Milstein Properties responded to the uproar over the news that its longtime tenant, Lincoln Plaza Cinema, will close in January by telling Deadline it plans to preserve the space as a movie theater after vital renovations are completed.
The company today gave no exact timetable for the planned closing and reopening and did not confirm whether Toby and Dan Talbot, widely respected film business figures for more than 60 years, would remain involved as programmers. Even so, the plan to maintain the subterranean indie film temple on Manhattan’s Upper West Side as a place for movies gives both New York cinephiles and the specialty film business some reason for hope during the holiday season.
Here is the company’s full statement:
“Milstein Properties built 30 Lincoln Plaza in 1978, we are long-term members of this community and have played a central role in nurturing this special theater. There is vital structural work needed to repair and waterproof the plaza surrounding the building that cannot be completed while the space is in use, and will begin now that the cinema’s lease has expired. At the completion of this work, we expect to re-open the space as a cinema that will maintain its cultural legacy far into the future.”
Deadline broke the news Friday that the revered film destination was planning to close at the end of January after 30-plus years after the Talbots said they could not come to terms with Milstein on a new lease. Outrage quickly erupted from New York moviegoers and film industry veterans, who are already bracing for Landmark’s Sunshine multiplex on Houston Street downtown to go dark in January. A mixed-use retail and office building will replace the Sunshine, the latest sign of both New York City gentrification and exhibitors’ struggle to stay relevant in the Netflix era.
Located across Broadway from Lincoln Center, the Lincoln Plaza has long been an important launch pad for platform releases. While lacking amenities or polish, it has served as a curator of quality films emerging from the festival circuit and the global independent scene.