Our Places Title

Five of New York's Best Arthouse Cinemas

by Moderator November 2011 - last edited October by Virgin-Atlantic

Earlier this year we published five of our favourite independent cinemas in London, and now we're hopping over the pond to New York City to highlight a handful of our favourite movie theatres in Manhattan (and one in Brooklyn) dedicated to the best of arthouse film, cult classics and new releases fresh from the world's best film festivals...


Landmark's Sunshine Cinema

A film buff's fantasy, the Lower East Side's Sunshine Cinema started out in life as a Yiddish vaudeville theatre when it opened as the Houston Hippodrome in 1909. After World War II it closed its doors to the public and became a warehouse, but was rescued and renovated in 1996 and now houses five beautifully-restored auditoriums and draws arthouse, cult and classic cinema lovers from all over the city and beyond. Full of nice touches like a range of seasonings for your popcorn, an espresso bar, plenty of lobby seating and ten dollar midnight showings of classic movies on Saturday nights.



Landmark Sunshine, Lower East Side by mokolabs on Flickr.com

Landmark Sunshine, Lower East Side by mokolabs on Flickr.com


143 East Houston Street on the Lower East Side. Take the F Train to the 2nd Avenue Stop. The theatre is located between 1st and 2nd Avenues.

Angelika Film Center

Another cinephiles' favourite, the Angelika Film Center in Soho is known for its thoughtful programming of feature documentaries, independent and foreign-language films, with a reputation for bringing the most hotly-tipped crop of movies from top international film festivals to its screens. The spacious lobby cafe serves well as a place for discussion (or heated debate) before or after a movie, or just to sit and reflect over a gourmet coffee and slice of New York cheesecake. It's also open to the public regardless of whether or not you're watching a film. And that occasional rumble you might hear? It's the subway beneath you.



Angelika Film Center by hobokenvie on Flickr.com

Angelika Film Center by hobokenvie on Flickr.com


18 West Houston St (at Mercer St). Take the B, D, F or V train to Broadway/Lafayette St. Exit at the west end of the station.


Paris Theater, New York by litherland on Flickr.com

Paris Theater, New York by litherland on Flickr.com



Paris Theatre

Located in the heart of midtown Manhattan just off Fifth Avenue and next door to the Bergdorf Goodman department store, the plush Paris Theatre opened in 1948 with Marlene Dietrich cutting the inaugural ribbon. The cavernous single-screen auditorium is well-known for its spacious, comfortable seating and great sightlines, in both the main and balcony levels, and is often used as a venue for premieres of international and independent movies, along with the odd Hollywood flick. The Lovely Bones, Remember Me, Iris and Moulin Rouge all received the red-carpet treatment here.


4 West 58th Street at 5th Avenue. Take the N, Q or R train to 5th Ave/59th Street.

Film Forum

With aspirations to be an alternative screening space for independent film, the Film Forum was opened by two film fanatics in 1970, with nothing more than a single projector and a collection of folding chairs. Fast forward forty-odd years and today the Film Forum is a non-profit, three-screen cinema in Soho, showing a meticulously-curated range of foreign and American indies alongside director retrospectives, festivals and the work of emerging filmmakers.



Film Forum New York by photojenni on Flickr.com

Film Forum New York by photojenni on Flickr.com


209 West Houston Street between 6th and 7th Aves. Nearest subways: West 4th/6th Ave, Spring St and Houston St.

BAM Rose Cinemas

Across the bridge in elegant Fort Greene, Brooklyn, the BAM Rose Cinemas are part of the renowned Brooklyn Academy of Music, a centre for the arts which celebrates 150 years this year. Opened in 1998, the four-screen Rose Cinemas were created from the 1,000-seater Corey Playhouse, and specialise in first-run arthouse films, often with guest speakers, as well as repertory and offbeat cinema, revivals of old classics and family favourites. Don't forget to look up and admire the old playhouse's impeccably-restored moulded ceilings and proscenium arch.



BAM Rose Cinemas by wallyg on Flickr.com

BAM Rose Cinemas by wallyg on Flickr.com


30 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn, NY. A wide range of public transport will take you there - here's more info.

Virgin Atlantic operate daily flights to New York - log on to www.virginatlantic.com for the latest fares.

Header photo: © Pavel Losevsky | Dreamstime.com.Thanks to the following Flickr photographers: Film Forum by photojenni, Sunshine Theater by mokolabs, Angelika by hobokenvie, BAM Rose Cinemas by wallyg, Paris Theater by litherland.

To leave a comment, please log in with Facebook.
If you liked this, you may also like
Author Avatar

About the author: Maxine

Maxine Sheppard

Maxine is the editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.