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NYC's coolest movie theaters, from Manhattan's IFC to Brooklyn's Nitehawk and more

New York City has the most unique collection

New York City has the most unique collection of movie theaters, from small single-screen film houses to multi-screen state-of-the-art restaurant/theaters. Photo Credit: Corey Sipkin

Stop your Netflix binge session and head out to one of New York's most interesting venues to catch a new, or old, movie. You likely know about the many multiplexes, so we're focused on those niche theaters that offer more curated viewing experiences.

From foreign film houses to independent artist hubs, the city really is one of the best places to go to the movies, even though these unique theaters are becoming scarce (RIP Paris Theater). Check out the beautiful BAM Rose Cinema for a dramatic screening, the intimate Video Revival for an old movie or offbeat films at Spectacle. Each one offers something different.

Dim the lights, grab the popcorn: Here are some of the best movie-viewing spots.

Manhattan

Village East Cinema
181-189 Second Ave., East Village
citycinemas.com/villageeast, 212-529-6998
Tickets: $15 adults, $12 students and seniors

Home to both blockbusters and indie films, Village East Cinema is a landmark — it is one of the city's last remaining Yiddish theaters. Built in 1926, it has Moorish motifs and Judaic references (Yiddish writing and a Star of David in its dome), which have remained despite multiple reincarnations as performing arts theaters, a burlesque house, an Off-Broadway showcase and a movie theater. In 2015, it was restored and remains a no-frills, but classic, movie theater.

IFC Center
323 Sixth Ave., West Village
ifccenter.com, 212-924-7771
Tickets: $16 adults, $13 children and seniors

Specializing in independents, this movie house is located in the historic Waverly Theater but has state-of-the-art tech. It features premieres of new indie, foreign and documentary films, weekly documentary series, a monthly program with LGBTQ guest curators, weekend classics, cult movie screenings at midnight and a lot more. And check out its exhibition of vintage movie posters from around the world — while munching on organic popcorn. 

Metrograph
7 Ludlow St., Lower East Side
metrograph.com, 212-660-0312
Tickets: $15

New York's Metrograph specializes in showing old and unique films. This Lower East Side movie house specializes in independent and foreign films, and movies on 35 mm prints. Often, filmmakers or people connected to the films attend special screenings. If you're hungry, a commissary restaurant and lounge serves snacks and meals inspired by the Hollywood lot cafeterias, and there's a candy shop, balcony lounge and a bookstore.

Anthology Film Archives
32 Second Ave., East Village
anthologyfilmarchives.org, 212-505-5181
Tickets: $12 adults, $9 students and seniors

Opened in 1970, the Anthology Film Archives was the first New York museum to be officially dedicated to film as an art form with a full reference library with materials related to avant-garde cinema. With screenings throughout the day, cozy up with indies from avant-garde gems to cult classics. 

Angelika Film Center
18 W. Houston St., Greenwich Village
angelikafilmcenter.com, 212-995-2570
Tickets: $17 adults, $15 children and seniors

Angelika Film Center shows independent, foreign and art house favorites. In addition to the mini-chain's four screens, you'll find a full-service independent cafe in the lobby, so grab a fancy coffee beverage with a quiche, pastry or salad pre- or post-show.

AMC Loews Lincoln Square
1998 Broadway, Lincoln Square
amctheatres.com, 212-336-5020
Tickets: $16.49 adults, $13.49 children and seniors

This isn't your typical AMC theater — inside is a kitschy, Hollywood-style theater with themed auditoriums, from the Aztec "Avalon" to the Chinese "Majestic." Other than fun themes, the AMC falls in line with other chain cineplexes.

Roxy Cinema at The Roxy Hotel 
2 Sixth Ave., TriBeCa
roxycinematribeca.com, 212-519-6600
Tickets: $12 adults, $9 children and seniors

Taking a cue from the once-famous 1920s movie palace, the Roxy Cinema, located inside the Roxy Hotel, has only 118 seats surrounded by Art Deco interior with a gourmet concession stand. The theater shows only indie films, rare archival prints, and 35 mm cult classics. From time to time, there are film series, Q&As with directors and actors and more.

