Brownstoner Upstate: 3 Indie Movie Theaters to Visit in the Hudson Valley and Catskills


    As the temperatures drop, the opportunities to sit outside under a blanket of stars in front of the fire pit in upstate New York are waning. That means taking the party indoors, or heading out for some away-from-the-homestead fun. One of our favorite wintertime activities is taking in a movie at one of the indie movie theaters situated around the Hudson Valley and Catskills.

    Indie movie houses are kind of a big deal up here.

    From the ever-popular Woodstock Film Festival to the Big Eddy Film Festival to the Hudson Valley International Film Festival and myriad smaller, more obscure film festivals in between, we upstaters love films.

    One thing we do not like so much, however, is shelling out a month’s paycheck to sit in a giant multiplex and watch an hour of advertisements before the coming attractions even start. We’d rather watch a documentary about climate change made by someone who just barely made their Kickstarter to get it in front of audiences, anyway, screened in funky moviehouse that’s owned and operated by real people. Here are a few of our favorites:

    Indie Movie Theaters NY -- Hudson Valley & Catskills

    Time & Space Limited, Hudson. Photo via Time & Space Limited

    Time & Space Limited, Hudson, Columbia County: Time & Space Limited (TSL), located in the bustling-est little city in the Hudson Valley, is a not-for-profit theater and performing arts venue is housed in an old bakery building just steps for Warren Street. TSL was started in NYC by Linda Mussman and joined by her co-director Claudia Bruce in 1976. The whole operation moved to Columbia Street in Hudson in the 1990s and has been a popular local venue ever since.

    Not only do they show arthouse flicks, they also host live music, art exhibitions, children’s programing, live broadcasts like the Met opera in HD, and a myriad of special events. Most locals remember having to sit on wooden church pews, but these days TSL boasts actual seats as well as HD projectors and surround sound. Not bad for a defunct bakery.

    How to Get There From Brooklyn: Getting there is simple if you don’t mind taking Amtrak. TSL is a bit of a haul from the Hudson Riverfront train station, but a quick call to a taxi service and you’ll be there in a minute.

    Indie Movie Theaters NY -- Hudson Valley & Catskills

    Upstate Films, Woodstock. Photo via

    Upstate Films, Rhinebeck, Dutchess County/Woodstock, Ulster County: Can an indie movie theater still be considered indie if there are more than one of them? In the case of Upstate Films, the answer is most definitely yes. The theater’s first location in Rhinebeck village opened in 1972 as a single screen showing 16mm films. Now, the nonprofit offers three separate screens and boasts a second location in Woodstock, formerly known as Tinker Street Cinema.

    What hasn’t changed, however, is Upstate Films’ commitment to showing hard-to-find movies and documentaries, which you can watch while munching on some of the best theater popcorn around, no kidding.

    Upstate Films also plays host to many selections featured in the Woodstock Film Festival, held annually in the fall. Missed it this year? Don’t worry; October will be here again before you know it, and you better believe Upstate Films will be screening many of the 2016 selections.

    How to Get There From Brooklyn: Woodstock’s theater is located on the fringes of the village, but the Trailways bus stops less than a mile away on Mill Hill Road. The Rhinebeck location is closest to the Amtrak station in Rhinecliff, which will require a taxi ride to get you to Rhinebeck village and the theater itself. Both Woodstock and Rhinebeck theaters are surrounded by great restaurants. Leave time to check one out.

    Indie Movie Theaters NY -- Hudson Valley & Catskills

    Downing Film Center in Newburgh’s Yellow Bird Building. Photo via Downing Film Center

    Downing Film Center, Newburgh, Orange County: This tiny, 55-seat nonprofit theater sits on the waterfront in the city of Newburgh in the Yellow Bird building, a former warehouse built in 1925. It’s located right next to the Newburgh Beacon Ferry terminal, and that makes it accessible even if you don’t have a car (Metro-North to Beacon, ferry across the river to Newburgh).

    Downing shows one movie at a time, one showtime six nights a week (Tuesday through Sunday), of limited-release movies and docs. If you want more theaters and a first-run movies, check out Downing’s other theater, Monroe Cinema, 30 minutes south of Newburgh.

    The film center is in an enclave of restaurants, retail stores and converted factory spaces along the Hudson Riverfront in Newburgh city.

    How to Get There From Brooklyn: Take the Metro-North to Beacon and hop on the ferry over to Newburgh. The theater is next door to the terminal, so why bother with a car? Otherwise, cruise up the Thruway to the Newburgh exit. Or for a slightly more scenic route, take the Thruway to U.S. 9W North and see the Hudson River Valley countryside along the way.

    Indie Movie Theaters NY -- Hudson Valley & Catskills

    Callicoon Theater. Photo by Vipuliva via Wikimedia Commons

    Callicoon Theater, Callicoon, Sullivan County: Callicoon’s historic theater is the oldest continuously operating theater in Sullivan County. Situated in the center of the village, the theater consists of a single screen, 380 seats, and Art-Deco fixtures and details dating from the 1940s. Talk about an old-fashioned movie-going experience.

    Callicoon screens blockbusters as well as foreign and indie films and offers one evening showtime plus a matinee and evening show on Saturday and Sunday. Make a night of it and hit the Callicoon Brewing Company for a pint and a burger after the movie.

    How to Get There From Brooklyn: Catch the Shortline bus from the Port Authority and take it to Villa Roma Resort in Callicoon and call a taxi to drive you 10 minutes to Callicoon village.

    These are just a few, but there are many others, among them the Crandell Theatre in Chatham; the chain of Lyceum Cinemas in Red Hook, New Paltz Cinemas in New Paltz and Roosevelt Theatre in Hyde Park; and the Rosendale Theatre in Rosendale.

    Indie Movie Theaters NY -- Hudson Valley & Catskills

    44 Elwyn Lane, Woodstock: $279,000

    This cottage is pure Woodstock, through and through. Rustic and simple with lots of natural light and plenty of space for creating, plus nearly an acre of land right near the center of Woodstock village. Includes a second-floor studio apartment. Beds: 3. Baths: 1. Square Feet: 1,785. Lot Size: .78. Est. Taxes: $5,793. 44 Elwyn Lane, Woodstock [Win Morrison] GMAP.



    23 Dogwood Hills Road, Newburgh: 299,000

    This circa-1962 midcentury modern ranch is a delightful throwback. We love the built-ins, brick fireplace and original fixtures, as well as the acre-sized lot size in a quiet, tree-lined neighborhood in suburban Newburgh. Walls of windows. Need we say more? Beds: 4. Baths: 2.5. Square Feet: 2,859. Lot Size: 1 acre. Est. Taxes: $7,804. 23 Dogwood Hills Road, Newburgh [John J Lease Realty] GMAP

    [Top photo: Time & Space Limited]


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