The Film Buff’s Guide to Lower Manhattan 

01/17/2024 in
The Film Buff’s Guide to Lower Manhattan 

Everyone knows that any time New York City appears in a movie, it’s always the main character. And Lower Manhattan is the main character-iest, with the neighborhood starring in films ranging from “Wall Street” to“John Wick.” But downtown isn’t just a living film set; it’s also a great place to be a film buff. You’ve got your pick of some of the best theaters in the city, a museum full of international movie posters and a world-renowned film academy. Here’s how to have a reel-y good time: 

Theaters

Some of the best theaters in all five boroughs can be found right here in Lower Manhattan. The Regal Battery Park (102 North End Ave.) is not only attached to a hotel, creating a dream staycation bingecation scenario, but it’s also renowned as one of the most comfortable theaters around, thanks to its big, reclining seats. 

Then there’s the Alamo Drafthouse (28 Liberty St.) which debuted its 14 screens in 2021. The first Alamo location in Manhattan, the dinner-and-drinks-serving theater pays homage to a couple of New York legends. First, after filmmaker Ivan Reitman died in 2022, the theater renamed itself the Ivan Reitman Cinema in his honor. Second, Alamo contains some 55,000 films belonging to the late, great East Village independent video rental store Kim’s Video — and, yes, they’re available to borrow for free. 

And for a movie experience fit for royalty, head to the Seaport — itself the setting for many a film — where you can find the luxurious IPIC Theater (11 Fulton St.), where food is delivered right to you and every seat comes with blankets for the ultimate cozy movie date.

Posters

Seeing a movie is something you can do just about anywhere, but a movie poster museum is harder to come by. Check out the Poster Museum at Philips Morris Posters (122 Chambers St.), where you’ll find loads of original and vintage posters on display and for sale. The poster collection spans genres, but the film section boasts international gems such as a Russian “Spartacus” poster, an Italian “Lady and the Tramp”ad and a French version of the “Barbie” poster.

Tours

Being a film buff can apply to cinematic TV shows, too. For anyone who misses the Roy family, be sure to check out this unofficial “Succession” tour of Lower Manhattan. The tour takes you through the locations for the show, and explores the powerful IRL New York families that inspired the show. 

Scripts

Seeing a movie is fun, but what if you could watch while simultaneously comparing the film to its shooting script to see what last minute changes were made on set? For cinema lovers who appreciate the printed word, head to McNally Jackson Books (4 Fulton St.) in the Seaport to leaf through its extensive collection of scripts. In addition to original screenplays, the store stocks guides on how to turn your own big movie idea into a draft of a script. 

New York Film Academy

Ready to make your own films? The neighborhood is home to the flagship campus of the New York Film Academy (17 Battery Pl. ). The school offers filmmaking and acting classes, with alumni including Aubrey Plaza, Damon Wayans, Issa Rae and Paul Dano — in fact, even Shaquille O’Neal studied there! 

For more on Lower Manhattan’s movie connections and an opportunity to apply for a creative filmmaker residency, see our Filmmaker in Chief tag or visit filmdowntown.nyc.

Tags: filmmaker in chief

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