White Plains Cinema de Lux cited for ‘infestation’
Richard Liebson, firstname.lastname@example.org 8:11 a.m. EST January 14, 2016 WHITE PLAINS, NY – As the latest Star Wars movie continues to rake in millions in gross profits, the Cinema de Lux theater is dealing with another kind of gross. Call it pest wars.The 15-theater movie house at the City Center has been cited for infestations of lice, mice and possibly bed bugs, said Karen Pasquale, senior adviser to Mayor Tom Roach.
“The building department received a number of complaints on Tuesday about infestations at the theater,” Pasquale said. “An inspector was there on Wednesday and issued the summons.”
Manager Mike Flynn had no comment, referring questions to Rachel Lulay, a spokeswoman for National Amusements, which owns the theater. Lulay did not return messages.
It was not clear whether infestations were found in other areas of the City Center, which also houses the White Plains Performing Arts Center, Target, Shop Rite and several other stores and restaurants.
Robert McGuinness, asset manager for Kite Realty, owner of the mall, also did not return calls for comment.
Specifically, the theater was cited for violation of section 308.1 of the state property maintenance law, which says: “All structures shall be kept free from insect and rodent infestation. All structures in which insects or rodents are found shall be promptly exterminated by approved processes that will not be injurious to human health. After extermination, proper precautions shall be taken to prevent re-infestation.”
The problem apparently came to light over the weekend and has been a topic of discussion among a group for White Plains mothers on Facebook. One mom reported that a friend’s daughter returned from a movie on Saturday with one of her arms “covered in bed bug bites.”
Melissa Ruff, who started the Facebook conversation, said Wednesday that her three children frequently go the City Center theater.
“Just the thought of bed bugs is making me scratch,” she said. “I think it will be a while before any of us goes there again.”
The National Pest Management Association says that since 2013, bed bug infestations in particular are on the rise in theaters, office buildings, stores, libraries and most public facilities.
“It’s more common than people think, especially with bed bugs because they’re hitchhikers,” said Claude Maxwell, president of Top Level Pest Control in White Plains.
While theaters and other businesses generally have pest control maintenance programs that include regular inspections and preventative spraying, “If the person sitting in your seat at the movies brought bed bugs in with them, chances are some will be leaving with you,” Maxwell said. “The only way you can really avoid the risk of getting bed bugs is to never go anywhere and/or have anyone visit you. My advice is to relax, enjoy the movie and live your life.”
One thing people can do if they’re concerned that they picked up bed bugs while they were out, Maxwell said, is to put your clothes in the dryer on high heat as soon as you get home.
“That will kill them,” he said.
Caren Halbfinger, spokeswoman for the Westchester County Department of Health, said health inspections are not conducted in the theater but are done at the multiplex’s restaurant and food concession area. She said no problems were found during a December inspection; a problem with unspecified bugs discovered during an inspection last spring was referred to the city.