Sunshine Cinema

143 E. Houston Street,
New York, NY 10002

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Showing 51 - 75 of 85 comments

hardbop on April 26, 2006 at 8:31 am

I actually was sent six passes by Landmark (Damien) so it paid off. At $10.75 a movie that is a nice perk.

One quibble, Landmark certainly doesn’t empower its employees to make decisions. I used two this weekend, one Saturday and the other Sunday. I get there Saturday and the ticket taker/cashier/snack bar attendant (they multi-task at Landmark I guess) had “to ask her manager” before she could accept the pass.“ Sunday, the ticket taker/cashier/snack bar attendant said she "had to ask the manager” about my pass and then I had to sign my name to a form before I got my ticket. I felt like a criminal.

WilliamMurray on February 25, 2006 at 9:56 am

Having worked for Damien and The Sunshine Cinema back in 2001, I have the utmost respect for them and the Landmark Organization for getting it right in a niche market all across the country. They, like many other service oriented businesses, are constantly looking for the right people for the right position at a reasonable wage. NYC is a tough town to keep staff content, hospitable and productive. Technology is making things a little less personal in the theatre industry, and that is not to be taken lightly. One communicative floor person or one friendly snack bar attendant is worth more than three ineffective employees, so numbers don’t count. If technology is going to streamline operations and cut costs, so be it. Otherwise, the Sunshine may go back to being a four level warehouse for door parts.

ArchStanton007 on February 21, 2006 at 9:12 am

Nice that they resonded back to you…

Anytime I wrote to crappy Clearview Cinemas ( worst chain in Westchester County) a reply never came. And I had written to offer suggestions as opposed to criticisms, but still to no avail.
Yesterday I walked by Central Plaza Cinema, Yonkers and noticed paint stains on the poster cases that have been there ( not kidding) for at least one year. No point in saying anything, just thought about how wonderful a place it was under General Cinema.

At least Landmark cares…

hardbop on February 21, 2006 at 8:46 am

Here is the response from Landmark regarding the experience I had last week. I e-mailed them my complaints. My e-mail was sent to Landmark’s national site and it must have been routed to the Sunshine in NYC. Looks like they are going to “do the right thing.” But until I have the tickets in hand, I’ll reserve judgment. I received a similar response from someone at the Angelika who was all apologetic over a similar projection snafu, but I never received my promised tickets.

Dear Mr. xxxx,

I would like to apologize for your experiences at the Sunshine Cinema last Monday. It is my ongoing endeavor to provide the best movie going experience in the city and I am sorry to have so greatly failed to do so during your visit.

Please allow me to address the issues raised in your email:

  1. The improper positioning of the movie: This weekend, I spoke to the projectionist responsible for the presentation on Monday and she acknowledged both the error, which she’d noticed during the film’s closing credits, and the fact that she’d not waited for the start of the feature to ensure proper presentation quality (she’d left the booth during the trailers to start another film; this is personally my fault due to my inability to reach the theatre after Sunday’s snowfall; had I been there, she wouldn’t have needed to be so rushed). She has been reprimanded for both oversights.

  2. I cannot explain the lack of houselights when you entered the auditorium. Our lighting system is automated and, in this particular case, our projector must have failed to properly detect the “lights up” cue at the conclusion of the previous film. This is not, I can assure you, a common occurrence at the Sunshine.

  3. The failure of the on-duty usher to check the presentation has also been dealt with via disciplinary action.

  4. The theatre’s staffing: Staffing was actually normal for a wintertime Monday afternoon. Since installation of a new computer system a few months back, we’ve made the decision to sell tickets from our concession stand during off-peak periods. This has the benefits of A.) ensuring that patrons such as yourself never need conduct a ticketing transaction in cold/snow/rain/heat and B.) providing visitors to the theatre, who might not otherwise visit our concession stand, the opportunity to be exposed to some of our more eclectic food offerings, such as Japanese Pocky, vegan cookies, and wasabi peas. During peak periods of business, when we can’t accommodate both ticket and concession sales in the lobby, we still utilize our exterior box office. (Also note: The benefits listed are truly the only benefits we’re seeking to derive from this arrangement. We’re still scheduling both box office and concession attendants for these shifts, not just trying to save money on staffing.) (Should you ever encounter just one attendant, in all likelihood that attendant is “covering a break.”)

