The signs all said "Coming soon."
The empty property at 24111 Linden Blvd. in Elmont, which used to be an Associated supermarket, had four signs posted on the windows and walls along the side of the building, saying the Connecticut-based Bow Tie Cinemas were going to be the new retail tenant.
Lifelong resident Karl Valere noticed the signs when he went to take a look at the property. "We had gotten a tip to consider the vacant Associated supermarket parking lot for our second annual Elmont Family Fun Day festival in September," he said. "I went to retrieve the name of the property owner and discovered the signs for myself."
Joe Masher, chief operating officer of Bow Tie Cinemas, said there was already a nearby location in Franklin Square, and no plans to open one in Elmont. "Those signs didn't come from our company," he said. "In fact, they're fraudulent. We're in the middle of investigating this matter. If we were to come to the community, there would be much more notice given, and it wouldn't be in such a way as these signs."
There's a Bow Tie Cinema in nearby New Hyde Park. Although two are opening upstate, no new properties are planned for Long Island.
Valere said that the possibility of a new cinema on Linden Boulevard met with "mixed reviews" on social media, and that while some residents want more entertainment options in their community, they also want to make sure they don't create other problems.
"Residents argued legitimate concerns, ranging from traffic control and congestion to public safety, and a greater desire for development that fills a need," Valere said, adding that, overall, there was "lots of buzz and excitement around economic development that makes sense for Elmont."
Responding to his post on Facebook about the theater, resident Cristina Duchene wrote that she loved the idea, but that Elmont needed more for children to do after school. "I see a lot of kids this summer, hanging around and walking," she said.
Tameeka Lecoin, also of Elmont, said she loved the idea but not the location, preferring the longtime Argo Theater site, on the corner of Hempstead Turnpike and Elmont Road, which has been divided up into smaller retail properties.
"I would have loved to have it back where it was many years ago," Lecoin said. "My fear is that that location will bring more people from Queens than Elmont residents. But I have hope that it would be a great establishment that is managed professionally, a place where families can come and enjoy with their kids."
Phil Mukhi, who manages the Sunoco gas station, car wash and deli across the street from the former supermarket, said he hoped a new tenant would move in soon, whether it was a movie theater or another supermarket. "They were a great help to us here," he said of Associated. "Any time we needed anything in a pinch, we could just run over there quickly. The people working over there would run over here for hot breakfasts and lunches. If we needed fresh vegetables in the winter to replenish our supply, we could go over there. Now, if we need anything in a pinch, we have to travel further to go get it, down to Central Avenue. It was great to have them across the street."
The Bow Tie Cinema signs were still posted on the property as of press time. No one seemed to know who posted them. Valere said he remained hopeful that another business would move in soon, and that residents would approve.
"One business helps the other," Mukhi said."