VIDEO: Town Rallies Against AMC Loews Liquor License; AMC Responds [UPDATE]

Levittown leaders cite concerns for underage drinking and exposure to young children.

A protest of the liquor license application from the AMC Loews Nassau Metroplex 10 was held by community members in front of the theater on Saturday.

Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray and Councilman Gary Hudes announced the rally in a letter sent to Levittown residents last week. Numerous community leaders spoke at the rally, calling the plan an invitation for underage drinking and saying that it will create situations unsuitable for children.

Opponents included the presidents of the Levittown and Island Trees school boards. Levittown president Mike Pappas, who spoke at the rally, told the crowd that the school board unanimously voted against the planned license through a resolution at their Dec. 14 meeting. Nassau County PBA president James Carver also spoke against the license.

Patch asked the AMC company for a response, and below is a response in its entirety from Vice President of Film Marketing and Communications Sun Dee Larson:

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. 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. 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.

An unofficial poll run by Patch on the issue last week sees residents split 55 percent to 45 percent against the license. To vote in the poll, go here.

Joemodeler December 19, 2011 at 01:01 PM
Should not the school board be more concerned about the amount drugs and alcohol use that they cannot not control under “our” own roof of “our” schools ? Most citizens are forced to enroll their kids at public schools because our government takes so much of our income that one cannot send their kids to school of their choice. Also one who sends their children to a school of their choice must still pay the public school tax so that family is charged twice. Further, government and the teacher's unions do everything in their power to allow no competition. To sum up if this theatre allows the consumption of alcohol by minors the outcome would be: a) people would no longer "chose" to frequent the theatre which would cause revenue to diminish and the goal of profit as well; b) the big hand of government would punish AMC for their behavior; c) through government laws the trial lawyers will sue the theatre when someone is injured or killed. Yet you have NO choice when it comes to public shools. It is harder to chose your government then it is to chose a private business that one has the choice to not frequent. Have I not seen this behavior at a higher level of another government of mine ?
Curt December 19, 2011 at 03:35 PM
Alcohol is served in lots of places where kids are present without a problem(Concerts, ballgames, restaurants, weddings, etc.) I really don't understand how this is a big deal. And it still doesn't stop underage kids from 'drinking in the dark'. It really isn't hard to sneak in some rum etc. And it doesn't stop the existance of drunk patrons. Many people go out for 'dinner and a movie'. With that dinner there are plenty who will drink including some that might over-do it. Maybe if Kate focused on creating jobs instead of false hysteria there would be a few less empty properties on the Turnpike.
Mac December 19, 2011 at 04:53 PM
I was out eating dinner Saturday night at Calda Pizza and had a glass of wine and others drank beer that was served. The table across from us were about ten or more unsupervised middle or high school kids. Should we close this establishment also? How are any Dave and Busters or bowling alleys allowed to operate? People arent going to the movies to drink but may have one if available. I honestly do not see what the big deal is about serving alcohol.
Tom LaSusa December 19, 2011 at 04:56 PM
I have to say I agree with Curt to a point. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I endorse the idea of the theater being allowed to serve liquor. But as he says, we can take our kids to number of outings where they are exposed to alcoholic beverages and drinking in one form or another. The smart thing to do is remain diligent in educating kids about taking responsibility and the dangers to themselves and others if they start drinking/smoking/doing drugs. A protest outside of the Lowes is all well and good, but sitting the kids down both at school and home seems like a far more valuable use of time. Best Tom LaSusa
Bronwyn December 19, 2011 at 05:15 PM
This is a waste of time. As an adult and parent, I see nothing wrong with granting the movie theatre a license to sell beer. Movie theatres are for people of all ages, not just children, and the owners should have the right to serve drinks to adults. Kate Murray should spend her time looking over the parks and playgrounds at night because that is where I see kids/teens drinking. Also, why are people from the school board there? Is there a school inside the theatre?
Curt December 19, 2011 at 07:16 PM
