When it comes to movie theaters, NYC doesn't exactly have an embarrassment of riches. We've all sat in theaters with broken air conditioners, taped-up screens and incompetent concessions employees. But with chain theater admission dropping, a new generation of dine-in theaters are popping up to reclaim the cinematic experience. Before Alamo Drafthouse and a second Nitehawk Cinema arrive in Brooklyn next year, Manhattan's South Street Seaport will launch the city's first iPic theater on October 7.
Opening concurrently with the swanky new Fulton Market, the iPic will feature eight 43-138-seat theaters, with built in tables and aisles for "ninja-trained waitresses" to flash down during the movie. But unlike its Brooklyn competitors, iPics reserves in-movie ordering and wait services for "premium plus" seats ($29), while premium seats ($14) must carry in snacks from the concession stand like peasants. The premium plus option features unlimited popcorn, a full for-pay menu of contemporary American food designed by Chef Sherry Yard and drinks by Adam Seger; along with leather seats, pillows and blankets. Premium plus guests can even summon waitresses with a button, like the ones on airplanes that flight attendants hate. That said, lowly premium purchasers aren't totally screwed: they can still pick from a range of "gourmet popcorns," old-school movie candies and drinks at the concession stand.
To patrons of Nitehawk, where in-movie table service always applies, this division may seem pretty ridiculous. But for fans who want to have leather seats and a guarantee of a classy night with their favorite movies, iPic may offer an ideal treat-yourself experience. We can't wait to see the competition among artisanal theaters go to the next level.