Brooklyn

Nitehawk Cinema
136 Metropolitan Ave., Williamsburg
188 Prospect Park West, South Slope
nitehawkcinema.com
Tickets: $13 adults, $10 seniors, $16 special events

Part restaurant, part movie theater, Nitehawk puts traditional movie snacks to shame. Many menus are themed to correspond with the screening, and food and drinks can be ordered to your table throughout the show. Brunch screenings, midnight movies and even special screenings for parents with potentially loud babies are all on the monthly schedule. The theater shows popular and independent films.

Park Slope's Pavilion Theater reopened in December 2018 as Nitehawk's second location, Nitehawk Prospect Park, which features exposed brick walls, marble stairs, and seven theaters which seat 650 guests combined.

Syndicated
40 Bogart St., Bushwick
syndicatedbk.com, 718-386-3399
Tickets: $7

If you love Nitehawk, Syndicated is for you. Featuring food and cocktail service — why not have a "Nutty Professor '63" gin or "The Shape of Watermelon" vodka cocktails brought right to your seat? — this is a movie theater fit for a foodie. Menu items include burgers, fried chicken, fried calamari and even salads. Syndicated doesn't screen first-run movies; it skews toward cult classics like "The Big Lebowski," "Pulp Fiction" and "Harold and Maude."

BAM Rose Cinemas
30 Lafayette Ave., Downtown Brooklyn
bam.org, 718-636-4100
Tickets: $16 adults, $11 children and seniors

Brooklyn Academy of Music is a premier destination for filmgoers. Programs such as BAMcinématek include showings of classics, premieres, festivals and retrospectives with special appearances by actors and filmmakers. Visit for current art house movies as well as classes like a puppetry master class. The cinema itself was originally a music hall that was transformed into a four-auditorium movie theater in 1998, which preserved the theater's proscenium in theater 3.

Spectacle Theater
124 South Third St., Williamsburg
spectacletheater.com
Tickets: $5, $10 for special events

This volunteer-run "micro-cinema," screens offbeat films, contemporary art, previously overlooked films, live scores, filmmaker appearance and more. Its website describes its space as "an ex-bodega of enchantment, a semi-social society, an anti-commercial Atlantis."

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
445 Albee Square, Downtown Brooklyn 
drafthouse.com, 718-513-2547
Tickets: $17.50, $12.50 for students, seniors and children

A fan favorite chain, the Alamo Drafthouse offers seven screens, the "House of Wax" bar, which showcases vintage medical sculptures of body parts, oddities and replicas of celebrities with dozens of drafts and cocktails, and a "no talking, no texting" policy. The place is for fans who take films seriously — if you show up late, you cannot enter the theater. Alamo is good for dropping in for special screenings of underground films, catching a blockbuster, or enjoying themed marathons.

Queens

Museum of the Moving Image
36-01 35 Ave., Long Island City
movingimage.us, 718-777-6888
Tickets: $15 adult, $11 students and seniors, $9 children

Astoria favorite the Museum of the Moving Image also houses a movie theater, where you can catch a variety of films and events including filmmaker talks. This is a true mashup, with recent offerings ranging from foreign classics like "Hiroshima, Mon Amour" to family favorites like "A Muppet Family Christmas."

Kew Gardens Cinema
81-05 Lefferts Boulevard, Kew Gardens
kewgardenstheatre.com, 718-441-9835
Tickets: $11 adults, $8.50 for seniors and children

Built in the 1930s as the Austin double feature house, this old-school movie house retains Art Deco details. Over the course of its history, it has been an art film house and even a pornographic film theater. Now, the large lobby also functions as a cafe, adding coffee and cookies to your moviegoing experience.

Bombay Theatre
6825 Fresh Meadow Lane, Fresh Meadows
bombaytheatre.com, 718-358-2929
Tickets $11 adults, $8 seniors

This theater fills a niche for those who need a fix of Indian and Bollywood films, plus, its concession stand sells samosas, tea, popcorn and other South Asian snacks. If you go on Wednesdays, tickets are just $6 all day. 

Bronx area

Pelham Picture House
175 Wolfs Ln., Pelham
thepicturehouse.org, 914-738-7337
Tickets: $12 adults, $10 students, teachers and seniors

The Pelham Picture House in Westchester, not far from the Bronx, was slated for demolition in 2001, but a group of citizens purchased it to preserve the single-screen theater that had been operating since 1921. Today, it screens blockbusters, indie films, art house and classic movies, retrospectives and hosts other special events like special/advanced screenings, improv classes and film club meetings. Movie tickets are half-priced on Tuesdays, too.

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