Film buffs will find no lack of film tête-à-tête in NYC any time of year. While motion pictures were invented in London and hit the mass market in Hollywood, some of the original moving images were filmed in Madison Square Garden and displayed on Broadway. Since feature film’s very inception, filmmakers have experimented, developed, and advanced their techniques in New York City. Today, anyone can analyze film history by hitting the NYC archives, conduct film experiments by visiting the Museum of the Moving Image, or witness it live by attending one of New York’s many film festivals.
36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria, NY 11106
Explore Astoria Studios, the former East Coast home of Paramount Pictures, now home to some of the oldest (and rarest) relics of feature film, television, and video games. Called MoM by the locals and open Wednesday through Sunday, this museum hosts frequent screenings and exhibitions in addition to its regular programming. The collections include over 130,000 artifacts related to the development, production, and showing of films, with original theater seats, film strips, movie posters, and costumes (including the Chewbacca mask). Great for families and groups, MoM encourages you to get hands-on with Moving Image Studio Saturdays, letting visitors experiment with flipbooks, stop motion, and computer animation.
555 8th Avenue #2003, New York, NY 10018
Locals and tourists alike enjoy seeing NYC from a new angle with On Location Film Tours. Film buffs get to see where their favorite scenes were shot along with tidbits on how producers worked their movie magic. Tourists get a quick layout of favorite hangouts in NYC, along with guides to make pose suggestions and even snap photos for them. Whether your faves include superheroes, Gossip Girl, Sex and the City, or Friends, you’ll be surprised just how much Hollywood films in NYC.
32 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10003
Beloved by NYU students for its 1000+ annual screenings with in-person appearances by directors, cinematographers, and talent, the Anthology specializes in independent, experimental, and avant-garde cinema. Once a courthouse, the venue matches its unique films in style, complete with a rickety spiral staircase and mysteriously cheap ($9.00) tickets. Food is not sold here, but history lovers and the intellectually curious will feel right at home.
34 West 13th Street, New York, NY 10011
One of the oldest independent cinemas in New York City, Quad Cinema opened in October 1972 and quickly joined the upper echelons of cinema history. Once frequented by Andy Warhol, Quad was purchased by the Cohen Media Group and reopened in 2017. The theater debuts film series (“Second Helpings” dishes out classic holiday favorites), retrospectives (like their “Rated X” retrospective, an exploration of the ratings system and the films that fell victim to it), and hosts appearances, all while their bar stays open until midnight Wednesday through Sunday (serving espresso, wine, and seasonal imported beers).
358 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036
Film buffs will feel right at home at the king of indie film fests, where feature films are pitted against short films, music videos, and animated works during the second week of May. Parties, panels, and screenings are designed to coax out fresh ideas and champion art at its finest. Where better than New York City, where risk-takers thrive amid throngs of fierce competition?
165 West 65th Street, New York, NY 10023
Film in NYC has bloomed alongside the NYFF, now in its 56th year. The NYFF plays out among four theaters and 200,000 fans every year during the first half of October, soothing audiences out of the autumn chill and into the next big thing in film, whether it’s experimental content or camera work. But that’s not all. The NYFF doesn’t pack up and go home come November – it operates year-round, a non-profit with continuous programming, panels, and premieres.
375 Greenwich Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10013
With $12 matinees, $40 entry to talk series, and $21 evening and weekend screenings all over Tribeca, this film festival is one of the most accessible film fests around. It’s also the most modern – the Tribeca Immersive lets you explore immersive cinema via VR and AR, and that’s not including their live music events, ESPN sports film festival, and free panels for aspiring artists. Running during the last week of April every year, the festival also hosts lounges where patrons can grab free beverages between screenings, including one on a rooftop and another in a studio.