Today is a great day for Bay Ridge and for the entire community as we gather here to announce that the last standing movie theater in this community will remain a multiplex cinema and be expanded to include the cultural arts. I guess we can say that the winner of this Oscar or Golden Globe is......Bay Ridge and 5th Avenue.
This victory today would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of Basil Capetanakis and the new owner, Nicolaos "Nick" Nicolaou. Bay Ridge is very lucky to have received the business interest of Mr. Nicolaou who operates two other small theaters, who learned of the community’s dismay at the potential closing of the Alpine, who approached Basil Capetanakis and myself, and who fell in love with this community.
I never thought we would be standing here so soon announcing such good news. It is very unusual for a deal of this magnitude to be completed in such a short period of time. This is a testament to the leadership of Basil Capetanakis, and a testament to the character of the newest community business owner, Mr. Nicoalou. After a couple of meetings and discussions with my staff and others, Mr. Nicoalou knew that this was a good move to make. He saw the community’s passion. He saw the community’s needs. He saw and he acted and for that we are grateful.
These efforts to date will insure that not only does this remain a movie theater, but now, this community will have something new and exciting: something that we have never had: a community cultural center. Within the Alpine, we will now see community theater performances, we will be invited to community gallery art shows, and we be allowed the opportunity to see the abundance of talent that is instilled in the residents of this neighborhood. And the best part....there will be a seamless transition into a State of the Art Theater. The screens here at the Alpine will never go dark.
We have created a public/private partnership. Working through my office, with the New York City Department of Small Business Services, the New York State Economic Development Corporation, and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, numerous programs that exists at the State and City level designed to aid small businesses have been discussed and made available. These programs are designed to keep jobs in the community, offer tax credits, and create a community benefit and it is our hope that we will see this at this location.
It is a recognition of the fact that this Theater is vital to the economic development and continued greatness of 5th Avenue and Bay Ridge. It is important for the restaurants, for the stores and for our families. It is important for our teenagers, and for schools, and for our seniors. Where would teenagers and their friends go to see a movie if the Alpine was to close? Where would families go to see a movie if the Alpine was to close? Where would senior citizens and school trips go to see a movie if the Alpine was to close?
This past February, Basil Capetanakis and officials from the City and State, along with Jim Clark and Pat Condren, walked 5th Avenue in an effort to encourage the City to expand and establish an Empire Zone here in Bay Ridge to help business and to spur the creation of manufacturing and business right here on 5th Avenue, on 3rd Avenue, and on Bay Ridge Avenue. I will continue with these efforts, working with the Mayor and the City Council and other elected officials, for the betterment of business in our community.