Independent Film Houses Already Interested in Old Lincoln Plaza Space

Lincoln Plaza Cinemas before it closed. Photo by Sonja Noring.

Lincoln Plaza Cinemas at 62nd and Broadway closed at the end of January, and the owners told politicians at a recent meeting that they’re already hearing interest from other theaters in the space.

Council Member Helen Rosenthal and other leaders met with the owners, Milstein Properties, earlier this month. Rosenthal has urged the owners to maintain the space as an art theater after renovations. Her update is below:

On February 8th, Borough President Gale Brewer, Assemblymember Dick Gottfried, State Senator Brad Hoylman, and I met with Milstein Properties to discuss their plans for 1886 Broadway.

Milstein explained that they are beginning long-planned renovation work on both the outdoor plaza and the theater space this Spring, with the specific intention of maintaining 1886 Broadway as a film venue. They also told us that they have been approached by some independent film house operators who are interested in the space, and they will be pursuing these discussions.

Milstein has committed to updating our office on a regular basis as they proceed with their renovation plans. We are cautiously optimistic about Milstein’s intent to maintain an independent art theater and will be keeping a close eye on how the renovations unfold. As we noted in our January letter to Milstein, it is vitally important to the Upper West Side community, and to film culture in New York City, that we continue to nurture independent art theaters.

A rep for Milstein did not respond to a request for comment.

NEWS | 33 comments | permalink
    1. Sid says:

      I’m not very hopeful on this front. When other “old NY” places have closed, the real estate folks and developers always promise to do the same thing, and never do.

      If they intend to keep it an independent cinema, why not work with LPC on renovations? I’d much prefer LPC than to have a group like Metrograph come in.

      • L'urbaniste says:

        Yup! Can’t trust them dang developers and real-estate folk!

        Why, all they do is put up architecturally spectacular new buildings that make Manhattan look like the world-class place it IS, and not like Sacramento.

        ALSO, about them tricky developers of that spectacular one-of-a-kind sail-shaped VIA building on W. 57th; ya know what they done?

        They put a brand-new Landmark picture-house on the retail level, and it’s currently showing the Oscar-nominated foreign film “The Insult”, which Lincoln Plaza would have shown.

        BUT, the new Landmark smells a lot better!

        • Sid says:

          I’ve worked in real estate with developers building new projects and have also been involved in preservation efforts in other neighborhoods. The two are not mutually exclusive.

          I have no qualms about new development. I do also like the new Landmark Theater on 57th and the VIA building it’s housed in.

          That doesn’t mean I can’t also believe that the Millstein family is disingenuous or that I miss LPC.

        • lynn says:

          There’s an empty building sitting there. What do you suggest they do with it? I really don’t understand your argument.

          • Sid says:

            Lynn: All I was saying is that I find the Milstein’s to be disingenuous about their claims to keep the space for independent cinema.

        • Jen says:

          Not even sure what comment is about. Some sort of cheerleading regarding what? All new developments are good, old stuff is bad?
          Nice opening with “Yup!”

        • Bishop says:

          The Insult DID play at Lincoln Plaza in the weeks before it closed. The ticket cost $15 (it’s $18.50 at Landmark 57) and one didn’t have to travel to the Henry Hudson Highway to see it.

    2. Tom says:

      ALAMO DRAFT HOUSE? Would make fortune in that location.

    3. Bruce Bernstein says:

      Sid said:

      “I’d much prefer LPC than to have a group like Metrograph come in.”

      what’s the beef with Metrograph? i didn’t know that it was more than 1 theater on the LES… i just attended for the first time this past weekend, and it seemed ok — other than out of the way (Ludlow Street).

    4. Amelia says:

      What was the name of the wonderful movie theater on the UWS that played old movies, movie musicals, in double features. With special rates for seniors? I’ve reached the age of serious forgetting. Does anyone remember? It was such a great place!

