By Terry Trucco
Almost as many New York City hotels have screening rooms as spas. But it’s a lot easier to visit a hotel spa than to settle in with a bag of popcorn for a movie in a hotel screening room. Though chic abodes like the Bryant Park Hotel and the Tribeca Grand have suitably eye-catching movie theaters, as rental spaces they’re the domain of invited guests.
Which is why the Crosby Street Hotel’s 100-seat movie theater is so cool. Every week, the Crosby Sunday Night Film Club screens a movie and a short feature at 8 pm. Admission to the “club” requires neither dues nor hazing: you either book the three-course movie dinner ($50) or the movie bar plate for two ($25 a person).
Crosby’s cinematic offerings, from what we can tell, are smart indies caught in the brief post-theater, pre-DVD interlude, like I am Love. In other words, don’t expect much overlap with the mainstream multiplex (except on October 31, when Saw 3D bloodies the screen).
With an adjoining bar and extremely comfortable round-backed orange – yes, orange – leather seats, you’d never mistake Crosby’s subterranean screening room for a multiplex, either.
On a recent Sunday, a friend and I went to the film club for dinner. Things began inauspiciously — the hostess, frowning at a laptop, never
found our reservation. Fortunately, tables were available, and before too long, we were happily ensconced in the fanciful Crosby Bar dining room, staring at cheeky renderings of Queen Elizabeth and ordering from the special film club menu, which changes weekly.
My radicchio, grilled peach, goat cheese and white balsamic salad proved perfectly fine, but the penne lamb ragu was divine. A dollop of sweet cream ice cream topped the nicely tart apple and cranberry oatmeal streusel. It’s a serious meal. Allow at least an hour and a half or you’ll wind up leaping from the table at 8:05 and sprinting downstairs for the show as we did.
The theater, a sleek contemporary space with a large screen, a stage and an excellent sound system, was about two-thirds full when we arrived. The gathering had a SoHo look, stylishly casual. Several moviegoers sipped champagne. The moment we sat down, the lights went out to start the short feature – the electro/synthohop duo La Roux’s new music video In for the Kill. Aptly, it’s set in a hotel.
The main event, Craig McCall’s documentary Camera Man: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff, unspools the life story of the Academy Award-winning British-born cinematographer who devised the look of Technicolor-infused classics like The Red Shoes, Black Narcissus and The African Queen. Among those sharing recollections were Lauren Bacall, Kirk Douglas and ballerina Moira Shearer. It was terrific. Everyone applauded at the end. To quote a very different film character, I’ll be back!
The Sunday Night Film Club schedule is posted on the Crosby Street Hotel website. For reservations, call 212 226-6400.