Residents are fighting to have their voices heard after learning that a Douglaston movie theater may soon hold its final picture show to make way for a big-box home improvement retailer.
A petition to save Movieworld Douglaston within the Douglaston Plaza shopping center has been circulating after news emerged that the family-owned business and the adjacent Macy’s department store may need to leave some time this year to make way for a Lowe’s Home Improvement store.
“This theater has been around since 1983 and is one of the last family-friendly and most affordable theaters in New York City,” the petition reads. “We want to keep it running for our community.”
With Macy’s slated to close within the next few months, Lowe’s is looking to take over that storefront, along with the MovieWorld space, to open up a new location, as indicated by a work application filed with the Department of Buildings (DOB). The application, which estimates the total cost of work at just over $7 million, is listed as disapproved.
Well known for its low movie ticket prices and as an affordable destination for birthday parties and school field trips, many petition supporters say Movieworld’s departure would present a loss to the community.
“One of the reasons we moved to Douglaston was because of the small town feel,” petition supporter Denise Racan wrote. “Douglaston Movieworld is a part of that. It would be horrible to close it down!”
The petition was posted about a week ago with a goal of 1,000 signatures. It has attracted 626 supporters.
“MovieWorld is a vibrant, family-friendly, and positive alternative to overpriced theaters in Queens,” supporter Katina Manko said. “Please help it stay as part of our neighborhood.”
Russell Levinson, general manager of MovieWorld, explained that though they would like to stay at the location, the landlord does have the option to buy out the lease. Depending on DOB approval and the landlord’s decision regarding the lease, Levinson said the movie theater could still remain at the location for another eight to 12 months.
The signed petition is slated to be sent to Councilman Barry Grodenchik, Congressman Tom Suozzi and Senator Charles Schumer, who each represent the area.
Douglaston Plaza is located at 242-02 61st Ave., at the intersection of the Long Island Expressway and the Cross Island Parkway.
QNS has reached out to Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation (AAC), landlord of Douglaston Plaza shopping center, for comment.