The Upper West Side’s beloved Metro Theater has been sitting as an Art Deco time capsule on Broadway (between 99th & 100th St.) for nearly 20 years. But, in some good news for NYC historic buildings, it will soon be restored and reopened as a “Community Entertainment Center” the owner told various news outlets.
Though there have been many potential tenants over the years that all eventually fell through, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levin told the New York Post and Gothamist that he is in communication with the new tenants (who are remaining anonymous for now) and the lease has been officially signed. “I can tell you unambiguously that this is real, it’s happening, and it’s a best case scenario,” Levine said.
The building dates back to the ’30s, which you can see from its Art Deco-inspired design elements on its landmarked exterior — from the retro comedy and tragedy medallion to the light-up marquee. According to the arts preservation group Friends of the Metro Theater, it presented first-run films from 1933 through the ’50s, in the ’60s it showed art-house films, and in the ’70s and ’80s it was even a porn theater. It was originally known as “The Midtown.”
The owners told local paper the West Side Rag that its new iteration will stay true to its movie theater history with a “multi-screen cinema center and independent film showings,” plus “restaurant facilities and meeting rooms available on a rental basis.”
There is some speculation that NYC’s Alamo Drafthouse could be taking over, as they were actually set to do so back in 2012, but no official announcement has been made as of yet.
The new cinema is said to be opening in 2023.