We wrote about the demise of video stores last year, and now one of the saddest days is upon us: The November 30 closing of West 105th Street institution Movie Place, because of a crazy rent increase. There's a big NY Times City section article about the Movie Place's closing as well as those of many other beloved video stores - it's all summarized in this depressing graphic.
We will miss Gary Dennis, owner of Movie Place (we're pretty sure it was he who would answer the phone in 777-FILM fashion with "Hello and welcome to Movie Place!"), how we couldn't rent Day for Night because at the time, the only version that was available was one dubbed in English (sacre bleu!) and how his employees and how they delivered movies to their customers. As for what Dennis will do next...:
In fact, Mr. Dennis is making plans to sell off his inventory, perhaps to an online service. The only movies he wants to keep are “Casablanca,” “A Night at the Opera” and “Orchestra Wives,” a Glenn Miller musical. As for the rest, he said: “Where are you going to keep it? My wife invented that phrase — ‘Oh, you’re going to buy it? Where are you going to keep it?’ New York’s different.” Besides, he added, “this stuff’ll show up on TV.”
He spends part of every day fielding condolence calls, at least two dozen on a recent Monday. “I’m available for parties and bar mitzvahs,” he told one caller. Then, more gravely, he added: “Don’t worry. I’m chained to this neighborhood. They’re going to bury me in Straus Park when the time comes.” After shutting the store, Mr. Dennis may set up a movie Web site or, fittingly, write a book about defunct movie theaters.
Not that we're certain he'd take the job, but Netflix should offer him a job developing movie suggestions for its customers.
Also strange: We got an flier saying that the Blockbuster on 69th Street and Amsterdam was closing, with the only other Blockbuster locations about 20 blocks north or south. It's all about online now.
Photograph of Movie Place by dM.NYC on Flickr