Williamburg apartment residents of the movie-going sort–and, really, anyone with ready access to the L or the G train, in Brooklyn or Manhattan–got a terrific gift for the holidays this year, when the long-awaited Williamsburg Cinemas opened the week before Christmas.
Here, smack in the heart of the neighborhood, are seven spanking-new auditoriums, all with plush, roomy stadium seating and 7.1 Dolby Digital surround sound, making this an instant contender for best movie theater in NYC. Is the glass-fronted Williamsburg Cinemas a tad architecturally intrusive? Well, maybe. But on that corner of Williamsburg, on Driggs and Grand Streets, the new building actually doesn’t look so out of place, not particularly larger or taller than any of its immediate neighbors, nor especially flashy. Just a few weeks in, Williamsburg Cinemas already feels a part of the landscape.
Williamsburg apartment dwellers seem to be quite happy with the new addition to the community, as the place has been jumping both times I’ve been. (Personal note: both movies were at least an hour longer than they needed to be, and so I was extremely grateful for the super-comfortable seats. I will be back. Frequently.) And so far, too, the Williamsburg Cinema’s management has been good with the crowds.
There’s energy and excitement here–yes, even in too-cool Williamsburg–without the chaos, annoying lines or ticket-taking bottlenecks that have become an unfortunate part of the routine at, say, the Regal 14 in nearby Union Square, for years the neighborhood’s closest (and only) Hollywood-blockbuster option.
The opening slate of movies at Williamsburg Cinemas was an unsurprising list of end-of-year Oscar contenders and crowd-pleasers (Lincoln, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, The Hobbit) and Hollywood comedies (This is 40, Parental Guidance), which is fine by me. But owner Harvey Elgart, who runs the small-townish Cobble Hill Cinemas as well, promises they’ll be throwing plenty of small, independent and foreign films into the mix in the weeks and months to come, which is even more fine by me.
The concessions are standard-issue–greasy popcorn, overpriced sodas, boxes of bad candy–but the ticket price is anything but: only $11 for adults, a full three bucks cheaper than most multiplexes in Manhattan. For local residents, Williamsburg Cinemas is a big win all around.
Williamsburg Cinemas is located on the corner of Driggs and Grand Streets. For current movies, showtimes, and tickets, check out their website.