Again, please allow me apologize for the poor conditions noted in your email and thank you for bringing them to my attention. I take pride in the Sunshine’s reputation for excellence and am disappointed to have tarnished it. I’d like to request that you allow me the opportunity to do better by being my guest during a future visit. If you’d be willing to supply a mailing address, I would love the chance to prove that your last visit was a fluke by supplying you with some V.I.P. Guest Passes. Should you ever have anything you’d like to discuss during a future visit, or just want to say hi, please ask for me by name.

General Manager
Landmark’s Sunshine Cinema
143 East Houston Street

hardbop on February 15, 2006 at 6:21 am

No, this film was clearly not framed properly. The “missing part of the film” was showing on the black masking on the bottom. If they moved the film up it would have been ok.

William on February 14, 2006 at 8:16 am

Yes, the film is in scope. Most chains stopped installing 2.1 ratio screens instead of a full ratio scope screen. But there are still plexes that still run films to the public that way.

Mikeoaklandpark on February 14, 2006 at 7:56 am

Could it be the film was in scope an they don’t have scope screen? I say that because there is a theater here in Asheville( Regal Hollywood 14 which was oringally independantly owned by a family)that does not have scopr screens. I never liked that theater and Sat night I finally asked a manager if they had capability of showing scope and she said only in one theater. The other theaters were built with flat screens and you really loose the scope effect becuase anything extra is on the side walls and above the screen. I was pissed to say the least.

John Fink
John Fink on February 14, 2006 at 7:25 am

My experiences have been good there, but since its a Mark Cuban owned house…they better be able to do better than watching it in your living room on DVD or HD Net Movies….

I have always liked this house, I ussually go on weekends the crowds are good as are the staff and the seats are comfortable, it’s better than the Angelika (even though i have a soft spot for the Angelika for some reason). Even the most high-end movie houses can have their off days.

hardbop on February 14, 2006 at 4:55 am

I was down at the Landmark’s Sunshine Cinema yesterday and another projection disaster. There is all this hand-wringing in the movie industry about the decline in movie attendance/box office take and here is a reason why. I was in the big basement theatre yesterday to see THE WORLD’S FASTEST INDIAN and they didn’t frame the film correctly so there was about a foot of black at the top of the screen and the image bled onto the masking at the bottom. All this for $10.75.

And they didn’t even put the house lights up before the film so one had to negotiate steep stairs in pitch black to find a seat.

No usher walked through the theatre so to alert someone would have meant leaving the theatre, climbing a flight of stairs and then walking across the lobby to the candy stand, doubled as the box office yesterday because of short staffing. I would have missed too much of the movie to tell them to project the film properly.

I had the same problem at the Angelika last year. You think this kind of thing would occur in the soulless multiplexes, but to have it happen in an art house, it makes my blood boil.

No wonder people are staying at home watching the videos.

Judith Thissen
Judith Thissen on January 28, 2006 at 4:05 am

Charles Steiner and Abraham Minsky — the oldest of the famous Minsky burlesque brothers — opened the Houston Hippodrome in December 1909 as a Yiddish music hall. Minsky’s father and the notorious kosher chicken czar and Tammany Hall district leader Martin Engel owned the building, a former church, which had been operated for some time as prize fight club. In 1910, Yonah Shimmel opened his knish bakery next door. In those days, movies and cheap dairy food went hand in hand (which also explains the location of Ratner’s next-door to Loew’s Delancey Street Theater). The Houston Hippodrome offered a mix program of motion pictures and Yiddish vaudeville for five cents in the afternoon and ten cents at night. In 1912, Steiner & Minsky moved their variety show to the National Winter Garden, the roof top theater above Boris Thomashefsky’s National Theater (at 111 Houston Street)and the Houston Hippodrome was downgraded to a nickelodeon. In those days, the sign of the theater already featured a shining sun. In 1917, Steiner bought the building and after a $25,000 renovation opened it as the 600-seat Sunshine Theater. There was some talk in the Yiddish press that it might become a Yiddish theater, but to my knowledge nothing came of this. It remained a movie theater.

Greenpoint on November 21, 2005 at 1:27 pm

Lets not forget about the delicious Yonah Schimmel Knishes next door, My favorites are the Red Cabbge ,Cabbbage, Sweet Potato and Regular… I remember the Sunshine when it was a wharehouse, often I would pass by the Sunshine on the way to Yonah Schimmels on Chrystie and Houston Street..I’d see the door open up and would glance in. In fact I bought fireworks in there in 1995 (as a wharehouse ofcourse)…its great to see a movie over there.

