New Essex Theater’s mission statement is simple:
TO ENTERTAIN AS MANY PEOPLE
IN THE WORLD AS POSSIBLE.
People often ask where New Essex Theater is located. As of this writing, we don’t have a physical building. As such, New Essex Theater is more of a state of mind.
If you’re watching one of our live performances, that stage is New Essex Theater when our show is running. Watching multimedia on our web site? Then your computer is New Essex Theater. If one day we have a movie unspooling on 12,000 screens simultaneously throughout the world, then New Essex Theater has 12,000 locations on that day. The point is:
wherever people come together in peace to enjoy our stories
is where New Essex Theater is
Those of us of a certain age from The Lower East Side of Manhattan, whether it’s The Hill, Smith, Baruch, The Ave, Rutgers, Pitt (not the schools), Vladecks, Masaryk or wherever know what Essex Theater is all about. It was the movie theater on Grand Street that used to show 2 new movies every Friday for the price of one. Well. . . sometimes one of the movies was second run — but it was still a great deal — monophonic sound, sticky floors and all.
Every Friday night, heads from all over LES used to come and check out the new Essex movies. No hassles, no beef, everyone just came through to chill, drink a little somethin’, smoke a little somethin’ and bug out on some movies. Where else could you see a double feature of Grease & Halloween or Escape from New York & Escape to Witch Mountain?!
There was a place called UFO next door that had some arcade games (I used to whip Spy Hunter in ’83) and some bangin’ French Fries! After the movies, everyone would go there and chill and hang out. It was good vibes all around. Back in the day there was a sense of community that barely exists anymore.
Essex Theater shut its doors in the mid ’90’s (the last movie they showed was Higher Learning). After an unsuccessful attempt to save it (a piece of advice: don’t ask a bank for money to save a dilapidated movie house if you have never run a dilapidated movie house), I decided to keep the spirit alive if not the actual building. In 2002, I registered with New York City that I was Doing Business As New Essex Theater and that was that.
New Essex Theater is currently focusing on promotion and distribution, so keep checking back here for updates on events. It doesn’t matter if you still live in the LES or not, or if you’re originally from LES or not. We are all citizens of the world; let’s get that community vibe happening again.
Peace! — smile
New Essex Theater