Kate Murray should take the fight to Jesus. He so carelessly turned water in to wine at a wedding. Where there children there? You betcha. And to this day many of his worshippers openly drink alcohol, going as far as to refer to it as Jesus' blood, in the presence of kids. This happens across Hempstead and often before noon on a Sunday! Have they no shame. Kate & Co. must shut down these booze parlors forthwith.
Mike December 19, 2011 at 07:22 PM
This is not a new concept. Other theaters ourside Nassau County have these dine and view configurations. I am not apart of AMC but I can only speculate that it would not be every showing and that you would have to be 21 or older to get in to these movies. When Mr Pappas said that the theater is a place for wholesome entertainment I have to laugh and think Hangover 1 & 2, Hot Tub Time machine and the hundreds of other movies that are inappropriate that kids should not be seeing. I can go to the local bowling center in Levittown and enjoy a beer and kids are all around me. Dave and Busters a place where kids are all the time serves beer etc and no one has a problem with dropping their kids off there... I wonder when all of these people such as Ms. Murry and Mr. Pappas will address the real issues of levittown such as the getto look it has with all of the closed buildings and the sale of beer and cigerettes to underage kids at an unnamed 7-11 near MacArthur. Everyone knows it goes on there but none has done anything about it. Why do you think these kids hang out there? They have it bought for them and they goto one of the local parks and drink. I have kids that see it go one but im not blind to the fact. If they deny the license they have contributed to another closing business in Levittown. Another empty building...
Mac December 19, 2011 at 07:27 PM
Mike you make way too much sense. But I guess it is part of Kate photop Murray's agenda to see Levittown as a wholesome place full of empty buildings. Why not stage a protest outside the old TSS/CALDOR/KMART building that has been an empty eyesore for years and try to get businesses here. But instead let's rally against a business in Levittown that has been here for as long as I can remember that wants to stay here and create additional revenue. Good job Kate keep your home town looking great!
James M. December 19, 2011 at 08:11 PM
Did anyone else notice that most of the protesters were over 65?
Tom LaSusa December 19, 2011 at 08:28 PM
That did seem a bit odd, James (saw that as well). Are you thinking the protest was 'padded?'
Street cop December 19, 2011 at 08:45 PM
Mike, Hangover 1 & 2 were rated R, no one under 17 admitted w/o an adult. But Toy Story 3- Rated G where I dropped my kids off- unsupervised, not expecting alcohol being sold. There are enough problems w/o alcohol, as the N.C. PBA Pres. Jim Carver said. He represents 4000- cops and has been a cop for 25 years and says this is a going to be a problem, I would tend to agree. When serious drinking related incidents occur, you will be the same ones who say " Who let this happen".I agree with the 200 people and speakers. That's my opinion. I'm also a P.O. A buddy of mine is a P.O in NJ where a theater sells alcohol. The place is now a headache. 2 theaters in Bklyn have applied. That's trouble. There's no legal way to enforce underage drinking in a movie. You cant walk up and down the aisles with a flashlight searching cups. Once consumed, there is no public intox law in NY, only public possession of open alcoholic containers in NY, but its okay if it occurs in a licensed premise. (if your 21) So what's a cop have to do? Stop everybody who looks like they are < 21 to smell the red cup for alcohol. If they're 21, say you're sorry. If they switched cups, do you ask to smell it? Cops don’t patrol inside theaters. There’s no legal /practical way to police the consumption. You could use undercover, police cadets to monitor the sale to minors, but you can’t see exchanges in a darkened theater. This is a recipe for trouble we don't need. My opinion only of course.
Jeaneen Vitello Ragusa December 19, 2011 at 09:10 PM
Im with Bronwyn on this one! Kate Murray should be worried about the bigger problems in our area and in our schools. The drinking, drug use and drug sales are going on right outside the theatre doors. If the alcohol at the movies is handled like all other responsible establishments then there shouldnt be a problem. There is a bar in the bowling alley right across the turnpike. Whats the difference?
Joemodeler December 19, 2011 at 09:38 PM
Search "AMC" in Patch to find other articles with comments with regard to the same subject and see all of the other venues cited that entail entertainment that involves it being dark or semi-dark. Either way the kids are drinking at these events, in the woods, basements, backyards and cars. Search the Internet and you will find discussions of other states that allow theaters to sell alcohol within its theaters. The types of theaters sound wonderful. Similar situation: Drugs are sold right out in the open. We have spent over a trillion dollars fighting drugs and drug use has not gone down. In fact the fight has caused many innocent victims to be robbed and killed. Slowly control freak people, NY liberal politicians (Republican (social conservatives) and Democrats), MADD and with the assistant of the police unions are trying to control alcohol. The more money the police get to fight the new fight are they going to say this is not winnable ? No. The madness has to stop. There are laws. If the theater is caught with minors drinking there are laws or lawyers to punish them. We and businesses are losing our freedoms. Enough of the nanny state.
