NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A beloved art-house movie theater on the Upper West Side is about to close its doors after losing its lease.
But as CBS2’s Cindy Hsu reported, die-hard indie movie fans are fighting to keep it open and hope this isn’t the end.
Lincoln Plaza Cinemas opened nearly 40 years ago. It’s known for small, independent art and foreign films.
Longtime customers say they’re emotional about the closing.
“It just broke my heart,” one woman said.
“This is going to make a big difference in our life, actually. I’m devastated,” another added.
The building is owned by Milstein Properties, which says the plaza area needs repairs that cannot be completed while the space is in use.
“We expect to reopen the space as a cinema that will maintain its cultural legacy far into the future,” the company said in a statement.
Toby Talbot and her late husband, Daniel, who died just 10 days ago, have owned four movie theaters in Manhattan since the 1960s. Lincoln Plaza Cinemas is the last one standing.
While Milstein Properties says a theater will be built in its place, Talbot is concerned it might be a big commercial theater.
“Or maybe he intends to keep it empty for a while, because you see so many empty places,” she said. “Sometimes it’s just as profitable from a tax point of view or whatever to keep something empty.”
More than 30 employees would lose their jobs if the theater closes, including general manager Ewnetu Admassu.
“I’m still hoping I don’t know why, I’m still very positive about it, you know I’m looking for a miracle still,” he said.
He has worked at the theater more than 25 years and says it’s doing fine financially and every film is handpicked.
Customers have started an online petition.
“I usually tell them go pray or hope for a miracle” said Admassu.
They say they’re praying for a happy end.