Sag Harbor Cinema after it was destroyed by a fire last year. Photo: Gordon M. Grant.

Nonprofit Raises $8 Million to Save Beloved Sag Harbor Cinema

After fundraising all year, the Sag Harbor Partnership, a nonprofit founded to preserve and enhance the eastern Long Island town of Sag Harbor, New York, has raised more than $8 million in order to save the town’s celebrated cinema, which was destroyed in a fire last year.

Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. told Vera Chinese of Newsday that the Art Deco theater and its neon sign is the “soul of the village.” He added, “I grew up in Sag Harbor and I’ve been going to that cinema since I was buying 35-cent tickets for a double feature on Saturdays in the 1960s. It’s been an essential part of the village for a long, long time.”

On December 16, 2016, the blaze which engulfed the theater also razed several other structures on Sag Harbor’s Main Street, including stores, apartment buildings, and a popular coffee shop. All that was salvaged from the theater was its beloved sign. Now, almost exactly one year later, the partnership is close to achieving its goal of raising enough funds to not only buy the art house theater but to transform the venue into a multiuse center for film and the arts.

Celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Matthew Broderick have also pledged their support of the historic landmark. Last spring, Billy Joel earned rights to the popcorn stand by donating half a million dollars. Julie Andrews and Martin Scorsese sit on the nonprofit’s advisory board.

“We are ecstatic that our efforts over the last year have helped us meet our funding goal to save the Cinema,” Sag Harbor Partnership’s vice president April Gornick said in a statement. “This was truly the work of an incredible community of people with a common goal.”