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The Yakkity Yak on Huntington’s New Paramount Theater

 A work in progress: Huntington’s Paramount Theater

Many moons ago, when I was a mere pipsqueak kid living in this one-horse town of Huntington, there wasn’t so much to do. Alright maybe I haven’t been around as long as horse and buggy residents Hank Dam and Maggie Norton , but there was no Starbucks and it was a big night when the Shore Theater had a double feature of Smokey and the Bandit and American Graffiti running. It was fantastic to have visionaries like The Cinema Arts Centre’s (New Community Cinema) Vick Skolnick and Charlotte Sky and IMAC’s Michael Rothbard and Kathy Bodily bring funky movies, singer/songwriters and bands to our own North Shore Oasis. Before Rothbard and Bodily took over the IMAC (Inter Media Art Centre), 370 New York Avenue was the “Balcony” a laser light/rock show Venue. I remember going there as an underage kid with my older siblings in the 70’s and the whole place was filled with teenagers, pot, and Schaefer. Without fail there was some kid who had too much to drink and was tossing his cookies in the corner of the theater while everyone else danced, sang, or partied. We had a blast.

Fast forward past college, getting married, living in The City for years and here I was, back home giving my kids the privilege of growing up in a town this excellent. With my husband in tow, we ventured back to what became the IMAC for some really memorable concerts. Strangely enough there was still a pimply teenager or two off to the side vomiting his brains out to rock and roll…go figure. My husband found it even stranger that the theater’s young cleanup crew barely acknowledged the spewing youth but just stood with heads bobbing to the tunes, grasping a bucket and a mop like noble janitors on the rise. Although amused, he also found it disgusting.  It was a sad day indeed when the IMAC closed its doors in 2009 and kept them shut for 2 long years.

The original 1920 vaudeville house that was housed in this building was a cultural outlet and huge draw for many in the area for three quarters of a century.  As the attraction of Vaudeville dwindled so did the audience and the theater closed. The building remained dormant for many years and after many reincarnations, including  the IMAC during my formative years, it has again been revivified and is all dolled up to make more history.  The previous 500-seat theater has been fully renovated into a first class 1,500 Seat Theater. A VIP lounge on the balcony and a member’s only “Founder’s Room” with a separate entrance in addition to the general admission floor. The line up of talent kicks off with Elvis Costello on September30th. The year’s inaugural play list includes greats like “The Script”. Yeah, I don’t know who they are either …but what the hell… I am old! However, the “ the B-52’s”, “ Pixies” and “Willie Nelson” are on tap for 2011!

Located at 370 New York Avenue a block and a half south of Main Street, the building has fun in its very bones.  Like Finnegan’s, locals have always looked to 370 New York Avenue as a favorite haunt.  Tickets may be a bit pricey but with a variety of excellent restaurants, art galleries, museums, folk music, the Engeman Theater and now the Paramount, there’s no need to make the tedious trek into the city.

As an added bonus I am told that all traces of vomit smell have been removed. So you’ve got that going for you, which is nice.

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13 comments to The Yakkity Yak on Huntington’s New Paramount Theater

  • Nick P.

    Should be ‘ a block and half south of Main Street ‘

  • My Town Too

    When I was a kid here, mid to lat fifties and sixties, we went to the movies there! Pre-Shore Theater days! Not sure what dates it was a movie theater before closing again.

  • henry dam

    very well written article full of nostalgia. unfortunatly working at the vetrans fishing station csh ,the hours were 5to5 sixty dollars a week didntleave much time for socializing though i found some time with my model a ford got me around in later years for fun befor that it was shanks mare for travel. as the town changed so did i but thats another gagle of stories. thanks for the memories

  • Keith

    Where are all of these cars going to park.I know right in front of my house in the village….

  • Im so so happy to see this I can’t wait to come to a concert there I luv that u have a bus from the station please keep me in the link

  • EKMB

    Went to the Bush concert last night at The Paramount and it was out of control. The security was very unorganized and it was too chaotic to even enjoy the show. Nice venue but not very safe.

  • TR

    Went to a restaurant in town on Oct 22. Parking in the area was destroyed by the influx of cars. Kudos to the geniuses on the Town Board who waived the parking requirement to get the theater to locate there! I wonder what the payoff was to the Huntington politicians?

