The Last Picture Show in Bloomingdale
By Caitlin Hawke
Missing Lincoln Plaza Cinemas, my thoughts turned to the landmarked Metro Twin at 2626 Broadway and I recalled I had this old newsletter article (below).
You'll see that the account is about the Metro's last gasp as a movie house almost 13 years ago. Its current state of not-so-benign neglect is a tale worth telling and retelling. There's more about the house's chronology here. But the truth is, aside from a near-miss with the Alamo Drafthouse chain and rumors of a fitness center moving in, there's not been much action at the Metro since this article was written.
I know many in the area hold out hope that it can be revived as a cinema. But sadly, I doubt the Metro could serve again for films because, it was gutted to make room for a big box-type store. I've suspected that the expense of making it back into a multiplex is what scared off the Alamo folks.
And the Metro's exterior is not a pretty picture, as the marquis begins to sag. That's what I mean by not-so-benign neglect. The community really should organize to find some solution so the whole thing doesn't just crumble around our feet. It's happened before around here: the Riverside Theatre at 96th and Broadway suffered a collapse and was demolished around 1974. It could well happen again with the Metro.
And now, just as cinephiles are despairing over the loss of Lincoln Plaza, good news may be in store. Norma Levy, a film-loving Upper West Sider has organized a movement called Coalition for a New Cinema that has incorporated, put up a website, formed committees and begun to raise funds to keep an independent cinema operating somewhere on the UWS. Over 11,000 people signed a petition to try to save Lincoln Plaza, so Levy began to explore options. With a "New Plaza Cinema" as the goal, the Coalition was formed in the hope of "creating and operating a new cinema devoted to quality independent and foreign films on the Upper West Side of Manhattan."
We might just get our own little Metrograph if these movers and shakers get the help they need from the community. The Coalition is looking for help to draft a business plan, raise funds and get the word out. You are hereby invited to attend an organizing meeting:
When: April 17, 7 p.m.
Where: 142 West End Avenue, Apt. 27L (entrance is on 66th Street between Amsterdam and West End)
What: to hear further details on progress and plans and obtain community input on the effort to open a new movie theater.
Read more here. (H/t to neighbor Esther R. for the news.)
So two mysteries to be solved: will the New Plaza rise and will the Metro rise again?
And now, one from the vault dated September 2005.