New York has permitted drinks to be served in all theaters except those showing films. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/26/alcohol-at-the-movie-thea_n_980954.html
Lloyd December 28, 2011 at 05:15 PM
Oy! I cant take all this hypocracy and over regulation Drinking, gambling, prostitution, etc. The government has it hand in regulating it all...where, when, and how. Enough already. Havent we had enough of government incompetentcy, inefficiency, waste, and corruption from the MTA, Port Authority, Nassau Downs, NYRA, Atlantic Beach Bridge Authority, et al. Let the public decide on expansion of vice and elimination of all the wasteful semi public agencies which act like personal fiefdoms for well connected politicians.
Brendan December 28, 2011 at 07:09 PM
Prostitution gets put underground, then when someone starts offing the nice ladies, we have to put out an overtime buffet at Gilgo Beach for every cop in the universe and restock it 100 times to get nowhere with the investigation. We get the bill for all of it and we get NONE of the revenue. I'm with you, legalize the oldest profession in the world.


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