By Richard I. Magat
May 2, 2012: "Happy Birthday Jenny" read the marquee above the Bronxville cinemas on Kraft Avenue, right across from the train station, last week.
Dozens of Bronxville children have had their names emblazoned there. That is a community relations effort, of course, but Clearview's Bronxville Cinemas is also one cog in a huge conglomerate.
The movie chain--47 houses including the famed Ziegfeld Theatre on Broadway--is part of Cablevision, which paid $160 million to acquire it in 1994. The theaters, which feature 243 screens, are located in Westchester and Rockland counties, Long Island, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
The Bronxville theater opened in the 1930s with a single screen. United Artists bought it in the mid-1980s and converted it to a triplex. "The Happy Birthday messages are a huge crowd-pleaser," said Kal Aridi, the theater manager. Since he took the job five years ago, the most popular movies he has screened there have been Slumdog Millionaire and Sex and the City.
The theater also offers private birthday parties and free summer movies. Selections include Zookeeper, Kung Fu Panda, Mr. Popper's Penguins, and Puss in Boots. As are other theaters in the chain, the Bronxville theaters are being converted to digital cinema. This will enable them to show live 2-D and 3-D sporting events and concerts, shorts, and cartoons.
The theater attracts tens of thousands of people each year, according to Mr. Aridi, but he did not disclose exact figures. It pays $68,152 in village and school taxes.
The theater's auditoriums are sometimes filled to capacity. Recent shows that have gone over the top include The Descendants, The Help, The King's Speech, and Julie & Julia.
Patrons from Bronxville and surrounding areas express a variety of opinions. A woman from New Rochelle said she preferred Bronxville to other theaters "because it is small and has better movies." A Tuckahoe patron called it "a cute little theater that is very reminiscent of the Malverne Cinema from my youth." A visitor from New York City said he prefers the theater "because it appeals to an older crowd and couples so you don't get crying babies and people talking on their cell phones with no regard for anyone else."
A Mount Vernon customer said, "I'm here because my lady told me to, and I pay her attention." Ditto a Yonkers patron, who said, "we love Bronxville, though in winter we rent movies and stay a home." A New Rochelle customer pointed to convenience on the train line.
Few Bronxville patrons said they rent movies. In fact, local stores that rent movies across the country are an endangered species, and none is left in Bronxville or Rockland County. However, other sources remain--kiosks, mail subscriptions, video on demand, and online streaming libraries.
Of course, things may vary, but a Scarsdale patron said, "the staff is always very friendly. The concession is always clean. Popcorn is so-so. The temperature inside the theater is perfect--a pet peeve of mine. I hate freezing cold theaters."
One moviegoer gave the Bronxville cinemas four stars but said that "the screens are undersized for the auditoriums so that I would hesitate to use the place to see a big action movie."
Although ticket prices have risen inexorably--$11.25 general admission, seniors $9.00, and children $8.50--admission on Tuesdays is free with an Optimum rewards card.
Pictured here: Clearview's Bronxville Cinemas on Kraft Avenue.
Photo by A. Warner
The Bronxville Public Library traces its origins back to 1875, when it was a small lending library housed in a room attached to the “Bronxville Model School.” The Library was officially chartered in 1906 and moved into the Village Hall Building. The needs of the library grew with the town and, in 1942, a new standalone building was erected, which is where the Library is today. Over the years, the Library was renovated and expanded to meet the needs of the community.
The Library has wonderful resources for adults and children and offers a comfortable and relaxing environment. The Library also houses a fine art collection, consisting principally of Bronxville painters and sculptors.
The Library offers special events, art exhibitions, and programs for adults, young adults and children. All events are open to the public, unless otherwise indicated.
The Bronxville Public Library
201 Pondfield Road (Midland Avenue & Pondfield Road)
Concordia Conservatory, a preeminent center for music education in Westchester County, is a welcoming community where children and adults find lifelong inspiration and joy through learning, performing, listening to, and participating with others in music. Concordia Conservatory, a community outreach division of Concordia College, offers top quality music programs for early childhood, youth, adults and seniors. The Conservatory's vision is to enrich the lives of the people in our community through music.
Executive Director: Kathleen Suss
Concordia Conservatory of Music & Art
171 White Plains Rd
99B Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York 10708
117 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York 10708