Alamo Drafthouse Goes to New York

The beloved Texas chain opens a location on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. 

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Cinema Treasures via Alamo Drafthouse

Finally, New York City has a decent movie theater besides Martin Scorsese’s screening room: Alamo Drafthouse has announced it’s opening a location in Manhattan. 

The Austin-based chain will open up a five-screen complex at the former Metro Theater on New York’s Upper West Side, on Broadway between 99th Street and 100th Street.  

The news was quickly picked up all over the “Magnited States of America” (to borrow a line from the Drafthouse’s famous anti-talking PSA) including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and, of course, Twitter: 

“New York’s getting an Alamo Drafthouse before Los Angeles?” wrote Drew McWeeney of Hit Fix. “That’s enough incentive for me to start a bloody East Coast/West Coast feud, because I am filled with envy for anyone who gets to go.”

At Entertainment Weekly, Adam B. Vary said that Alamo was “long hailed as the best movie theater in the country.”

As Lou Lumenick of the New York Post explained, the opportunity for Alamo to legally enter the New York market is fairly recent: legislation allowing movie theaters to serve liquor was just passed last year, in part because of lobbying by the owners of the Nitehawk Cinemas in Williamsburg.

But Alamo president Tim League told Richard Whittaker of the Austin Chronicle that there is far less New York City competition in the broader sense than one might think.

“There’s not nearly as many cinemas as there should be in Manhattan for the population,” League said.

“There’s probably no greater density of movie nerds than in New York,” he added.

League also told the Chronicle that Alamo’s participation in the SXSW Film Festival has created “early adopters for who we are” around the country and that being in New York will also help its Drafthouse Films distribution arm.

Because the Metro is in need of major renovations (it was almost turned into an Urban Outfitters and also used to be a porn house), New York cinephiles will have to wait until 2013 for their Alamo experience. New York magazine television critic (and long-ago Dallas Observer writer) Matt Zoller Seitz is ready:

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