W42ST took a peek behind the curtains at the Look Dine-In Cinemas and can unveil that the luxury auditoriums will open on Star Wars Day with a Marvel movie!
The return of cinema to VIA at 657 W57th Street (by the West Side Highway), exclusively revealed last September by W42ST, is a boost for Hell’s Kitchen and Upper West Side neighbors — as well as big screen fans across New York. The venue will kick off its opening with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 — other movies will be announced shortly. Management told us they aim to blend blockbusters with independent films. Tickets are now on sale for the first week.
Look Dine-In fills the void left by the abrupt departure of Landmark Cinemas, which moved out of the space in August 2020. Spokespeople from the movie house cited the far west location and a lack of public transit as reasons for the closure, which was contested by property managers at The Durst Organization. Vice President Jordan Barowitz, told W42ST at the time: “Unfortunately, the new operator isn’t competent, and before COVID, ran the business into the ground. It’s a real shame.” Durst would subsequently sue Landmark for $48 million in damages, alleging that they owed significant back rent over the lease term and stole at least $1.6 million in equipment, including movie seats, from the property upon their departure.
On our behind-the-scenes tour of the theater complex, it was confirmed that Look had to put new seating and screens into the cinemas. The front cocktail bar area remains the same, with some art being added — but new kitchens have been added to facilitate the screen and dine combo.
Ever since the pandemic closure, developer Douglas Durst had hoped to bring back a movie theater to the Bjarke Ingels-designed building, which the Danish architecture firm completed in 2016 to much fanfare (and awards) in its first New York project. Upon Landmark’s closure, Durst posted on the West Side Rag: “I am glad everyone enjoyed the theater. While I cannot promise the knishes will be back, I can promise that the theater will return.”
The cinema’s new menu features everything from classic movie theater snacks like popcorn and candy to gourmet pizzas and sandwiches. There are also various craft cocktails, beers, and wines to enjoy before, during, or after the movie. Look Cinemas offer entrees such as chicken tenders, burgers, and salads for those looking for something more substantial.
Matt Fox, the co-owner of Fine and Dandy and a former Landmark fan, was thrilled to hear that there would be a local movie house on the far West Side once more. “The pandemic closure of Landmark was a huge loss for the neighborhood, so we couldn’t be more excited for a movie theatre to be back in Hell’s Kitchen! Food and cocktails served to the seats? Bring it on!”
Look management told us they are keen to build relationships within the Hell’s Kitchen community. The venue can be used for private rentals and parties — and they are considering nostalgic movie nights. Maybe our “Hell’s Kitchen on the Big Screen: A Mega-list of West Side Movies” could be a good starting point!