Why You Should Visit the Metrograph

Steve Zausner, Managing Partner of Fission Ventures, reminisces about NYC’s Lower East Side and its “cinephile paradise” on Ludlow

In the ’90s, when I was a young post-grad and looking for cheap housing (and dive bars), I moved to NYC’s Lower East Eide, an area rich in history and often the first stop for many immigrants in the late-19th and early-20th centuries.

One day, I was walking around the neighborhood with my father, the child of one of those immigrants. He had grown up blocks from my residence. As we walked ‘round my neighborhood (his old neighborhood), he said: “I spent my whole life working to get out of this neighborhood, and here you are moving back in. Funny, how things change.”

Things do, indeed, change. The still-grimy Lower East Side of my youth is now the sparkling new hub of NYC nightlife, filled with fancy bars, clubs, boutique hotels, and an outpost of the tony Soho House. The cinephile paradise The Metrograph Theatre, located at 7 Ludlow Street, is one of the area’s anchors.

A boutique theater with two screens that play indie films, The Metrograph has a few new offerings, but the majority are cult classics, movies you should’ve watched by now, and movies you’ve never heard of. Seats are comfortable and assigned, and, in a nod to the past, it’s even got a balcony.

One tip: come early. Seats fill fast, especially on weekends, and the mid-century-mod snack bar is worth the trip alone. Oh, and you don’t want to miss the Metrograph Commissary. As Bon Appetit describes it: “The restaurant is outfitted with lush, blue velvet curtains and leather banquets fit for an MGM exec. The food is modern American (picture Gloria Swanson eating burrata with salsa verde).”

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