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Venues in Chelsea for Tribeca Film Festival Goers

The Chelsea West Cinema on West 23rd Street isn’t called that anymore. It’s now The Visual Arts Theater, and the reason is obvious -- it got bought. What was originally The RKO 23rd Street has been there for many years -- since the early 1960s. It was a duplex until the '90s, when Cineplex Odeon, who had bought if from Walter Reade, sold it to Clearview and it became a fourplex. The seats are comfortable and even with the  two theaters cut in half, has large screens.

The Chelsea West began to fail early in the decade and the reason was price. Outside Manhattan, most movie theaters have bargain matinees and reasonable prices. Going to the local Bijou here is really expensive, and it’s usually cheaper to go to one of the outer boroughs or even New Jersey to see the latest releases.

And with the place right next to all that public housing to the north and west, it just couldn’t make it anymore except for the GENART Film Festival been's having there for most of the ‘00s. It’s no wonder that this is why the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival is going to be here instead of Tribeca.

Getting there is easy:

Whever you are in the subway, you get off at the 23rd street A station or take the cross-town bus from any of the other 23rd street subway stations. The question is what to do if you get there early and what to do when the flick is over. 

Well, there are lots of places to eat, especially on 8th Avenue between 23rd and 14th Street.

The area has been heavily gentrified and Eighth Avenue is now full of expensive restaurants and decent diners. There are at least three Starbucks within sight of each other. The problem is that most of these places can be very crowded.

There are plenty of bars on Eighth Avenue between 14th and 23rd, and most of them are either gay-oriented or attached to a restaurant.

On the other hand, Flight 151 (151 8th Ave Apt 2B) is more family friendly (not that you’d want to get your kids drunk). You can hang out there or go to one of the many places along 23rd, including a Patsy’s Pizza and two really good, cheap restaurants on the south corner of 23rd and 9th.

Then you can go to the famous Chelsea Hotel and read all the plaques.

But Chelsea is famous because the art industry/scene is there. When SoHo became too pricey and out of the range of most galleries back in the early ‘90s, lots of art salespeople moved to the then much cheaper (and harder to get to) area on the far west side, so if you take the M23 to 10th Avenue, you will be in walking distance of at least 50 major galleries, whose wares range from overpriced masterpieces to overpriced crap.

However, there is a treat you must see. The Gagosian Gallery  (530 W 21th St.), is having a free Picasso exhibit, which is open until after the end of the film festival. The thing has over a hundred huge works, none of which you can afford, heck the catalog is selling for a hundred bucks, but it’s well worth a look.

 Once you’re finished with Pablo, you can walk down 10th Avenue to 18th Street, turn right and catch the M14 and get all the way to 14th street and Second avenue, which is just two blocks north of the other main venue for Tribeca, the Village East …

Flight 151
151 8th Ave Apt 2B; between 17th St & 18th St
New York, NY 10011

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