  • WUJI

    This theater is not a good thing for the local residents near the town. Our parking is destroyed and now large, noisy, pollution spewing trolly buses roar down our residential roads every ten minutes from 6:00 ish to 8:00 every evening and then again 10:30 to 1:30 in the morning! With concerts running on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and I’m sure they’ll pick up Monday and Thursday nights, the result has been devastating to residents. Our quality of life has been destroyed. I saw a senior citizen get a healthy dose of bus fumes. How did the town allow this to happen to residents who have paid high taxes and been here way before this theater. They allowed the bus to linger next to a fire hydrant. I can’t image how many town and county violations that are being overlooked. We the people of Elm Street revolted, I hope the others do as well. We live near town we’re used to late night cars on Friday and Saturday nights, but nothing this bad has happened, ever.

  • Huntington Rez

    You’re “quality of life has been destroyed.” ? Huntington Village was on the verge of turning into a ghost town…empty stores, and struggling businesses were/are commonplace for last 2-3 years. The IMAC CLOSED for a reason…acts and people were not coming. Extensive renovations were also necessary. I took the trolley the other night and the route changed to avoid the residential areas. The town needs more parking, no doubt, so let’s be more vocal about that instead of discouraging businesses that will keep the town alive.

  • Huntington Rez

    “Your” not “you’re”

  • live in the town

    Huntington Rez, to say that Huntington was on the verge of becoming a ghost town is completely ludicrous. Plenty of businesses are and were doing great, thriving! In the summer this place was packed. Any empty stores are a sign of the general economy, not a failure in this town. This town has held out and is incredibly resilient compared to the rest of the country. Since the Paramount opened, there are some businesses doing better but there are some not doing as well or are flat because the Paramount parking makes it difficult for their regular patrons to park. If you don’t live in the Village and are not a homeowner or business owner in the village then you have no idea what is going on at night here. There is increased crime, criminals always seek out crowds, the Paramount took over a municipal lot that belongs to the public, the concerts are all week long, giving residents who have children in school, people who get up for work early, and trying to live a decent life like anyone else, dealing with traffic that goes on long into the night. Some fans are easier on the town then others, Willie Nelson, great. Some of the others, not so great, we’ve endured vandalism, trash, a general disregard for the town and townspeople. Those people with no driveways have become prisoners in their own homes. In addition you are mistaken about the IMAC, the landlord never fixed the roof and tried to raise the rent, we know the owners personally they chose to finally leave after years of tireless and beautiful service to this town. That’s why it closed. As for being vocal, town residents have gone to town hall meetings and written and brought up suggestions. We have yet to see any changes. The Paramount keeping the town alive? We are hundreds already alive, thank you very much, and we should not be “killed,” for the profit of a few investors. A venue the size of Paramount is great, just not in a town this ill equipped for parking. Hope they come up with something soon, because it’s getting worse here.

  • John

    As a resident of Huntington Village…. (living within walking distance to the paramount) I can say honestly that the Paramount is great both for the town, its people, business, and overall quality of the town. The problem with the town is as pointed out; parking, and i personally think there should be a hotel nearby. heck i say clear out the station and make IT into one giant parking lot! That’s where all the crime is, and where it has been and where it will stay. a few drunken youths living life and perhaps doing minor vandalism such as graffiti which i have seen (usually re-painted that week by the town).. but there was vandalism BEFORE the Paramount…. the TROLLY is FREE and a great public service. If you admire capitalism at work, and don’t mind living in Huntington City (as the natural transition of time would facilitate) then seeing a theater as great as the Paramount; as this article has proven, go under because of people complaning about some extra noise…. GO INSIDE IF YOU WANNA BE A BUZZKILL…. Heck I with there was a Hilton on Elm… or Park ave, THAT IS WHAT WE NEED..

    Anyway i’m out to see Jane’s Addiction… and yes i will probably walk home intoxicated….

    by the way there is indeed a huge massive parking lot already at Huntington station where there’s the trolley.. parking wont be a problem until that fills up.

    Middle aged-Seniors – CHILL.. you had the 60’s, WE get the PARAMOUNT… fair enough? no? then be happy you didnt live in Haight/Ashbury when you were my age

  • live in the town

    come back and post again after you own your own home right in the village and pay really high taxes. It’s not about Buzz Kill, nobody said shut the theater down, just find adequate parking for concert goers away from the town residents is all we are saying. FYI this “middle-aged Senior” went to the same Jane’s Addiction concert, which was awesome in spite of the worst acoustics in any venue I have ever been to EVER. For that reason alone I won’t go back, even though I looooove JA!

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