Somewhere along the line, going to see a movie has become less of a cultural experience and more like a trip to Disneyworld. From supersized candy to bogus rom-coms, there’s nothing cool about the multiplex.Enter Metrograph, a specialty cinema that’s newly opened on the streets of the Lower East Side,where galleries, cafes and bespoke tailors abound.
Founded by Alexander Olch, an LES-based tie designer and filmmaker whose unabashed love for movies fueled his desire to create a space for archival print screenings and beloved classics to screen side-by-side in the two beautifully outfitted theaters that project both 35mm and digital video.
This is the kind of theater where a retrospective of Madonna’s film career runs concurrently with Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai. NYC has never seen an art-house theater quite like this. Hot summer days call for seeking cool refuge, and we’ve found ourselves chilling at Metrograph, picking up a package of Pocky sticks at the candy shop and taking in Dog Day Afternoon and an amazing run of Cassavetes films featuring his wife and muse Gena Rowlands.
Metrograph is so dedicated to the art of film they print an actual program, on paper, that acts as a seasonal programming calendar you can take home and peruse at leisure. The cinema also houses The Commissary, a restaurant inspired by the eateries on the grounds of Hollywood studios during the golden age, when people actually sat to eat meals.
Scarf down a panzanella salad or grab a late-night burger after a double feature and take in the scene in the lovely, clubby-feeling room, which has become a hub for the downtown movie set. It’s thrilling to have a place to escape to mid-day, when inspiration is short and stress is high. We’re hoping more places like Metrograph pop up,
because we’re going to find it hard to do mass movies ever again.