metrograph-ludlow-independent-theater-new-york-city-untapped-cities-susanxu9Metrograph on 7 Ludlow St.

Metrograph sits inside an unassuming brick building near the corner of Ludlow Street. It is easy to walk straight past the independent cinema without so much as a second glance; there is no colorful awning or neon sign to give you the hint that you’re in the right place; movie times aren’t obviously displayed by the entrance. If you were expecting to walk into the atmosphere of a traditional theater, complete with the smell of buttered popcorn and cardboard cutouts of movie previews, you’ll soon learn that Metrograph is anything, but.

Although Metrograph markets itself as a “new independent cinema showing films on 35mm,” it’s a long ways from just a theater. Rather, it’s a bookstore, cafe, restaurant, bar and candy shop – all in one.

Founded and designed by Alexander Olch, Metrograph offers a varied selection of curated films – united only by the fact that the staff believes you (the audience) should watch them. On this particular trip, we sat down for a preview of WYNC’s The Jazz Loft According to W. Eugene Smith, which will play for one week from September 23 to 29.


To the right of the main counter, a short hallway leads you down to one of two theaters. Inside “Theater 2,” where The Jazz Loft was showing, red carpet covers the length of the entranceway and matches the theater’s red velvet seats, which are fitted with simple cupholders and a wooden, barrel-like back. The design, like the rest of the cinema, is minimalistic and clean – roughly 45 or so seats are spread out across the space, painted entirely in black.


The overall atmosphere is reminiscent of New York movie theaters of the 1920s. The Commissary restaurant, located upstairs, is inspired by the studio eateries from Hollywood’s golden age, where production teams, crew members and actors/actresses would have their meals. At Metrograph, it serves as place for New York City’s thriving film community to flourish and grow. The bookstore, located right next to it, offers an ever-changing selection of books, many of which cannot be found elsewhere in New York City.

metrograph-ludlow-independent-theater-new-york-city-untapped-cities-susanxu4The Commissary (top) and candy store (bottom) inside Metrograph

For movie makers and movie goers, it’s very much a welcomed-refuge. You’ll walk in expecting to watch a movie and walk out with an experience.

Next, check out 9 Unique Movie Theaters You’ll Only Find in NYC. Also see a hidden movie theater in Crown Heights behind a barber shop storefront. Keep up with the author @heysuehey.