New York Tips | A Map of Arthouse Cinema – Sharing My Memory and Joy


When I talked about New York City, I always cannot hold my excitement. Comparing with the New York in my friends’ eyes, I realized that mine is not only marked with landmarks that I have never really been to (the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge), cuisines from around the world (Unadon, Le Sia crayfish, Korean Town, Meet Fresh taro dessert), creative museum (Met Cloister, Tenement Museum), La Mama, Yangtze Rep Theatre, cultural districts (East Village, SOHO, Posteritati vintage movie posters), but more importantly, an arthouse theater map of New York!

New York’s cinemas provide me with the warmest corners – no matter the weather; no matter the mood of myself (and it is one of the cheapest ways to entertain). In particular, the arthouse cinema will screen the popular old classics (IFC Valentine’s Day Casablanca), Japanese anime (Metrograph showed EVA, Ghost in the Shell), various theme screenings, and even allow to eat ramen during the movies (see Alamo Drafthouse Cinema: Paradise for Movie Lovers). Cinema helped me to establish an emotional bond with the city of New York. I also want to pass on this happiness to everyone. Whether you are a New Yorker (you can join the New York Film Club to watch a movie together), or a visitor to do a deep tour, I hope this article is useful to you.

This project cannot be completed without my friends. I am especially grateful to the contributions of them! Thank you for sharing the memory of watching movies in New York and pouring them into the Pensieve of the New York arthouse Cinema. Now let’s go south on the movie map drawn by our memories!

* Ticket purchase method: Whether it is a film festival or a general screening, you can purchase tickets on the official website of the cinema, and show the electronic ticket on the mobile phone to enter the venue. If you don’t want to miss the screening, you can subscribe to the emails on the official website of each movie theater. For more ways to dig out movies, please refer to “Ticketing In North America: Movies of Spring.”


In love with New York and New Yorkers
I hope you can fall in love with New York too


Upper West Side


Film at Lincoln Center

Location: Walter Reade Theatre: 165 W. 65th St. (65th Street side)

Film at Lincoln Center – Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center: 144 W 65th St (on the other side of 65th Street, with 140 seats of Francesca Beale Theater and 85 seats of Howard Gilman Theater)

Features: The mainstay of arthouse film, multi-film exhibition

Lincoln Center is a landmark of New York’s cultural events, and its film screenings are mainly at the Walter Reade Theatre, and also sometimes at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center. In addition to the annual New York Film Festival (NYFF), there are new and old film screenings and more frequent themed film festivals (such as the Asian Film Festival, the New Director film festival, etc.) or retrospectives. Most of the screening modes are digital cinema projection (DCP), while themed film festivals or retrospectives (such as the early queer film festival at the end of April) will have 35mm film screenings. Because of the limited number of cinemas, the film festivals that take place here are particularly long (one week to one month), and some films are only one or two in a series. Most directors will attend their film premiere here for their North America and even the world tour. @Yue


The 50-year-old Lincoln Center (formerly known as the Film Society of Lincoln Center, in order to attract a younger audience, they get rid of society) often holds a variety of film festivals. Recently the New York Asian Film Festival (2019.6.28- 7.14). The date of the New York Film Festival range from  209.9.27 to 10.13. Don’t miss the opportunity to buy a package in advance. There are 3 movie halls in the Lincoln Center. The specific name is in the upper right corner of the ticket. The theater is on both sides of the road. @Vivian


Landmark 57

Location: 657 West 57th Street

Features: comfortable and spacious, standard arthouse cinema

The most comfortable cinema, the seat can be adjusted back  (rare in New York City, more common in other places), large and comfortable space. The employees often walk to the edge of the screen and kindly reminded everyone of the cinema manners. It was very human. The theater is located on the Hudson River, with a wide view of seabirds hovering. There are a lot of seniors in the cinema. Yes, they are the mainstream audience of American art movies (metrograph is a different kind). @Vivian


Upper East Side


Asia Society

Location: 725 Park Ave, New York, NY 10021

Features: the gathering place of famous artists

In October 2018, as part of the Innovative Chinese Culture Festival, the Asia Society presented a series of contemporary Chinese films, inviting Yang Mingming’s Girls Always Happy, Liu Jian’s Have a Nice Day, etc. As a not-for-profit organization, this event is free. Wen Hui’s Red broke the boundaries between documentary and dance and told about the physical discipline related to the Red Detachment and the collective memory of women of different ages. @Vivian


French Institute & Alliance Française (FIAF)

Location: 55 E 59th St

Features: French film, followed by a salon

FI.AF Florence Gould Hall is connected to FI.AF on 60th Street. It is the venue and cinema for many FI.AF events, and occasionally includes music and dance performances from Paris Opera and Ballet. The main hall is medium in size with comfortable seating and high-quality sound like the film festival.

