HISTORIC METRO THEATER TO BECOME A MOVIE THEATER ONCE AGAIN!

The Upper West Side is getting a new movie theater! And not just any theater, but a really cool one that serves food and drinks to you in your seat!

Yahoo! Or as the theater company said in its press release “Holy moly, you guys.”

Okay, enough exclamation points. Here are the details:

The Alamo Drafthouse, an Austin Texas theater, is going to open a new theater in the historic Metro Theater on Broadway between 99th and 100th Streets, the company announced in a press release today. That theater has sat empty for years, and been the subject of all sorts of sad legal wrangling. The Drafthouse will open next year, although the exact opening date is unclear.

Update: Check out West Side Rag’s exclusive interview with the president of the Alamo Drafthouse previewing the opening.

This is no ordinary theater company moving in: The Drafthouse offers full meal service at your seat while you watch a movie. It’s also famous for a notoriously strict no cellphone policy — they have no problem kicking people out who use their phones during a movie!

This opening news is particularly special because the Upper West Side was once known for its great independent movie theaters, before all of them closed down. For old-timers, the loss of those theaters is one of the saddest changes to the neighborhood. The Metro Theater, which opened in 1933 as the Midtown Theater, was a particular neighborhood favorite.

Here’s the release:

“Austin, TX— Thursday, April 5, 2012— Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is pleased to unveil its plans for its first location in New York.  The five-screen Manhattan-area theater will be owned and operated by Alamo Drafthouse and located on the Upper West Side, occupying the former Metro Theater at 2626 Broadway.

“My often-stated top priority for the Alamo Drafthouse has been to open a venue in New York,” said Alamo founder and CEO Tim League.  “When we discovered the availability of the historic Metro theater, we immediately knew we had found the perfect location for our new Manhattan home.”

The venue will feature five screens of new releases, repertory programming and the Alamo’s unique signature programming.  Like all Alamo Drafthouse theaters, the Alamo Drafthouse at the Metro will provide food and drink service to your seat and will uphold its famously strict no-talking policy.  The new theater is currently scheduled to open in 2013.

Alamo Drafthouse is now accepting applications for managers, kitchen staff, creative programmers, bartenders and waiters for the upcoming Manhattan theater.  Employment applications can be downloaded at www.drafthouse.com/about/employment

I’ll have more on this as soon as I catch my breath. Thanks to Gavan Vogler for the tip.

Image of Metro Theater in its heyday via Alamo Theater.

ART, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 11 comments | permalink

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    1. David T says:

      AWESOME. Very exciting to not just get a movie theatre back, but this type – movie + dinner, all-in-one. Yeah!

    2. Anthony says:

      I’ll be there opening night – fersure! I’m only sorry that the equally HISTORIC INTERIOR was ruthlessly ripped out and trashed by the creeps that built those two monstrosities on either side of Broadway right next to the theater.
      Remember those two BEE-YOO-TIFUL Art Deco ladies on either side of the screen staring into the basins they were holding in their hands?
      We’ll never see THAT again!

    3. Kyle M says:

      This. Is. Amazing. The best possible addition to the neighborhood!

    4. Eve says:

      This is awesome. I’m so glad this theater will re-open.. and a dine in movie theater at that… very much looking foward to it!

    5. Cato says:

      Wait — a strict no-cell-phones policy? A policy against talking during the movie?

      Are there really enough moviegoers over the age of 50 on the Upper West Side to support such an arcane business model??

      I’ll be there! Anybody else??

    6. D.R. says:

      Very disappointing.

      I just got excited until I recognized the
      name of the infamous chain that prohibits cell phones. Another place to add to my boycott list – after Century 21 that took over the best bookstore in the world. What’s next – no coughing and no laughing during a movie?

    7. Norbert White says:

      Overjoyed!

    8. Seth says:

      #6 – Very confusing comment. People yapping/texting on cell phones, talking, etc. during movies is what makes going to theaters SO anoying. What is your problem? This looks like a lovely addition to the ‘hood!

      #2 – Good pt. Sad losing those (I remember them from when I was a kid), but at least the marquee remains and this will be a theater again, we need it!

      Since the Metro and Olympia closed, there is not a theater b/w 84 and 125. This is great. Welcome Alamo, thanks for coming!!!

    9. Alan Flacks says:

      Please, let us stop nit-picking and criticizing people’s motives.
      1. Nemo, Olympia, Metro, Riverside, Riviera, Thalia (daily basis), New Yorker–gone. A welcome addition/return, especially because of the too many empty storefronts along B’way.
      2. So what, no cellular telephones. Turn ‘em off. Suggestion: why hasn’t anyone synthesized a human cough as the signal for an incoming call. You hear it, get up (if you want to answer your telephone instead of watch the movie, show, concert), leave and then answer or return that call-which-absolutely-cannot-wait.
      3. Personally, I do not like these movie or play cum comestibles venues. Will there be a separate, lower price for those of us who only want to see the movie?
      Thank you.

    10. Henry Berg says:

      Awesome! The only other Alamo on the east coast was opened a few years ago in my old hometown by a friend of the family and it’s fantastic. Serving customers quietly and in the dark is tricky for the staff to learn so let’s be patient if they need a little time to work things out.

      I’m curious what they’re going to have to do to the laws of physics to fit 5 screens and a kitchen space in that building, it just doesn’t seem that big!

    11. Drew Stone says:

      Please stay in Texas and don’t turn my neighborhood into Lincoln Center. Not looking forward to noisy drunk people stumbling out of the theater at 1:00 in the morning. and never being able to park my car again when I come home at night. Soon there will be a bank at every corner and people will be lamenting “The neighborhood lost all it’s charm”.