Vinny G December 20, 2011 at 02:46 AM
There were about 30 people there. The politicians, the Board of Ed (and their children/friends) and senior citizens. A failed attempt by Kate & company. Let her know that Mickey Mouse and his friends parade down main street at Disney and adult beverages are permitted there. Salute!
Nunya December 20, 2011 at 02:47 PM
I believe that this was a crusade for some politicians personal agenda... is there a vote coming up?  There were only about thirty people who showed up at the event, one being my daughter. She was told that she had to be there as a member of SADD by Kate Murray. I had a very long conversation with her as I felt that this was uncalled for and not appropriate to rally about, however it seems as though she was brainwashed at the school. I am not a drinker, nor do I care to be around drinking - although I feel that it is perfectly fine for them to host beer at their establishment. As a father, the only concern I would have are the issues that 'may' occur with adults over drinking; and/or deviants lurking around... but that again could happen anywhere. Kids are going to do whatever kids are going to do regardless... I trust my kids to know right from wrong, if they do something wrong -- then they will pay the price and be punished for it. The Loews is a private business, one to which Kate and crew have NO say to what they sell or serve within. I'm sure (knowing the theater)  that they were utilizing this new direction in order to increase business and not have to shut down, as this theater is dead on a constant basis.
Nunya December 20, 2011 at 02:48 PM
I believe that it is disgusting that Kate and crew blatantly ignored efforts by AMC to discuss the concerns had by the community... simply because again, she has her own agenda. Meanwhile, I believe someone above said it best concerning the fact that Levittown has begun to look like a dump with all the empty and abandoned looking buildings. Rather than building on our community, why would they look to scrutinize a local business for attempting to do something perfectly legal. If they pursue a eat, drink, play environment... people will travel to Levittown to visit this location spending not only money there, but increasing revenue at many of the other local business in the area. It was distasteful to involve the schools in this crusade without informing the children about all the pertinant facts.
Nunya December 20, 2011 at 02:48 PM
As for the gentleman above who claims to be an officer here in Levittown... it is the job of the Police to patrol and uphold the law -- to which many in our area seem to spend way too much time sitting behind Tri-County or ticketing cars at 3am, or even pulling out little signs left in the center of the street. I think that patrolling outside the theater shoukdnt be too much of an issue, especially since in the same lot is Friday's, a Pizza place and a Chinese restaurant who all serve alcohol... and a lot of it. If the theater is responsible and the Police are doing their jobs, then then problems should be minimal. If the cops were patroling, they would be able to stop more of the town's issues with kids underage drinking, smoking and the sale of drugs. Geez, I've seen those little drug bags in the parking lot of the elementary schools... I've personally called the cops when I saw a drug deal going down, guess who never showed up? Lets not be so concerned about what 'could' happen and concentrate on what's already happening!
Curt December 20, 2011 at 03:02 PM
"There’s no legal /practical way to police the consumption" So then don't police it. Do police go around ball games smelling cups? Restaurants? And honestly if the police had time to do it then that means there is too many of them.
jb reevveezz December 26, 2011 at 03:44 AM
MMMM trying to keep up whats happening in LI... Are u kidding me?? The rents go up so Lowes wants to serve licquor at the movies... Hey if u don't like the boooooze there go to another theatre... You can by cold Beerzzzz in any 7 - 11 or the super market..... well then don't shop there either.... The taxes keep gong up on that sh-- hole they call Long Island so you have to increase revenues no?? Hey why not insist that Yankee stadium or that crap box Citi field quit selling booze and they will tell u to take a walk....Why do u think I left the rotten apple Ghetto state in the first place.... U people gave all the dough to the cops and teachers now find a way to pay for them.... keep picketing about stupid issues of beerzzz and keep allowing drugs in the schools... U r not in the bible belt but I am and I do not drink but who cares if everybody wants to waste their dough on peeeepeeee water :( good grief protest about something important Charlie Brown) just another rediculous way that
jb reevveezz December 26, 2011 at 03:49 AM
I am glad I left


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