It was hard not to look ahead to warmer weather when Jamie Hook, the executive director of the Sag Harbor Cinema, asked permission of the Sag Harbor Village Board to once again offer outdoor screenings at Havens Beach this summer.
Mr. Hook, appearing at the board’s February 9 meeting, said the cinema would like to show films at the beach on Saturday nights from Memorial Day through Columbus Day.
“We have been expansive in this request,” he said, “because we do not yet know whether our cinema will be able to open this summer or not.” He quickly added, though, that he was optimistic it would be able to open its doors to the public by July at the latest.
Mr. Hook requested two changes to the permit the cinema is requesting. First, rather than sit in their cars, attendees would bring in blankets and sit in socially distanced spaces, leaving their cars parked to the side. He also requested permission to erect an approximately 10-foot-by-20-foot screen for the entire summer, a step he said would save a significant amount of work and money.
In one scenario, the audience would be seated in the area bounded by the circular access drive to the beach. In another, they would be seated in a grassy area east of that road and just south of the beach parking lot.
While supporting the general proposal, board members had a fair number of questions. Mayor Kathleen Mulcahy said she didn’t think leaving the screen up all summer while blocking views of the water would be well-received. Plus, she said showing movies on Saturday night would be intrusive on residents. “That’s an awful lot for the neighbors,” she said.
Mr. Hook said the cinema had chosen Saturday nights instead of Sunday nights as it did last year because many people return to the city on Sunday nights.
Trustee James Larocca, who worked with the cinema on the program last year and agreed to do so again this year, said one reason Sunday nights were chosen was because Village Police are simply too busy on Saturday nights. “Manpower is an issue for the village,” he said. “In terms of safety, we pretty much have to throw everything we have out there on Saturday nights.”
Trustee Aidan Corish asked what kind of sound system would be required if moviegoers were not in their cars, in which they could tune their radios to an FM frequency to hear the soundtrack. Mr. Hook said the plan was to use a four-speaker system that would surround the audience.
Trustee Thomas Gardella said he hoped the film screenings would not conflict with the Sag Harbor Fire Department’s annual carnival, which is expected to return from August 3-7.
The board agreed to pick up the discussion when it holds its monthly work session on Wednesday, February 24.