“Sunshine Lounge” Withdraws from CB3 Meeting Tonight, Begins Outreach

Posted on: October 15th, 2012 at 6:28 am by
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When we broke news of Sunshine Cinema’s attempt to become a “dinner-and-movie” type establishment earlier this month, response was immediate and explosive. It’s a polarizing argument – should a beloved movie theater that screens indie releases allow restaurant food and liquor to invade each auditorium? The bid to obtain such privileges was to be heard later this evening at the SLA subcommittee meeting, but ownership backed out. Instead, it appears team Sunshine is pounding pavement for some grassroots outreach.

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Sunshine canvassed the few blocks in the vicinity of 143 East Houston, taping informational flyers to doorways and light poles. Spearheaded by Landmark corporate, the leaflets indicate that the build-out should start “early next year”:

To all neighbors of the Sunshine Cinema,

We have many great things happening here at your local Lower East Side Cinema in the coming months. This spring we will be opening a full restaurant on two floors of the theatre that will be open to the public all day. So whether you are coming by to watch one of our many stand-out specialty films or just in the mood to get out of the house for a quick bite, the Sunshine will be here for you.

In starting our transition from movie theatre to all inclusive dinner-and-a-movie destination, we have submitted a proposal with our local Community Board 3. These plans map out in detail our building remodel to start early next year, which includes: two restaurants with full bars, four floors of table seating and a grand revamping of the interior of our theatres and lobby areas.

We would like to invite you as our neighbors to feel free to stop by and ask us in person about all of the great things to come at the Sunshine. We want to have our neighbors excited about these changes and would appreciate your support in this endeavor as we will be applying for a liquor license for our restaurant. So please come by and see what’s new and what will be happening here at the Sunshine.

Many in the community, but especially those living within earshot, are split on the matter. Some remember the days in 1995, before the theater, when original owner Tim Nye tried to obtain five liquor licenses for a monstrous nightclub here. Neighbors smacked down any hope of that, and Sunshine eventually became the tenant in December 2001. Needless to say, there are still remnant fears that something similar is at play here; that granting liquor privileges for this Nighthawk-esque concept would just be a foot-in-the-door for a possible bait-and-switch tactic.

Overall, there’s little trust between residents and those with such grand plans for these neighborhood spaces. Seriously, can you blame ’em?

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