      • Bill says:

        You’re probably thinking of the Regency at 67th and Broadway. I spent many a happy afternoon/evening there, tucked within those mercurochrome-tinted walls. How I fondly I remember the night I saw “Gone With The Wind”. As Scarlett was fiercely proclaiming “I’ll never eat another radish again!” and the camera pulled majestically back … the house lights suddenly popped on and the Max Steiner score was wiped out by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. Them was the days!

      • K. says:

        Do you mean The Regency? I forgot all about double features!

      • could you be thinking of the Regency or Thalia? The Regency always showed musical film and older ones. Miss that theatre so much.

      • Ben says:

        Could you be thinking of the Regency?

      • Suzy says:

        The New Yorker on 89th B’way?
        Olympia on 107th B’way?
        The Thalia on 95th B’way?

      • pumpkinpie says:

        Are you perhaps thinking of the Regency Theatre? Its repertoire of film classics was a treasure. The only time I ever saw an entire movie audience spontaneously jump to its feet in a roaring, electrifying standing ovation was at the Regency after Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell finished dancing ‘Begin the Beguine’from BROADWAY MELODY OF 1940.

      • Bishop says:

        You may be thinking about The Regency, Broadway at 67th, which closed in 1987. It’s manager, Frank Rowley, later ran The Biograph on West 57th, and one in Chelsea before eventually working for Lincoln Plaza Cinemas until it closed in January.

    5. Harriet F. says:

      I loved, loved loved Lincoln Plaza Cinema. But don’t people get it, that the former owner/operators are now too old to commit to a 10 year lease, and all the work involved. I believe we will have an art cinema there, it will not be as cheap, but it will also not be falling apart. Things change…..always.

    6. Andrea Gouvea Vieira Vieira says:

      Torcendo para dar certo!

    7. Lauren says:

      AND there is a BIG need for a movie house in the void between 84th and 125th on Bway!!!!

      There’s the old Metro STILL empty for a decade or more but there’s 40+blocks with no movies!

      Keep the old Lincoln Sq location for an art house but also consider one NORTH – Columbia is nearby and there IS a need!!!

    8. Patricia says:

      God bless you, for following up on this.I applaud your efforts.
      We must win this battle.
      I will contact Gottfried etc ,to pursue this.
      Thank you

    9. Natalie Helms says:

      Please keep independent films in this location.

    10. Reed says:

      and why isn’t there a concern with the Metro? It has been vacant for years and would certainly be a much needed asset for the entire Upper West Side. The area north of West 96 is void of cultural activities.

    11. sima ariam says:

      very good news. we miss the “good” movies.!

    12. Ground Control says:

      There isn’t a reason in the world to not have given a new lease to the Talbot group who wanted it to continue the wonderful, cutting edge film franchise they created. I would contend the only reason they didn’t get one was because of the astronomical rent Mr. Milstein will eventually demand. The Talbot’s could have and would have taken their franchise into the future. It’s the Milsteins that made that impossible. While I’m grateful that our elected leaders took a stand, I think that the loss is still great and will not be made whole. I would love to see the sadly unused Metro be turned into an art movie house with the Talbots placed at the helm.

      • geoff says:

        you use the word ‘franchise’. is that what their business actually was, a franchise? i thought it was an independent, sole proprietorship, maybe a partnership.

        KFC is a franchise, and owners have some independence, but not much.

        how does ‘franchise’ relate to this business?

    13. Rochelle Rachelson says:

      I truly hope so. We film lovers are desperate for a venue to see our beloved independents 💋

    14. UWSHebrew says:

      Lincoln Plaza was a dump and should have been closed years ago.

    15. Jim says:

      The planned renovation work on the outdoor plaza will be great for Condo Owners but bad for the public. There will be less seating and when 30 Lincoln showed the plans to Owners several years ago the waterfall was not included. We even had a security guard hired to escort homeless folks from sleeping in this public space, cant have poor people around this condo..

    16. naro says:

      There is not much else except movie theatre that can be done with this windowless basement location.