Long Beach, New York
Here's some Nautilus Theatre history provided by Sam Schwarzman:
The original theater was called the West End Movie and was owned by my cousin, Sid Sinitar and his partner, Sy Frank. The building originally came from Camp Upton in Yaphank. After World War I the camp was dismantled and the buildings sold at auction in August of 1921. The theater was actually a barracks t the camp. The theater was opened by someone named "Sonin" originally. The next owner was someone named "Petrey" and my cousin and Sy Frank bought it from him. Eventually it was sold to Irwin Knohl and he renamed it the Nautilus. My cousin Sid's dad was Sam Sinitar (I am named after him), he was the founder of the old Lido Laundry , it was located at the foot of the old Long Beach Bridge. The West End Movie had some stores attached to it, one was a coffee shop named Lenny's and was owned by Lenny Beck. Lenny Beck later opened Lenny's Steak House. Sid Sinitar and Sy Frank would only open the movie on weekends and on rainy days. One would run the movie, the other would pick you up in his car for the price of admission. They were on a shoe string budget and held down full time jobs. From that ambitious beginning, they formed Town and Country Theaters and owned many Long Island Movies, most of them now long gone, among them were: The Glen Cove, The Town (in Glen Cove), the Wantagh, The Hewlett, The 86th Street East (NYC), The Hicksville Multi Theater, and until last year, the Elwood in East Northport. They are both now (mostly) retired, Sid lives in Lido and Sy in Florida.
Some more West End (Nautilus Theater) history, this provided by Bob Sagona:
In the 30's Sam Sonin operated the West End Theater. Sam and his family lived behind the theater at 47 Vermont St. Mrs. Sonin took tickets at the ticket booth and the movies were only open during the summer months, with matinees shown only when it rained ! When it rained, Sam had someone drive his old Nash sedan thru the West Ends streets ringing a bell which was mounted on the front of the car. There was a sign on the roof that said "Matinee Today". As kids, Sam had us deliver circulars of the week's movies and in return you were paid with one week's free admittance to the shows.
The Sinitar Family along with Sy Frank took over the theater sometime around 1948 or 1949 as I recall. Sam Sinitar owned the Lido Laundry, previously known as the Long Beach Laundry on Long Beach Blvd. near the bridge. Sid Sinitar and Sy redecorated the theater and added heat, which the old building bought from Camp Upton didn't have. Now heated, they were able to keep the theater open through the winter months.
The Nautilus Theatre stood at the corner of Tennessee Ave. and W. Beech St. until it was destroyed by fire on October 12, 1971. Photo courtesy of Howie Hemsley
The following photos were submitted by Sue O'Neill-Kornacki,
taken at the height of the fire.
Quite a sight!
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Nautilus Theater Fire
Most likely taken sometime after about 1928 or 29 as the old Trolley tracks are missing from the street.
Probably shortly after being re-constructed on site after travelling from Camp Upton in Yaphank where it once served as a barracks. This is the Vermont St side of the theater.
This early postcard photo, taken from the lookout tower on the old Alabama St Firehouse in the early 1920's, shows the West End Theater as the largest building on the left side of Beech St. Horse drawn wagons and the trolley can be seen in this photo.
More photos from the fire in October 1971
This is the area the Nautilus occupied on Beech St. as it appears today. Notice the 3 identical homes on Tennessee and one on Vermont constructed some time after the theater burned. The Vermont St side still keeps 2 lots open for parking. . The theater originally took up 6 West End lots.
The Gaslight bar was also in this building at one time.