When my father was a teenager, one of his favorite things to do was to hide in the trunk of his buddy’s car and sneak into the drive-in movie theater right around the corner from his house. After getting caught multiple times, he found more creative ways to watch his favorite flicks; breaking into his neighbor’s backyard and cutting a hole in the fence adjacent to the theater’s parking lot wasn’t off the table. Needless to say, film was a big deal in our family. We went to the movies every weekend and saw everything.
So I sympathized with regular moviegoers who called Quad Cinema home when the historic theater closed its doors back in 2015 for a 21st-century makeover. The Quad made its debut as New York’s first multiscreen theater in 1972, when playing four films simultaneously was equivalent to the release of the latest iPhone model—a technological game changer. The theater finally reopened in April with some impressive multimillion-dollar updates, including state-of-the-art projection and sound systems, a video wall assembled by 32 flat-screens, and a brand-new Quad Bar complete with a curated selection of beer and wine. The luxurious setting offers fewer seats for a more intimate movie-going experience and boasts a modernized look that, according to Quad’s website, is “typically seen in European cinémathèques.” The theater’s exterior may be unrecognizable from its old self, but the heart of the original cinema can still be found with the head projectionist and managers, who have returned as part of the staff since its closing.
Why You Should Go: Don’t expect to catch the new Marvel blockbuster here; the Quad has tapped C. Mason Wells (formerly of IFC Center) as director of programming and Gavin Smith (former editor of Film Comment magazine) as senior programmer. Together, they’ve found a balance between screening first-runs, notable classics, and retrospectives—ranging from foreign and documentary to grindhouse and obscure independent films.
34 West 13th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues), Greenwich Village
$15; $12 for seniors and children
Make your day in the village picture perfect with this itinerary: