Cinema - South Crown Heights/PLG - thoughts? — Brooklynian

Cinema - South Crown Heights/PLG - thoughts?

Hey, long time reader, first time poster (I finally made an account too), but I came to Brooklynian to pose a question. I live in Lefferts Gardens near Empire/Rogers and recently I've noticed several commercial units coming up for rent near my apartment and have been thinking of possibly taking the dive and launching a cinema space in the south Crown Heights/PLG area, west of Nostrand between President and Sterling. The 2/3/4/5 aren't all that far of a walk and the B/Q isn't objectionably far either.

I'm currently splitting my time between a day job and working for another independent art-house type theater in Williamsburg so I have a feel for the financial aspects of it and the nitty-gritty, but I wanted the input of some others in the neighborhood on whether you'd think the area is "ready" to support a less-than-mainstream theater.

Personally, I'm tired of taking the 30 minute trip to Williamsburg or Manhattan for a late show only to truck it back at midnight on the local bus. Any thoughts?


  • If some part of your plan includes child-friendly/child-welcome movie screenings, you would have many customers.
  • All walks of life enjoy going to the movies.  I think as long as there weren't JUST super arty films (with limited appeal) you'd have a pretty good base to pull from.  A little bit art-house with some mainstream on the side would do great IMHO.  

    With all the new construction occurring the surrounding population (and thereby immediate customer base) will increase greatly too.  This is not to say that people wouldn't travel for the right type of venue/entertainment as long as the price point was on par with others.

    I also wonder about sponsor/partnership with BK Museum as it is so close... though the funding streams are not as robust as they were maybe just maybe.
  • edited June 2016

    I'd reach out to Five Myles.   They run an annual Crown Heights Film Festival. may also want to learn why Global Square failed.   Global Square was to be a theater and performance space on Dean St, and failed before it opened despite getting some city $upport.  

  • may also want to learn why Global Square failed.   Global Square was to be a theater and performance space on Dean St, and failed before it opened despite getting some city $upport.  

    I've actually looked through the forum and followed it for a bit, did anyone actually figure out what happened? I thought it just never really launched.

    On FiveMiles or partnering with another arts institute, I've been to FiveMiles a few times and would be really interested in being a hosting venue for the film festival, but in my experience with the Wburg cinema it's been a little bit of a love/hate relationship with the established film society based on being more upstart and incidentals like not having the money to project every single film on 35mm. So I'm not sure I'd want to open that can of worms so early.

    On family oriented screenings, I'm not opposed, it totally slipped my mind that kid days are a regular thing at normal theaters. Probably because I'm not a parent.
  • edited June 2016

    It isn't clear to me why Global Square failed:

    However, it struck me as a really ambitious project from the beginning, and it wasn't clear to me that the funder had created similar venues.

    The good news is that the project might not lose tons of money.   The land has appreciated while the project floundered and failed.

    In terms of kids, I don't have any either.   ...but the neighborhood is presently creating hundreds of kids under 4, and the providers of daycare, puppet theaters, music together, maternity wear, fancy toys and clothing etc are only now arriving.


  • Yes, I think that would be great.  Go for it!
  • edited June 2016
    I think it could work. Execution and press are everything, of course. 

    Are we talking something like a Nitehawk here or a super "scene-y" Art-House?

  • Are we talking something like a Nitehawk here or a super "scene-y" Art-House?
    I'd like to think it could be a happy middle ground in terms of film taste. Maybe not as cult-heavy or proto-mainstream as Nighthawk, but also not as "scene" as watching a 3 hour film of an apple sitting in candle light (think Warhol's: Sleep). And definitely not as mainstream as showing (the inevitable) Michael Bay's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 7.

    I'd like to show more repertory film, but not the completely obscure, just the slightly overlooked with some familiar-ish titles thrown in the mix for inclusivity of those that might not have been exposed to art-film or might be hesitant to explore non-mainstream cinema due to some perceived pretension.
  • absolutely! i feel like showings like you'd see at BAM would be great--some independent, some mainstream, some new, some classics...but never too far off in any direction on the spectrum. i went to metrograph recently. it's an exceedingly fancy space, but i felt like the film selections are pretty darn interesting and not too weird most of the time. they'll have weeks of showing a documentary, and then show a cult classic 80's movie for one night. 

    this would be cool as hell! I too am sick of having to travel far to movies. so much so that i find myself rarely going to any
  • I would love that! I have cinema friends in PLG who would certainly go.  I live in Prospect Heights and love any excuse to head that direction.
  • edited June 2016

    I'd see if any large bars or events spaces were willing to have indie films on an occasional basis, that way you could build up a following before taking the large risk of signing a lease.