Garth on October 29, 2005 at 12:14 pm

i recently saw the film “2046” here , the theatre was huge compared to cinema village and the quad. however i was also stunned by the paper receipt, as were other posters….

hardbop on October 3, 2005 at 5:36 am

Kind of weird bookings at the Sunshine this week with three films opening Friday exclusively at the Landmark and all look dead in the water.

The strange opening was CARLITO’S WAY: RISE TO POWER, which wasn’t even screened for the press. It is also not an art film. I assume it has something to do with the digital projection and the fact that the film opened simultanseously with the DVD release. This film is an odd booking for an art house. It is the type of B movie that would have been booked on the old 42nd Street.

Also opening exclusively there was MIRRORMASK and THE WAR WITHIN.

I don’t plan to see any of them.

RobertR on July 7, 2005 at 5:33 am

The Sunshine is running “Psycho” Fri and Sat at midnight this weekend.

John Fink
John Fink on June 13, 2005 at 6:59 pm

I agree, I just came back from the Sunshine, its so weird to have these paper receipts, but I’ve seen other theatres do it (Cinema Village did, as well as Touchstar Southcase in Orlando, FL). I don’t like it, they’re harder to lose and at 10.75, what excuse do they have to be this cheap.

Granted, maybe trying a new technology is bold, but some how I see how Celluoid Freak is offeneded. Barcoding is one thing. A cheap supermarket-like receipt is in some ways unprofessional in the cinema industry. Besdies, I just like having a hard ticket in hand neatly organized. This aproach is wacky.

Maybe I’m just not ready for it. But I’m glad somebody else out there agrees with me.

celluloid on May 28, 2005 at 10:56 am

They Are Not Tickets! They are Supermearket Receipts!

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 26, 2005 at 11:51 am

Why are bar-coded tickets “stupid” ?

br91975 on May 26, 2005 at 11:42 am

I suspect the idea of providing receipts as opposed to more traditional tickets is related to Landmark FINALLY getting its in-theatre self-service ticket kiosk system in some semblance of working order.

celluloid on May 26, 2005 at 11:12 am

As of this past Tuesday the Sunshine stopped sells tickets but instead when you pay the addmission you recieve what looks like a supermarket receipt that gets zapped by a bar code reader carrying usher inside the theatre. Stupid, Stupid, Stupid.

hardbop on May 2, 2005 at 7:21 am

I walked run under the IFC/Waverly’s marquee yesterday and they are getting close to opening. They removed all the scaffolding and you can see the new front of the theatre. It is pretty impressive. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the IFC folks will do a great job, but given that Cablevision owns IFC they’ll find a way to alienate everyone somehow or some way.

celluloid on April 22, 2005 at 12:41 pm

Well, IFC is renovating the Waverly into a three-screener.

hardbop on April 20, 2005 at 12:42 pm

I never knew there was a theatre on this site, though I never spent much time on this stretch of Houston. Agree a great addition to the NYC movie going experience, but it is competing more with the Angelika than the Film Forum, which is a non-profit chartered to present films that otherwise wouldn’t get screened (though I don’t know who closely they follow that mandate).

I am also surprised to learn that it took three years to get this cinema open; it was worth the time because they did a nice job.

One other tidbit, not related to the Landmark/Sunshine, is that The Sundance people were long rumored to be building an art theatre “downtown” and one was supposed to open in Soho, but never did and plans are now defunct. There were also plans for a new art house in that new building that is going up on Astor Plaza, next to the Public Theatre, but I don’t know if they still plan a theatre in that complex.

celluloid on April 10, 2005 at 11:19 pm

Compared to the other art movie houses in Manhattan (Angelika, Film Forum, Cinema Village) the film presentation at the Sunshine is by far the most superior. Actually, I’d say it’s on par with the mainstream theatres like Loews or Regal. Also, like many mainstream theatres if you didn’t like the movie you paid to see, it’s very easy to watch something else. Yah, the Sunshine is great!

bamtino on January 18, 2005 at 5:22 pm

One of the theatre’s earlier incarnations, the Houston Hippodrome, was designed by Thomas W. Lamb in 1909 (as a conversion from the Reformed German Evangelical Church, built in 1846).

bamtino on January 6, 2005 at 9:58 pm

A murder suspect, later found guilty, used attendance at this theatre as an alibi on January 5, 2005’s episode of Law & Order. He claimed to have been seeing a “French flick” with his girlfriend on the night the murder occurred.