The Real Deal New York

Historic Greenwich Village theater Quad Cinema could face eviction

The theater reopened last year after an extensive renovation
By Christian Bautista | November 19, 2018 05:30PM

Charles S. Cohen and 34 West 13th Street (Credit: Getty Images and Google Maps)

Quad Cinema, which holds the distinction of being the city’s first multiplex, could face eviction at its Greenwich Village home just a year after an extensive renovation.

The theater, which is owned by billionaire real estate developer Charles Cohen, is a neighborhood institution that once hosted late-night screenings for Andy Warhol.

“It was the kind of place where you could rub shoulders with glitterati such as Mick Jagger and David Bowie, and then moments later run into a guy pleasuring himself with a blowup doll in the men’s room,” the New York Post wrote of the theater last spring.

The four-screen venue is suing to block the co-op board of 30-32 West 13th Street from canceling its lease at 34 West 13th Street, according to court documents filed last Friday. The current lease runs through Dec. 31, 2126, court documents state.

The theater, which first opened in 1972, closed for two years for a renovation. It re-opened on April 13, 2017, a day that Mayor Bill de Blasio proclaimed as “Quad Cinema Day.”

The theater’s comeback may now prove to be short-lived. It received two notices of default last July relating to “intolerable noise” from theater speakers and an unpaid bill from a subcontractor. According to court records, Asad Rahman, a tenant at the second floor of apartment building 30-32 West 13th Street, repeatedly complained of noise coming from the theater.

Rahman, whose apartment sits above theaters “A” and “D” of the multiplex, claimed that the noise came from the theater speakers and HVAC equipment.

Quad Cinema dismissed Rahman’s complaints as “completely unsubstantiated.” In a number of instances, he was said to have complained when no movies were playing in the theaters underneath his apartment or when HVAC equipment wasn’t running.

Quad also claims that it has taken steps to reduce noise. The sound levels in its theaters are now set at a normal level of 4 instead of a maximum of 10. It has also stopped using subwoofers, which it identified as the source of previous complaints. Its soundproofing efforts were supervised by Cerami Associates, an acoustical engineering firm. Quad Cinema also said that it has already paid it’s $5,000 debt to subcontractor R&A Painting last December.

“Considering the robust support the QUAD has received from the surrounding communities and the movie industry,” a spokesperson for Cohen Brothers said in a statement, “the co-op’s attempt to hold the QUAD in default of its lease is wholly without merit and is being vehemently opposed.”

Quad Cinema claims that the alleged violations are “without merit” and is seeking an injunction to block an eviction. Anthony Dreyer, the co-op board’s president, did not reply to a request for comment.