Staff Recs: Best Local Cinemas


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The interior of the Village East Cinema is worth the price you pay for the ticket. In New York, you pay for the experience as much as the movie.

WSN Staff

It’s getting to the point in winter when finding a reason to leave your apartment is becoming harder and harder. Braving the cold gets less appealing the windier the weather gets, and sunny days feel like a sweaty, distant memory. Going to see a movie is a great way to relax while still getting yourself out of bed — or maybe not, depending on your preference. This week, WSN staff offers our favorite cinemas for checking out the latest flicks and letting someone else worry about whether the popcorn is going to set the smoke alarm off.

Alamo Drafthouse

The Alamo Drafthouse only recently opened in Brooklyn, but it’s already positioned itself as one of the best places to catch a film in the city. Large, comfortable seating, a consistently great selection of new and old films, delicious food and drinks served directly to your seat throughout the movie — and silence. Silence. No texting, no talking. At your tabled seat, you have a notepad to write down an order at any point that’s covertly picked up by one of the staff members. Or you can quietly rat out someone texting or talking by writing down his or her seating location and crime on a card. Alamo has a strict one-strike policy. So relax, enjoy comfort, service, a good film and total silence. — Ethan Sapienza, Film Editor

Village East Cinema

The Village East Cinema is a grand theater, the likes of which are no longer made. Sitting in a three-tiered auditorium with a gold-decorated ceiling and a chandelier whilst you watch “Casablanca” in glorious 35mm is worth all $15 you paid for your ticket. This theater is a gem worth discovering and experiencing time and time again. — Thomas Price, Opinions Editor

Cobble Hill Cinemas

I know this is a relatively inconvenient cinema, even for someone who lives in Brooklyn like me. I mean, Boerum Hill is out of the way no matter which way you slice it — when I go, I have to take the G train. But it’s tucked into a street that’s filled with really good restaurants, and it’s a tiny, clearly very old theater that just makes me feel like I’m being taken out on a special occasion when I go. The seats are comfy, the popcorn is good and when you walk past the upscale brownstone apartments on your way to the train afterwards, you feel just a little bit more magical. It’s a sensation I haven’t found from larger commercial cinemas. — Hailey Nuthals, Arts Editor

Your Own Private Cinema (a.k.a. Your Bed)

I haven’t set foot into a movie theater in the city since I moved here — I’m just not willing to pay $17 for the experience. I’ll wait until the movie comes out on Netflix, thank you very much. That is why I would recommend you just stay home and watch the movie. There are streaming services abound — most offering free trials, too — that are way more worth your money. Sure, you won’t get to watch the absolute newest releases, but that just means you get a longer period of anticipation. Plus, for stingy folks like me, getting to watch more movies for less money is just the obvious solution. And anyways, why go through all that trouble of smuggling in food when you can just eat whatever the hell you want in the comforts of your own home? — Kaitlyn Wang, Co-Managing Editor

Metrograph Theater

I highly recommend Metrograph, an independent movie theater located in the Lower East Side. The first movie I watched there is Center Stage, featured in its movie series of Maggie Cheung. I was amazed by the quality of the 35mm version and the well-worded subtitles translated from three Chinese dialects. If you have a taste in indie, cult or classic black-and-white movies, or you simply hate hearing someone chewing popcorn in the dark, please check out its website for a full list of events designed for movie enthusiasts. — Coco Wang, Deputy News Editor