  • I signed up just to voice my support for this --- small sample size, but me and my roommates (who include an actress and filmmaker) go to BAM, IFC, Film Forum, Sunshine, the Angelika, Lincoln Center, etc etc regularly and it would be awesome to have something in the neighborhood. I think it could totally work.
  • I think it would be a great addition to the neighborhood
  • Yes, just keep it at a good price so that it caters to a broader audience and perhaps make it a multipurpose space. You could also divide the events/type of films by night, which works well with places like Berg'n and Way Station. Foreign film night, Hollywood night, indie night, cult classics, animated (which may also serve as family night) etc...will help build a following of people who know off the top of their heads what's going on that night. What might also help build a loyal customer base is a customer see 5 movies get the 6th free, or buy a booklet of tickets for a reduced price, or a family movie night price. Not sure why more businesses don't do things like that and cinemas often have empty seats that don't hurt to fill. You'd at least make money with food/drinks and encourage return customers. Works with coffee!

    PLG has a lot of families, so I agree with comments above about catering to them for at least one night.
  • Again, a small sample size, but me, my 3 roommates, and some nearby friends would be very into something like this. We're fairly frequent patrons at BAM cinemas, Sunshine & the Angelika. I agree that a mix of indie and mainstream would probably be the best recipe for success for this neighborhood. Lot of great advice & suggestions on here already, my 2 cents is I'd love it if the final product had rooftop or other outdoor movie screenings for the summer
  • I live near Church and Nostrand and frequently travel to BAM/IFC/Angelika to see films - Williamsburg is often too much of a pain. So yes - you are welcome here and would be supported.
  • So I've started laying out the groundwork and filing paperwork to to form and register a formal nonprofit cinema space akin to the one I'm currently working with now (with some modification based on what I've found works/doesn't), I've identified a possible venue and several other founding collaborators, but I'm looking for others who might be interested in assisting in our launch as a volunteer-based community nonprofit dedicated to hosting nightly film screenings, diverse in selection + affordable in price (< $10).

    As it stands, we're looking for dedicated collaborators who may possess any of the following qualities:
    • A/V and projecting knowledge or experience
    • Photo and video editing proficiency
    • Experience in press relations
    • Experience in graphic design and illustration
    • Experience in webdesign
    • Enthusiasm for active contribution to a collaborative film community
    Though we currently possess enough capital for launch we are also looking for assistance with securing or negotiating our lease, so if you know a good realty lawyer sympathetic to our cause, please please please spread the word.

    Or if you're interested in assisting in any way outlined above or know someone who might be interested, send a message and let me know!

  • We're rounding the final stretch of the physical build, but our soft opening will begin August 15th at 346 Rogers Ave, between Sullivan Place and Montgomery Street, across from Food Sermon and next to (the soon to open) Shallow's Cafe.

    Our August calendar is more or less finalized online, but more updates to the website to come soon (trailers, film stills, etc).

    Stop in or drop a line.

  • cool! i would be totally down to see the 12 o'clock boys. is the space just one big room? 
  • Basically, yes. 

    In the coming month we're looking at putting together a curated short films/documentaries feature, live theatre performance, live musical performance accompanying a video art installation, and a few other things as we talk with other people and they express interest in coming into the space. 
  • So pumped up for this. Sounds awesome, glad you went through with it. Will be in touch re: volunteering, though I don't really have any of those skills.
  • Can't wait for this! So glad you guys decided to do this!
  • Omg I cannot wait for this! I live around the corner. I would be happy to help get the word out and perhaps volunteer. I'll stop by and introduce myself when you open.
  • @uglyfloorlamp Some longtime residents have stated they remember this space as being a theater.

    Any truth to that? Anything left of the prior theater, like stadium seating ?
  • @whynot_31 I was talking to a man who was saying he thought the big church across the street (Brooklyn Miracle Temple, 333 Rogers Ave) was a theater. It definitely looks the part, but it's not as stately as some of the other theaters on and north of EP. 

    The man I spoke with said that he had a memory of this location being a diner at the time the old theater was still in business.
  • There were several smaller theaters in the area, in addition to the big ones on Eastern.
  • i would love that. i love this neighborhood but we have no movies or live music. Have you seen the Metrograph that just opened on the Lower East Side? that place is an awesome arthouse.  they don't really make good indies these days but think of all the great retrospectives you could have - 70's films, great directors, film noir, even grind house. 
  • Permanently closed. *** Our location at 346 Rogers is now permanently closed, sign up for the mailing list for more details on upcoming programming and relocation ***
  • lasted about 1 year.
  • I never went. I'm mad at myself for not supporting cool local businesses!!
This discussion has been closed.