We didn't call it LOW-SSSS like it was the royal palace and that was class and elegance in its tattered lobby. We called it LO-EASES. Because that's how you really say LOEWS. This one was on Delancey Street. So we called it DA LO-EASES DELANCEE. As opposed to the one on Grand Street and Essex which was smaller.
"Where ya goin'?"
"LO-EASES DELANCEE. Gonna go see a pitcha."
Florence told me when she was a girl and even as a young woman, she used to climb up the fire escape stairs and sneak into the movie house to see the second feature because it was easier to sneak in during the second half. It was easier to sneak in period. No fire alarm or nothing.
I remember me and my big sister going during the day on a weekend, the place packed with screaming kids and the "COMING ATTRACTIONS!" always horror movies with monsters and demons and really scary men and maybe there was already too much fear inside from this life or the past life or the street life but I would freak out and run to the back of the theater and hide in the lobby until coming attractions were over. For years the words "COMING ATTRACTIONS!" sent me into a panic.
On the rare occasion Florence took me along in her rare escapes, it was clear I was not to remind her of her current life of mother/wife/piano teacher. I was to be a silent witness and so even when I panicked at "COMING ATTRACTIONS" I tried to be really quiet about it. This was her time and I now wonder what movie I really watched - the one on the screen or the one sitting next to me.
Who knows what lives inside DA LO-EASES DELANCEE these days...the street level filled with cheap stores and cheaper national chains obliterates any hint of a movie theater. But the stairs are still there, etched into brick, holding memory of a rakish girl sneaking in to see a pitcha.
MY PRIVATE CONEY presents IT WAS HER NEW YORK, the short stories that accompany the work-in-progress video and photo collection of the same name (myprivateconey.com - media link - IT WAS HER NEW YORK). The stories and the media explore the tender rubble that holds both my mother, Florence's and New York's soul as one disappears into old age and the other into gentrification. All are real observations and/or experiences with very little tall-tale telling.
Except when it makes the story better.
Please visit myprivateconey.com for additional information and sample works.