181 2nd Ave., New York, NY (@ 12th St)
The Village East Cinemas is the sister theater of the Angelika Film Center. Once a synagogue and opening as a Yiddish theater in 1926, the Moorish influence is still intact with gilded ceilings, etched stonework, vibrant blue and red paints, and an elaborate chandelier. The lobby has a row of vintage decorative entranceways, a double staircase and gilded coffered ceilings. Charlie Chaplin, George Gershwin and Albert Einstein have passed through its doors and it also later housed the original productions of Grease, Joseph & the Technicolor Dreamcoat, and midnight showings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Today, the theater serves up all the new guilty pleasure blockbusters with a smattering of indie flicks, often running old films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s, indie Oscar winners like Taxi to the Dark Side, and hosting premieres such as The Extra Man with Katie Holmes and Kevin Kline. And if you simply want to surrender to the latest Christian Bale or Brad Pitt (who doesn’t), we recommend staying away from the impersonal chains and heightening that experience in the intimate, romantic setting that is Village East.