From the majestic theatres of the early/mid-2oth century, to the multi-screen collocations and outdoor aggregations of the present time, there was perhaps nowhere for movie houses to go but down…into the subway. In this marvelous mess of a mise en scène known as Brooklyn, that’s exactly where some moviegoers will be going this weekend when they descend through a elegant manhole and onto the plush ruins of the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel: the oldest, abandoned tunnel in NYC.
“The experience of actually entering through a manhole cover in the street is definitely unique,” says Dan Nuxoll, program director at Rooftop Films, which is producing the film series. “It’s like a childhood fantasy, like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. You just feel very different about the street itself when you’re entering it.”
But forget about cushioned seats and leave the popcorn and soda behind; the “seating” will be a tarp-lined clay floor and no food and beverages are allowed in this subterranean historic site.
In keeping with the ambient mood of this very weird “theatre,”, one of the two films that will be screened is “Road to Moloch” (in which soldiers are terrorized by a demon lurking in a Baghdad tunnel); the other is “Daylight Hole” (about a man who enters a cave and encounters entities that he would rather not have encountered in happier times).
Nevertheless, Abandone la esperanza todo ustedes que entran aquí (“abandon hope all ye enter here”); the warning to that other great connoisseur of underground inspiration, Dante Alighieri.
As for me and my wife, we’re going with Netflix this weekend.
UPDATE (12-12-10): FDNY Shuts Down Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Event [Alas, the best laid plans of mice and men and movie impresarios.]
- Abandoned places: ghosts of vacations past (msnbc.msn.com)
- Weekend Miser: Movies in a Tunnel; Words and Photos in Harlem (nytimes.com)
Related External Links
- Frank Smith Says NB: Move Over, Baghdad Bob
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