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Gross Park Slope theater ejects diabetic patron

Fragaria ananassa, cause of recent controversy
Agricultural Research Service, via Wikimedia Commons

The Park Slope Pavilion is not a good place. You'd think that a movie theater in one of Brooklyn's fancy-pants neighborhoods, alongside the brownstones of Prospect Park West, would make a cursory attempt to cater to that crowd, like the way the over-the-top AMC 84 on the Upper West Side does. But the Pavilion is scruffy at best, a run-down relic often beset by bedbugs, even once being named (officially hyperboliclally, but not really) the "worst theater in the world."

Last week, the theater found a new way to irritate the world, when a manager ejected a man for bringing in a container of strawberries to a movie. Of course, it is true that this is against the rules---all movie theaters prohibit outside food so that you'll spend money on their concessions. But 1) everything they sell is so stupidly overpriced that it's hard to sympathize with them, 2) the customer in question, Michael Kass, turned out to be diabetic and couldn't eat the junk food they serve, and 3) the Pavilion is such a dung heap that they should be offering FREE snacks to people with the price of admission.

Here's Kass's take on the incident, which he posted to the Pavilion's Facebook page (which seems to be down at this point; the below quote comes from Gothamist):

Earlier today your manager, escorted by two police officers, forcibly ejected me from your theater. The offense -- not rowdiness disturbing other patrons, no smoking or anything comparable -- simply the fact that I brought a container of fruit into your theater and refused to either throw it away or leave the theater (without a full cash refund). I am not a "activist" or a "rabblerowser" -- what I am is a 41-year old type II diabetic who loves movies and would like to be able to see them in public and enjoy a healthy snack.
I am fully willing to pay the ridiculous theater mark-up for concessions as I realize that most theaters would not be profitable without them but the theater industry (including yours) has never seemed to care enough about the health of its patrons to offer healthier options on a consistent basis.

What most other theaters HAVE done is take the common sense approach of selectively enforcing their rules against outside food to effectively allow patrons to discretely make this choice for themselves provided they do so in a manner than doesn't compromise the sanitation (i.e., not throw nutshells on the floor) or aesthetics (i.e., not bring in hot food) of the theater.

I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to understand that your theater continues to operate at the pleasure of its local community -- it's a pretty run down structure that hasn't had any palpable investment by its owners in many years, has frequent HVAC issues and, frankly, indexes pretty high on the "stick floors" scale. What it has goes for it is a vibrant Park Slope community willing to overlook all of this because we love movies and want a local theater. That said, we're also one of the most health conscious communities in the city and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that your theater should not want to be seen as the forced purveyor of junk food to its patrons/their children.

In summary: it's rarely a good decision to visit the Pavilion. Cobble Hill Cinemas is a fine establishment (although it continuously suffers from poor heating management, so dress in light layers), and really, if you want an entirely pleasant experience, BAM is probably the way to go.

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