The theater features weekly seminars and screenings, as well as a special Tuesday afternoon/night CinéSalon collection. CinéSalon, as the name implies, is an event that combines the movie ciné with salon, with support from organizations including the French Embassy. Each season, FI.AF will organize a special theme for the invited star/director, focusing on the star/director’s portfolio, which will be specially introduced in French before each screening. Each season, there is a special symposium, and the actor/director will be invited to discuss the film with the audience. The selected film is usually in a multi-language format, mainly in French, but there is no need to worry because FI.AF provides screenings with English subtitles.

At the end of the screening, Le Val and Kronenbourg 1664 offer free drinks, which are fantastic for a movie. The Paris Salon allows the audience to freely communicate outside the cinema. This is a great environment for people who are interested in francophone culture and history.

In terms of personal experience, once I met a seemingly very French gentleman, and he invited me to talk about the movie. It was only after the conversation I got to know he was a Greek and Italian engineer with a lot of enthusiasm for film, food and life. Such movie lovers are very common among the audience here, so the atmosphere is relaxed and the content is rich, which is a perfect French cultural exchange place in New York.

About the price: In the autumn of 2018, I decided to become a member of FI.AF because of my love for French culture. In view of the richness of resources and activities, the members of my choice have a good value for money, especially when purchasing FIAF cinema activities, and the CinéSalon series can be free. Regular fare is $14 and students have a 50% discount. @LadyStephani


Midtown Manhattan


Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

Location: Titus 1/2 Theatre, 11 W. 53th St.

Features: Academic, Pioneer

MoMA’s film screenings are mainly based on retrospectives, such as the retrospective of Straub and Wheelett in early May 2016, the summer of Li Pingbin and the retrospective of Naomi Kawase. The annual film festival was also held at MoMA. For example, Latel Spring, which was shown in BJIFF and SIFF, was premiered at MoMA. The Japanese Shochiku Company sent representatives to attend the premiere event. MoMA has three common movie theaters, and the retrospective cycle is also very long, and the daily screenings are generally in the afternoon (weekends) and evenings. MoMA and the Lincoln Center also have cooperation, such as the annual New Directors/New Films. @Yue


In 2018, I watched An Elephant Sitting Still at MoMA. In 2019, the Suburban Birds Birds of the Suburbs directed by Qiu Sheng Yu was released here and belonged to the New Directors/New Films festival New Directors Exhibition. With the museum’s voucher, you can watch the show for free, and the atmosphere is solemn. @Vivian


Japan Society

Location: 333 E. 47th St.

Features: Japanese new and old movies!

Every summer, Japan Cuts will showcase the new Japanese movies of the year, with some special movies, and release tickets every June. The audience can buy tickets in advance, and hit movies are going fast. In the summer of 2018, I watched Kiki Kirin’s Still Walking. It also screened films such as Hanagatami Flower Basket, The Night is Short, Walk on Girl Spring is a bitter girl, and the BLEACH Death adapted from the animation. Usually, some movie screenings will be noticed in advance, such as the Hayao Miyazaki series. You can visit the museum before you watch a movie, and the museum itself has some of its own activities. @Caroline

AMC Empire25

Location: 234 W 42nd St, New York, NY 10036

Features: Cinema, Chinese, Bollywood * Generally not displayed on the A list app’s home page, you need to search.

When Chinese movies are released on a small scale, AMC Empire25 is usually on the theater list. Although this is a commercial cinema, it is special. I have seen Zhang Yimou’s Shadow here, Bai Xue’s The Crossing (sometimes it is only showing for 2 weeks, so hurry). I always want to ask friends to experience the more joyful Bollywood movies. @Vivian


Lower Manhattan


Quad Cinema

Location: 34 W 13th St.

Features: cool decoration, martial arts movie

According to the official website, Quad is the first multi-screen cinema in New York. It was built in 1972 and reopened in 2016. It is said that this is the base of the martial arts, Ash is Purest White was the first released here in the United States, and the last one off the screen. @Vivian

There are four screens in the cinema, which are Q, U, A, and D (very straightforward names). In general, the theater and screen are relatively small, and each hall can be seated for about 50 people. The films shown are basically independent films. It likes to show independent productions from all over the world, and often have premieres, and the cast and crew will come for a  Q&A. In addition, there will be many retrospectives showing classic movies and the latest repaired version, as well as 35mm! @YOU

Village East Cinema

Location: 181-189 2nd Ave

Features: Jewish Yiddish style theater

The media field during the Tribeca movie was here, and I watched One Child Nation and Lost Transmissions. On December 18th, Wu Hao’s People’s Republic of Desire was shown here for a week. @Vivian

