West Islip Twin Cinemas
444 Union Boulevard,
444 Union Boulevard,West Islip, NY 11795
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Just uploaded a Grand Opening ad which wa published in Newsday in the October 19, 1973 issue in the photos section and reuploaded a better quality 1975 picture about the twin
The West Islip Twin opened its doors on October 10, 1973 with “Paper Moon” at Screen 1 and “The Last Of Sheila” at Screen 2. The West Islip Twin closed for the final time on April 11, 1999 with “Analyze This” and “Doug’s 1st Movie”.
West Islip was beyond over due for a theater.They used to show exquisite trash like"Zachariah"starring a young Don Johnson,billed as the first electric western,featuring the James Gang,and Country Joe and the Fish,also Zaviar Hollander in “Pleasure is my Bussiness"Alejandro’s bizzarre western"El Topo”.Now another not so old theater has come and gone.
Correct me if I’m wrong but I think this theater only lasted a little over ten years.Theaters like this had a personality,often showing the unusual films like"Vanishing Point"or foreign movies like"The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie".The first run movie houses showed allot of Hollywood’s cookie cutter productions.
Found and uploaded an image.
I grew up in West Islip in the 70‘s and 80‘s. I did not live near the theater but would see it going to and from Beach Street Jr. High which still sits behind it, and when visiting the shopping center, sometimes after school.
I enjoy reading graffiti, and there was often some on the white wall on the side of the building facing what at the time was an open field of undeveloped property between the cinema and Captree Bowling. For at least a year and a half, in large black letters, were the words “Waste Islip”. When I’d get frustrated with suburban life, the people and attitudes of Long Island, it helped me to picture this fine phrase on the wall in my mind, as if someone out there may have “understood” how I was feeling, and one day just had to express themselves. (Also helpful in this respect were the lyrics to the song “Subdivisions“ by Rush. Later in the early 90’s, I was driving with the suburban scenery providing a “video” for the song as it played on the car radio. After it ended the d.j. said “That was a Long Island song if there ever was one“.) I felt a little bad whenever the graffiti would get painted over. (On Google Street View in July 2015, the white wall looks clean and the cinema is Union Wine & Liquors.)
One evening in the late 80’s I noticed a sort of bonfire going on by some mounds of soil at the edge of the part of the undeveloped property that was next to the cinema. I was curious if I knew anyone amongst the silhouettes drinking and hollering, but didn’t dare stop to find out.
For a while in 1983, the James Bond film “Octopussy” was showing at the West Islip. If I had a bad day at the Jr. High, I had to smile on the way home at the naughty-sounding word up on the marquee just calmly out there for all to see… or was it that cats are my favorite animal? : ) I couldn’t bring myself to ask my parents to take me to see, um, “Octopussy”, and to this day I have not seen that movie – ha – perhaps because of its title.
I saw “Caddy Shack II” (1988), which became one of only two or three films I’ve ever walked out on, after most of the few other audience members had already left. … This may have also been the time some mischievous kids in the back lot startled everyone by banging on the outside of the fire exit door below the right of the screen right in the middle of the show, before running off.
After seeing “Dances With Wolves”(December of 1990?) with my late father, we sat in our car, lit only by streetlamps, out in the middle of the parking lot in front of the theater to recover from and process the experience. I was impressed at the time and said if I were ever a filmmaker I don’t know that I could accomplish producing something of such magnitude. He encouraged me, affirming that if and when the time came, I would be surprised by my own abilities.
I saw “Phenomenon” (1996), then wandered down to the other end of the shopping center to the entrance of what was then the Grand Union grocery store. I paused to watch three young women who had been somewhere in the same theater as I stroll by cheerfully singing in unison the song from the movie’s final scenes, “Change the World” by Eric Clapton. (“If I could cha-a-ange the world, I would be the sunlight in your universe…”)
When I last visited Long Island in the summer of 2000, the theater was closed. The marquee only said “That’s All Folks”.
I grew up in West Islip. This theatre was great. A friend of mine used to work there and we had lots of great times there. Even used to hang out inside before school some days back in high school (late 80s).
I just drove by this location the other day and I could swear that I saw WEST ISLIP LIQUORS in that space there now. But interestingly, the internet tells me that DLC Management Corp is housed in that building. I am wondering if 444 Union Blvd has been reassigned in that shopping plaza and that’s the confusion between what i saw and what the super-highway says.
The twin was split in the middle right down the refreshment stand. Each theater had its own restroom . The box office had 2 separate turnstyle for each theater
My dad owned and operated the W. Islip Twin Cinemas Robert Polson. The projectionist union came in and caused some trouble..but as a kid I remember it being a blast! Yes, High School kids loved it…Good times! Dad made a great effort….
But it was in such an odd ball location.
I remember this theater well. It was cost effective for high schoolers like me. I saw so many films there: “The Children,” “A Star Is Born” (Streisand/Kristopherson), “The Rose,” etc.
This was a weird location for a theatre, in the middle of nowhere on a street parallel to the Long Island Railroad. Oh, well, at least no problem getting a parking space. I don’t remember a turnstile here, but I do remember one at the Glen Oaks.
I saw a few films there. It had small screens that were raised high on the wall in front of you. I saw a bad dupe of “Magical Mystery Tour” there, and “That’s Entertainment!” in 1974. I may be wrong, but I think a Blockbuster video store is presently at the location where the theater stood, but I would guess the original building was vastly altered.
Whats in this space now…..
One of the few theaters on longisland i have not been in ,only have seen it from the outside.This closed in 2001 or 2002. Whats in this space noW??