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Bite me! Pavilion Cinema manager tries to exterminate bedbug rumors

The Brooklyn Paper

The Park Slope Pavilion movie theater finally bit back to exterminate years of bed-bug rumors, sending out an extraordinary letter in hopes of reassuring parents and film lovers that it is not a mite-filled multiplex.

A manager at the theater — which is on Prospect Park West at 14th Street — sent the missive to the Park Slope Parents website this week, admitting that the Pavilion is run down, but denying dozens of blog entries, website comments, and apparent “first-hand accounts” documenting the scourge as far back as late 2008.

“Let us begin by sincerely apologizing for the current state of the Pavilion Theater — specifically for the broken seats and the heating problems,” wrote General Manager Ross Brunetti. “Regarding the bedbug rumors — there is no evidence that we have bedbugs. … If bedbugs were ever to be discovered in the theater, we would not sit idly by.”

It’s unclear who would need to “discover” the bedbugs before managers would spring into action, because the alleged sightings published online are seemingly endless.

Six people have posted complaints on the Bedbug Registry, a website for complaints and sightings that may or may not be accurate, since August, 2008. Dozens of sightings have been posted on the Park Slope Parents listserv since 2009. An dozens more supposed victims have complained on the message board of Brooklynian.com.

“We were told they handled the infestation,” wrote one commenter on the Bedbug Registry after returning from a film. “Later, sitting in my robe [at home], a bedbug was spotted walking on the collar. EWW!”

Another commenter added: “On both [my visits], I had bed bug bites on my legs.”

Heck, searching for the Pavilion on Yelp.com — a restaurant and business review site — brings up so many complaints that bedbug exterminators actually advertise on the Pavilion’s page!

That said, there is no picture, no video, no visual proof of bedbugs at the theater. And it would be impossible to verify if a bedbug victim picked up the mite at the Pavilion or elsewhere. The Brooklyn Paper staff has gone to movies undercover on several occasions, simply trying to watch a film and get bitten by a bedbug. But no luck (the movie was lousy, too).

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Reader Feedback

hdcase from North Highlands, CA says:
You know bed bugs will get in and become a problem. Think about it. All those people coming and going with back packs, purses and the like. You know there are some bed bugs in there somewhere. Its just a matter of time. http://www.pestcontrolcenter.com/store
Feb. 4, 2011, 6:28 pm
Pete from Park Slope says:
Regardless, the theater is a dump anyhow. It needs a lot of work.
Feb. 6, 2011, 7:40 am
Onyez from Prospect Heights says:
You need a vaccination before going into this horrible theater. Good luck trying to find one seat that isn't covered in disgusting stains. The whole place is filthy.
Feb. 6, 2011, 10:46 am
B. from Ditmas Park says:
Gosh, what a shame. When it was the Sanders, way back when, and my cousins and I saw "The Giant Behemoth" and "Gidget Goes Hawaiian" there, it was a nice neighborhood theater. No bedbugs, no roaches, and only twenty-five cents to see the movie. And after all, it never did, in its reincarnation as a multiplex, show foreign films as promised.
Feb. 10, 2011, 9:54 pm

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