Fourth Wall Cinema (NYU Club)

Location: 721 Broadway, 6th Floor

Features: Free screening of the NYU Film Society every Friday night

Every Friday night during the semester, they organize to screen a foreign language film, which is open to the public from time to time. You can follow the Facebook page for details of each event. The club once invited director Yang Mingming to screen the Female Director. The director Huang Xinyao talked about The Great Buddha Big Buddha short film and documentary and screened five fragments and 120 possibilities 1997 experimental films Blue Moon, and of course other national directors such as Abyssin. The venue is a classroom for NYU cinema studies. It is free! @Vivian

IFC Center

Location: 323 6th Ave.

Features: foreign language films, independent films, documentary films, classic reviews

The IFC Center focuses on the screening of foreign language independent films and documentary films, as well as a specific series of screenings every weekend. From Friday to Sunday morning, there will be The Weekend Classics for specific themes or filmmakers, such as the Fellini Film Festival. There are also midnight movies on Fridays and Saturdays, including Alejandro Jodorowsky’s El Topo and The Holy Mountain. Independent films include films released by their parent company IFC Films. IFC and the Lincoln Center will often show movies at the same time, one in the south and one in the north – providing convenience for fans on Manhattan Island. IFC also often works with Janus Films. @Yue

Hayao Miyazaki’s animations are often shown in the summer. And also screened The House That Jack Built, which was not allowed to show in public. The interior of the theater is old, but it has a scarlet restroom and a convenient location – close to New York University and closer West 4 subway station, and there is a Feida Bakery selling $3.5 rice chicken in lotus leaves. @Vivian

Film Forum

Location: 209 W. Houston St.

Features: academic, film education base

The Film Forum is not far from IFC. Unlike IFC, the Film Forum is the only autonomous non-profit theater in New York. It’s hard to imagine that it has been in business for more than 40 years since 1970. Film Forum leader Karen Cooper plans the premiere of domestic independent film and foreign language arthouse films, while Bruce Goldstein is in charge of the old film and retrospective units. Janus Pictures and Rialto Pictures (a company founded by Goldstein) are key partners, such as Akazawa’s Chaos in 2015 and Pierrot le fou by Godard. @Yue

The Film Forum used itself as a film education base, and I saw Bergman’s films here. In the promotional video, a director said that his taste is cultivated by the Film Forum. After the renovation in 2018, a column moved to the side and solved the problem of blocked sight. @Vivian

Angelika Film Center

Location: 18 W Houston St.

Features: new movies, old posters, cheesecakes

The cinema is located in the hustling SOHO area, and a total of six cinemas are showing independent films. Many independent new films will choose Angelika as the premiere place. The cinema in this theater is also the most deep in New York. In other words, the screen is not very big, but the theater space is particularly deep, so the audience with poor eyesight should sit as close as possible. In addition, since the cinema is underground and close to the MTA, you can feel the vibration of the subway passing by during the movie from time to time. @YOU

Angelika’s cheesecake is very famous. There was a birthday party here and it also contributed to a couple. The cinema is really small! But the old posters posted in the hall are really stylish. @Vivian

Anthology Film Archives (AFA)

Location: 32 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

Features: Academic

AFA is probably the most maverick New York arthouse theaters. Of course, this is because of the founder of the Archives, the famous independent/avant-garde filmmaker Jonas Mekas, who in 1970 and four others (including Stan Brahag) promoted the film as a concept of art. The establishment of the must watch movie collection has then evolved into AFA. The current daily screenings include Essential Cinema, Premieres/Revivals, Retrospectives, and Series. In general, its curatorial ideas are related to the history of the film and the medium of the film itself. AFA’s activities often follow the footsteps of the film industry or academia. For example, the Barthes at the Movies retrospective in April revolves around the legacy of Philip Watts, a professor of French at Columbia University. @Yue


It is of my favorite cinemas in New York, the ticket stub is very distinctive and has student tickets. Some of the film resources are very difficult to find.

This form has the Essential Cinema movie that Yue mentioned. There are currently 536 pieces, which are still being updated. AFA will also occasionally put some very rare short film collections, which are rare to find or see outside of AFA. On Valentine’s Day, they screened  We Won’t Grow Old Together for two consecutive years. @Caroline


Location: 7 Ludlow St.

