One of New York City’s most iconic independent cinemas is closing its doors.
Last Friday, news broke that Lincoln Plaza Cinema, a New York movie house known for screening independent and foreign films, is closing in January. Situated in a basement at Broadway and 62nd Street, the spot has become a go-to for a devoted community of cinephiles looking to skirt the crowds at big box theaters across town. The theater opened in 1981, and the space and its six screens have since been run by the husband-and-wife duo of Dan and Toby Talbot.
Deadline first reported the news of Lincoln Plaza’s closure, and in the following days the building’s owners, Milstein Properties, issued a statement noting that the theater is closing for “vital structural work needed to repair and waterproof the plaza surrounding the building.” The company also said the space will re-open as a new movie theater once the renovations are complete, but did not confirm whether or not the Talbots would be involved in the new operation.
The theater’s closure is the latest blow to New York’s film community, which has seen several other beloved cinemas shutter in recent years. In 2016, Ziegfield movie theater closed after 47 years. This past fall, the owners of the Lower East Side’s Landmark Sunshine Cinema announced that the theater will close for good when its lease expires in January 2018.
While stalwarts like Lincoln Plaza are slowly fading away, New York film aficionados can take solace in several new arthouse theaters that have opened recently, like Metrograph, Alamo Drafthouse and the refurbished Quad Cinemas.
Even with this new generation of places to catch a flick, the announcement of Lincoln Plaza’s closure is a punch to the gut for the community that’s formed around the theater over the past 30-plus years. In 2014, writer Jon Ronson aptly explained the spot’s appeal as such: “When you leave the cinema and step out into the Lincoln Center/Columbus Circle panorama it’s like exiting one movie and entering another.”