Lincoln Plaza Cinemas, the beloved and recently shuttered art-house movie theater on the Upper West Side, will be revived for the summer 13 blocks north.
A group of devoted fans has put together a film series under the name “New Plaza Cinema” at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, with hopes that it will gather momentum for a new and permanent neighborhood cinema dedicated to independent and foreign film.
The series will begin on June 24 with a three-day run of “The Catcher Was a Spy,” which stars Paul Rudd as Moe Berg, a baseball player who becomes a spy for the American government during World War II. (The film opens at the IFC Center on June 22.) The following week, four adaptations of Philip Roth works will be screened, including “Indignation” (July 2 and 5), directed by James Schamus; “Elegy” (July 3 and 5), starring Ben Kingsley and Penélope Cruz as clandestine lovers; and “American Pastoral” (July 3) and “Goodbye, Columbus” (July 2).
The effort is being led by Norma Levy, the founder of the Coalition for the New Plaza Cinema, with the programming spearheaded by the JCC and two former Lincoln Plaza Cinemas employees. All decisions have been approved by Toby Talbot, who helped found Lincoln Plaza Cinemas in 1981. Her co-founder and husband, Dan Talbot, died in December at 91.
“Although Dan is no longer with us, I’m sure he would have been heartened — as am I — that a band of devoted theatergoers have taken upon themselves the arduous task of creating similar cinema anew,” Ms. Talbot said in a statement.
The JCC auditorium seats 250 and features Dolby Surround Sound. The auditorium may not have the reclining seats or Imax high-definition of modern movie theaters — but those aspects were never the point of Lincoln Plaza Cinemas in the first place. (“We don’t have that stuff,” Ivan Tabarez, the theater’s assistant manager, told The Times in December. “Here, it’s all about the movie.”)
Organizers hope that this series will be the first step toward a larger and lasting solution. “It’s a temporary landing spot,” Isaac Zablocki, senior director of the Carole Zabar Center for Film at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, said in a phone interview. “We’re trying to work with them to create a permanent home.”