Features: curatorial awareness is strong, fans are the most fashionable

The Metrograph is located in Chinatown, and although it is next to a funeral parlor, its popularity has not been affected. The curatorial quality since the opening in March this year is very high, and most are 35mm film screenings, many of which are rare (for example, there are only two versions of Carol film in the world). Even with only two screens, Metrograph has hosted a number of themes or retrospectives, including Fassbinder’s favorite top ten (Visconti The Damned , Pasolini The 120 Days of Sodom, Max Ophüls  Lola Montès , etc. and Brian De Palma retrospective exhibition, it became one of the most visited movie spots in New York in just a few months. @Yue

I especially like curator Aliza Ma, who has shown many excellent Chinese films. In May 2018, Zhang Aijia was invited to do her retrospective exhibition, as well as a post-show, which made people very surprised. She said that because there are only two screens, there is room for mistakes, so you can try to screen a variety of films. I still remember watching the Carnival movie, the night of thunder and lightning, the happiness of eating squid in the restaurant on the second floor of the theater with friends. In November 18th, there was also the Creative Chinese Culture Festival in cooperation with the Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation. There were special screenings of Huang Ji and Yang Li Na, highlighting the female voices in the independent film filed..

Aliza Ma once told me that because the theater is not big, there are only two screens, so she is willing to do an experiment. The theater tries to save money, so it does not make too much publicity. It has a great catalog and attracts fans with a yellowish retro atmosphere. The style of the webpage is also vintage like, and the curatorial message is well written. @Vivian

China Institute

Location: 40 Rector St, 2nd floor

Features: Film Society Film Society

It does not have a formal cinema, but there are projection devices. President Zhou established the Film Commune in September of 18, and currently screened Crow and Sparrow, Platform, The Troubleshooters and other films @Vivian




Museum of the Moving Image (MoMI)

Location: 36-01 35th Ave., Queens

Features: Academic

Like MoMA, MoMI’s screenings are part of the museum’s curatorial content (each screening has a well-prepared handout). The screenings are mainly retrospectives and national film festivals. For example, in the summer of 2016, MoMI held two large retrospectives of Sang-soo Hong and Ahn Zhe back to back. A, the screening of MoMI arthouse films seems to be slower, and the films that were missed at FSLC or IFC can be added later in MoMI. It is worth mentioning that in May 16th, Anna Karina came to New York to participate in the North American premiere of Godard’s Bande à part, and held screenings at the Film Forum, BAM and MoMI. It can be seen that although the arts and cinemas in New York are separate, they will cooperate and complement each other in many cases (not to mention the circulation of staff). @Yue

MOMI is also a movie theater that I like very much. Every time I walk into the auditorium, I feel like going through time and space. The seat is friendly and does not block the sight. @Caroline




Film Noir Cinema

Location: 122 Meserole Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222

Features: private cinema renovation

A small cinema changed from a private video hall, and there is enough parking space around. The owner is a very interesting Polish man. His reading is very impressive. Basically, only one film is screened every day. According to the owner’s personal preference, Cult is often screened. @Caroline



Location: 136 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249

Features: Cocktails with movies

The only theatre that screens The Last Night on Earth at midnight. Great for drink and sleep. @Vivian


Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Downtown Brooklyn

Location: 445 Albee Square W #4, Brooklyn, NY 11201 (in City Point Shopping Center)

Features: fan curation, theme catering

See the long story by Siyuan: Alamo Drafthouse Cinema: Paradise Cinemas for Movies


Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

Location: Brooklyn Center

Coordinates: BAM Rose Cinemas, 30 Lafayette Ave., Brooklyn

Features: Focus on social issues

In order to provide convenience to Brooklyn fans, the historic BAM (known as the Academy, the Performing Arts Center) was converted into a cinema in 1998 to showcase old films and independent films. Similar to the Lincoln Center, BAM is Brooklyn’s cultural center with movies, operas, dramas, lectures, concerts, and more. Compared with other theaters, the BAM art theater has a lower curatorial frequency, but the selection is also unique. @Yue

Elegantly decorated, carved top, crystal light. Charlie Chaplin reminds you to turn off or mute your phone. The paper Line Up is very beautiful. The theme of BAM curation emphasizes the colored people and women, and it has a strong sense of innovation. @Vivian

Authors who contributed to this article:

@YUE 2016.9
Originally published in Deep Focus “In New York, It’s a Crime Not Watching Arthouse Movies”
@You 2018.8
@Caroline 2018.10
@LadyStephani 2019.03
@Siyuan 2019.03
@Vivian 2019.06


PS: I hope this is a constantly improving map. We welcome your cinema evaluation and suggestions. If there are missing theaters, I hope you leave a message below.

At the same time, I am slowly forming a New York Film Group, LA Film Group and America Film Film Group outside the two places, hoping to connect strangers through movies. If you are interested in seeing movies together, online recommendations, or have any questions, you can send “Name + City” to my WeChat vivian_afro.

I hope you enjoy the movie! For city and city rovers, give them more love, and less loneliness. 


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