Best New York movie theaters: Top spots to catch a flick

Whether you’re into indies, classics or new releases, here are the best New York movie theaters for settling in and popping open a bag of popcorn.

1/10

BAM Rose Cinemas

 

2/10
Photograph: Lindsay Maclean Taylor

Cobble Hill Cinemas

3/10
Photograph: Albert Vecerka

Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center

4/10
Photograph: Photograph: Peter Aaron/Esto

Film Forum

5/10

IFC Center

 

 

6/10
Photograph: Timothy Hursley

Museum of Modern Art

7/10
Photograph: Peter Aaron Esto

Museum of the Moving Image

8/10
Photograph: Pedro Feria Pino

Nitehawk Cinema

9/10
Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

reRun Gastropub

10/10
Photograph: Alex Strada

Videology

NYC is a film lover’s dream town—just ask Woody Allen. We’ve assembled a list of the choicest New York movie theaters to see indie gems, great documentaries, cinema classics or new winter releases. There are even some spots where you can nosh on house-made snacks or toss back a drink while you watch.

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BAM Rose Cinemas

Critics' pick

For 15 years, Brooklyn cinéastes have flocked to the four screening rooms at the elegant Peter Jay Sharp Building. Showings, from indies made on a shoestring budget to retrospectives on noted directors, are expertly curated, and big names (Jim Jarmusch, Noah Baumbach) occasionally drop in for prefilm talks. The annual BAMcinemaFest, held each June, screens NYC, U.S. and world premieres, including flicks that have made a splash at Sundance, SXSW and Cannes. $13; seniors, students (Mon–Thu only) and children (weekdays) $9; BAM Cinema Club members $8.

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Fort Greene

Cobble Hill Cinemas

If you’re looking to catch a new blockbuster or awards-season contender, this five-screen throwback is a nice alternative to those maddening multiplexes. Crowds are noticeably more respectful, and retro touches like prescreening announcements to turn off your pagers and refrain from smoking add to the old-school charm. On certain days and times, admission is reduced to seven bones (Tue, Thu all day; Mon, Wed, Fri until 5pm). $10, seniors and children $7; 3D admission $12, children $9; Tue, Thu (except special occasions) $7; Mon, Wed, Fri until 5pm $7.

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Carroll Gardens

Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center

In 2011, Lincoln Center unveiled this ahead-of-the-curve project. The center is split into two super-stylish theaters, plus an 87-seat amphitheater that boasts the largest plasma screen in the world. Heavyweight directors such as Pedro Almodóvar and Oliver Stone have stopped by to talk shop; microbudget indies, cool retrospectives, and critically acclaimed international films and docs round out the programming. $13; students, seniors and children $9; members $8.

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Upper West Side

Film Forum

Critics' pick

This cinephile haven has arguably the best roster of classic films in town—it’s almost as if the Criterion Collection opened its own theater. Many of FF’s revival screenings are presented in spiffy new prints and are occasionally introduced by the stars (Something Wild’s Carroll Baker appears Sat 19 at 4:40pm). The lineup of new international indies is top-notch, too. If you view moviegoing as a nonchatty—or even solo—endeavor, this is the place for you. If you like butter on your popcorn, however, you’re out of luck: FF’s Orville Redenbacher kernels, delicious as they are, come sans the greasy stuff. $12.50, seniors (Mon–Fri before 5pm) and members $7.

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Downtown

IFC Center

Critics' pick

This Village standout hosts a wide variety of offerings on its five screens: new shorts and indies, stoner-friendly midnight movies (Eraserhead, The Big Lebowski), and classic and foreign-film retrospectives. The series here are typically stellar, but our favorite is Stranger than Fiction, which brings docs, their directors and, occasionally, their subjects to the theater on most Tuesday evenings. $13.50, IFC members $8.50, seniors and children 12 and under $9.50.

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West Village

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

This venerable midtown art institution houses three theaters, which hold 50 to 400 film buffs each. It’s a prime spot for classic, arty, under-the-radar and cult fare from across the globe. Currently, MoMA is in the midst of its “Art Theater Guild and Japanese Underground Cinema, 1960–1986” series (through Feb 10). Take advantage of Target Free Friday Nights, when admission to the museum (and all screenings) will cost you zilch between 4 and 8pm. $12, seniors $10, students $8, children free, Fri 4–8pm free.

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Midtown West

Museum of the Moving Image

While promoting the reopening of Astoria’s ginormous homage to the silver screen in 2011, film curator David Schwartz described heading into the 267-seat theater as “entering a spaceship and going on a voyage.” We’re hard-pressed to characterize the trippy, almost podlike space any better. Moving Image manages to land some big gets for Q&As (such as Lincoln scribe Tony Kushner) and programs an intriguing mix of cutting-edge world and experimental cinema, classics (sometimes in that rarely screened, beautiful 70-millimeter format) and New York premieres. $12, seniors and students $9, children 3–12 $6, members and children under 3 free.

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Astoria

Nitehawk Cinema

Critics' pick

The current king of NYC eat-and-booze cinemas (for now—the massive Alamo Drafthouse opens in Downtown Brooklyn in 2015, and then the jury will be out), this popular hybrid serves themed top-shelf cocktails and eats during first-run showings. Nitehawk also programs old faves, brunch and midnight screenings, bands playing over experimental shorts by locals, and viewings that include a beer-pairing dinner. $11, seniors and children $9.

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Williamsburg

reRun Gastropub Theater

Critics' pick

This tiny Dumbo gem closed for a spell last year, but thankfully it reopened in November and is now alive and well. Settle into one of its repurposed car seats and order craft brews, wine and pub grub while enjoying indies by up-and-coming auteurs. Don’t miss Shouting at the Screen (last Thursday of the month at 10:15pm; $7), in which The Daily Show’s Wyatt Cenac and hip-hopper Donwill crack wise during a blaxploitation flick, encouraging attendees to follow suit. $7.

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Financial District

Videology

The back room of this DVD-rental store is the latest addition to NYC’s recent crop of movie spots where you can drink and snack. Outfitted with communal tables, the no-frills space hosts quirky quiz events such as Wes Anderson Bingo (Tue 22 at 8:30pm; free) and screenings of recent releases, cult flicks and TV episodes. With tasty treats (mini s’mores, $1.50 each) and movie-inspired cocktails (Eternal Sunshine Blue Ruin, $8) on offer, there are plenty of reasons to make a night of it. Prices vary.

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Williamsburg

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