Culture in the ZIP code


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  • Getting tickets at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas on Sunday, Dec. 17. Photo: Alexis Gelber



As friends depart for warm- or much-colder-weather vacations, my preference is decidedly less adventurous: my goal over the holidays is to stay in the ZIP code.

I’m lucky to live in 10023, a ZIP code that’s filled with the best that the Upper West Side has to offer: great food shopping (Fairway, Citarella), entertainment (Lincoln Center, Beacon Theatre), walks (Central and Riverside Parks), gyms (Equinox and the JCC), hangouts for dining (Fairway Café, Café Luxembourg) and drinking (Beacon Bar, Cesca). The holiday season is also the time to catch up on all the movies I haven’t seen during the year, with plenty of theaters within walking distance.

But last weekend brought some crushing news to 10023 (and other) moviegoers, when Deadline reported last Friday that Lincoln Plaza Cinemas, the famed art house at 63rd and Broadway, would be closing in January at the end of their lease. This appeared to be part of a city affliction — skyrocketing rents that drive out small businesses and leave storefronts vacant (see Michael Garofalo’s latest story on the problem in this issue). One friend called the news about Lincoln Plaza “the big empty shop story.” In response to outrage over the closing, the owner, Milstein Properties, told Deadline two days later that it expected “to re-open the space as a cinema” after “vital structural work” is completed.

I can’t even begin to list all the superb films I’ve seen at Lincoln Plaza over the years. There was always something good, even surprising. Some highlights, just from the 21st century: “The Lives of Others,” the 2006 Oscar-winning German film set in the 1980s about the notorious Stasi, East Germany’s secret police, which seems newly relevant; “The Band’s Visit,” the 2007 Israeli movie that begat the new Broadway musical of the same name; Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s powerful “A Separation,” which won an Oscar in 2012. My husband, whose mother is French, goes to keep up with the latest films from France.

Though culture is never far away in Manhattan, never before has supporting our local arts organizations been as important. The city attracts so many talented and hardworking creative people. Many may not yet have gotten their names in lights, but who knows? The next big thing might very well be performing at an open mic night or a community theater just down the block. Alizah Salario, our Arts & Entertainment Director, has been helping to shine a spotlight on the city’s lesser-known people and places by featuring them in NYC Now, Straus News’ hyperlocal online arts and culture listings. Take a look, and discover the world around the corner.

There’s obviously more happening in New York than anyone can go to see or hear, but we want this website to be a resource for events close to home that you might be missing out on. NYC has always been a city of neighborhoods, and this platform is a new way of serving the communities we cover.

Salario has just launched our first NYC Now neighborhood-specific arts and events newsletter for the Upper East Side. Do subscribe on Our Town’s website: ourtownny.com. It’s such a fun and lively read that you don’t need to live on the UES to enjoy it — or to make use of when you want to leave your ZIP code.


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